Bringing over 2000 artists to 300 gigs across 50 venues, the 2016 London Jazz Festival is a sprawling and diverse celebration of sound across 10 days, starting from Friday 11 November. The event is now in its twenty-fourth year, and close to a quarter-century of development has seen it emerge as one of the most unmissable festivals on the planet.
Providing everything from internationally renowned acts to improv to hot new talent, the London Jazz Festival finds its home all across the city, and it all kicks off at 7.30pm on the 11th with the signature opening-night gala.
An integral part of the festival for nine years now, the opening-night gala will be held at the Royal Festival Hall, and tickets are now on sale between £15 and £45. Attendees will be treated to a stunning cast of voices accompanied by Guy Barker’s 42-piece orchestra. Hosted by Jay Rayner, this year’s acts will include Jacob Collier, Polly Gibbons, Allan Harris, George Benson, and Gladys Knight.
The enormous line-up makes it next to impossible to provide a complete overview of what’s happening throughout the city, but hot acts include:
- Christian Scott: New Orleans native Christian Scott offers gritty sounds that pay homage to the very beginnings of jazz. He’ll be performing at Scala in St Pancras on Wednesday November 16th.
- Robert Glasper Experiment: Mixing fluent technique with hip-hop rhythms, Glasper follows on from mentor J Dilla. Expect lightning interaction with explosive drummer Chris Dave. Catch both at Koko in Camden Town on Monday November 14th.
- The Bad Plus: Bringing a cool fusion of alt.rock and piano trio jazz, TBP features pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and virtuoso drummer Dave King. They’ll be playing original music from their latest album at Scala in St Pancras on Sunday November 13th.
You’ll also be able to foster the musical tastes of your tykes at the ever-popular Jazz for Toddlers workshop. Bassist Dave Kane and saxophonist Oliver Dover will play a friendly set for young ones, and the event only costs £5. Suitable for children aged 2 to 5, it takes place on Friday November 11th.
For a different kind of entertainment, head to Wordless. Celebrated cartoonist Art Spiegelman will present an array of slides and talks along with a musical act developed in collaboration with legendary jazz composer Phillip Johnston. Tickets start at just £20 for the Friday November 11th event.