Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The EFG London Jazz Festival Review

Photo by Roger Thomas
The EFG London Jazz Festival is now the biggest jazz event in the UK, bringing in acts ranging from the most prominent American musicians of the day, to British talents and voices from other parts of the world. Though the festival favours clear distinctions between traditional notions of jazz, big band and the avant-garde, there are always artists working in-between idioms, refusing to be easily categorised. Like most prominent cultural happenings in London, the festival is liable to be glossy, over-serious and sold-out—but it’s never exclusive or out of reach. The host venues are spread across the city, beyond the three major concert halls that welcome most of the “big names” (Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Festival Hall, and The Barbican), and are open to anyone. In the intimate space of the Vortex and other clubs similar in size, a no less extraordinary programme of music frequently awaits the avid listener. Indeed, as with any other festival, it is often in these venues where the standout sets are heard.

Read my review of acts such as John Surman, The Branford Marsalis Quartet, JD Allen, Randy Weston, Billy Harper, The Buck Clayton Legacy Band, Stefano Bollani, Tomasz Stanko, Dave Holland, and Kenny Barron here.

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