In what is becoming a fixture in the festive calendar, trumpeter Guy Barker brings his Christmas big band show back to the Royal Albert Hall for the fourth time this year. As ever, Guy Barker’s Big Band Christmas will feature guests – on this occasion singer Kurt Elling, who moved the art of jazz vocals up several notches many years ago, US-born, Hackney-raised singer Vula Malinga, and two local favourites, Kansas Smitty’s and Giacomo Smith. Another guest will be announced in the run-up to the show, with more surprises on the night.
The gig is part of the RAH’s Christmas at the Hall series, which runs from Tuesday 3 to Tuesday 31 December and includes three further jazz shows in the Hall’s intimate Elgar Room, all part of the Late Night Jazz strand. These are A Swinging Christmas featuring Joanna Eden and the Chris Ingham Quartet (10 December), a set of danceable jazz from the Shirt Tail Stompers inspired by Harlem swing and 1920s/30s hot music (18 December), and the Jason Frederick Cinematic Trio in tribute to the music of TV composer Vince Guaraldi (20 December).
Barker, who will bring 38 musicians to his Big Band Christmas, said “Kurt Elling is one of the greatest singers of all time, and when we worked together at the Lincoln Center earlier this year and I heard that voice again, I knew I had to have him back for the show at the Hall. We’ll be joined by Vula Malinga, an amazing vocalist I’ve worked with many times, and a real showstopper. And we’ll play with the Smitty’s, one of my favourite groups to have arrived on the scene recently, and whom I find incredibly inspiring”.
Barker’s Big Band Christmas first played the Hall in 2016 and has featured guest performances from such as Adrian Cox, Soweto Kinch and Vanessa Haynes, the latter bringing the house down with her Aretha Franklin tribute. Last year, Paloma Faith was the big surprise on the night.
Guy Barker’s Big Band Christmas, Thursday 19 December, Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP. Tickets £25-79 from royalalberthall.com / 020 7959 0531.