EFG London Jazz Festival 2020 launched

The annual November jazz party offers at least 100 live shows including Guy Barker, Jason Yarde, Kit Downes, Henry Lowther and Tony Kofi

The 2020 EFG London Jazz Festival is to go ahead, 13-22 November. It was launched 27 September in a 40-minute online presentation available to view on YouTube. The annual London winter jazz parade, staged since 1992, has so far announced 100 live shows and 50 specially created streams, taking place in 25 venues.

In keeping with tradition, proceedings will open with Jazz Voice at Cadogan Hall, directed by Guy Barker and including China Moses, David McAlmont, Luca Manning and Cleveland Watkiss. There will follow live shows from Tenderlonious (including Ruby Rushton, Nick Walters and the Tubby Hayes tribute The Piccolo) and Church of Sound (with Nathaniel Facey, Shirley Tetteh and Moses Boyd) exploring the Charlie Parker songbook. Kings Place will host Dinosaur, Matt Calvert, Jason Yarde, Yazz Ahmed, Ill Considered and Binker Golding. 


Around the London clubs there’ll be James Holden with Waclaw Zimpel, saxophonist Camilla George, and the Kansas Smitty’s House Band (all Jazz Café), Kit Downes and Korean composer SooJin Suh (Pizza Express, Holborn) and Henry Lowther’s Still Waters, Xhosa Cole, Norma Winstone with Nikki Iles and Stan Sulzmann and Jeanie Barton with Tony Kofi (all either Pizza Express Dean Street or The Pheasantry). British performance artist Gaika with Azekel & Miink will present Palatium at Café OTO – a collaborative audio-visual performance.

Octagenarian Pharoah Sanders will be the focus of a Barbican night featuring Cassie Kinoshi’s Seed Ensemble. The venue will also host a new collaboration between Shabaka Hutchings and the Britten Sinfonia.

More shows, including at Ronnie Scott’s, will be announced in the coming weeks. Keep up to date at the festival’s website:

Among the streamed events will be Tigran Hamasyan, Linda Oh and Vincent Peirani & Emile Parisien, as well as a series of films of British artists, including Sarathy Korwar, Rosie Turton and Emma-Jean Thackray and the complete programme of the Between the Lines Festival.

Also online, families will have the chance to stream Juliet Kelly’s Jazz Kids, a musical storytelling session for children and grown-ups and there’ll be workshops on skill development and improvisation from Peter Edwards, Rob Luft and Elina Duni.

On Zoom, writer and broadcaster Kevin Le Gendre will present livestream sessions relating to Black Lives Matter. He’ll be joined by special guests for conversations on race, racism and the need for change within the music industry.

On radio, BBC Radio 3 will play out many of the festival’s concerts, including the opening night live from Cadogan Hall. The festival will feature in the station’s programming over the 10 days and beyond, including items from the festival archive such as a 2012 Chick Corea concert and a 1995 Wayne Shorter performance. Jazz FM featured a three-hour aftershow once the festival was announced, hosted by Helen Mayhew and China Moses.

Jazz 625 returns to BBC Four TV in November with a taste of the latest UK jazz boom featuring Sons of Kemet, Matthew Halsall, Sarathy Korwar, Moses Boyd Exodus, Ezra Collective, Nubya Garcia and Kokoroko. BBC Four will also show Ronnie’s: Ronnie Scott & His World-Famous Jazz Club and host the final of the BBC Young Jazz Musician competition.

The EFG London Jazz Festival once again relies on the support of EFG Private Bank (since 2008) and of Arts Council England. The organisers refer to “our wonderful sponsors and funders” and point out that without them there would be no festival this year.

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