Industry Article: EFG London Jazz Festival 2020

‘Bringing more than 100 performances into our own homes, it’s the perfect time to get some jazz in your life.’ 

With so many music festivals, tours, concerts and independent venue gigs cancelled across 2020, you may well have assumed that the year would head to a close with very little live music being experienced. Equally, as lockdown started to lift here in parts of the UK, there was a gentle bubbling of excitement. Maybe some performances could be considered. But then, as most of you will know, we returned to lockdown and went back to, if you will, Bar 1. Behind all the ever-changing developments though, and with EFG working alongside Serious, the virtual curtain will, at 7:30pm, Friday 13th November, be raised for the start of London Jazz Festival 2020.  

The experience for the audience will of course be very different, as the will the coverage and depending on where you are, the audio quality may differ too. But what won’t differ from previous years is the scale of the festival, the plethora of artists and the excitement around it. An excitement that also comes from festival director, Pelin Opcin:

‘In this unprecedented year, we’ve managed to transform the challenges into a positive motivation. Inspired by the creative response of artists, musicians and the scene in general, we’ve worked together to make the Festival happen and can’t  wait to share the buzzing music of the UK, alongside unique performances by international artists with a global audience.’ (Pelin Opcin, Director of the EFG London Jazz Festival) 

Across the 10 days that the festival will be running (13th Nov – 22nd Nov), more than 100 performances will take place and an even greater number of musicians will be bringing jazz right into our homes. However, what makes this even more special, and highlights the even higher level of success already achieved, is that these performances will come from a mix of intimate bars, independent venues and world renowned concert halls. Equally, in serving up an eclectic range of musicians, just how far you can stretch the boundaries of what is an ever-widening genre will be truly showcased. What’s more, away from the performances themselves, talks, family events and interactive sessions will inform and entertain while making you feel like you are part of the festival too. 

As you can imagine given all this, there won’t be any problem finding something to watch or join in with. In fact, your problem will be there being too much. As a previous reviewer of the festival in 2019, I can tell you now it is impossible to experience everything you would want to. But what does help, is deciding on a few key ones to base your ‘Festival Schedule’ around. So here are Listen to Discover’s top 5 to keep in your mind.

EFG London Jazz Festival 2020

Friday 13th November, 7:30pm
Showcasing the best in Jazz Voice, the opening gala from Cadogan Hall really isn’t one to miss out on. Hosted by Jumoké Fashola and featuring Vanessa Haynes, Cleveland Watkiss, China Moses, David McAlmont, Luca Manning and Zara McFarlane the vocal line up is indeed star-studded. But if that collection wasn’t enough, their accompaniment will be provided by the specially-created EFG London Jazz Festival Ensemble led by the inimitable Guy Barker. 
How to watch and tickets: On the EFG London Jazz Festival YouTube Channel here. Tickets free.

Sunday 15th November, 8:30pm
Bringing an air of sophistication to your living room, Mercury-nominated quartet Dinosaur will make you feel like you are at Kings Place with them. Off the back of their most recent album ‘To The Earth’ , the set will be led by multiple award-winning composer and trumpeter Laura Jurd with Elliot Galvin on piano, Conor Chaplin on double bass and Corrie Dick on drums. 
How to watch and tickets: On the Kings Place website here. Tickets £10 and purchased online here.

Thursday 19th November, 8:30pm
Showcasing the best in upcoming new jazz artists, Tomorrow’s Warriors (from Karamel) will make you feel excited about the future of the genre, and have you in awe of what you are hearing. The organisation, which has run for the best part of three-decades now has produced some of the finest new musicians including Nubya Garcia, Ezra Collective and Soweto Kinch while last year it provided 450 learning sessions and worked with 185 students.  
How to watch and tickets: Via the Karamel website. Tickets free. 

Friday 20th November, 7:30pm
Sure to take you a whirlwind tour of influences, South African cellist Abel Selaocoe will collaborate with the BBC Concert Orchestra to bring a plethora of performance techniques and beyond-belief musicality. Combining body percussion and improvisation with vocals, the broadcast via Radio 3 is sure to have you guessing where it will head next. How to listen and tickets: Via the
EFG Jazz Festival Website here. Tickets free. 

Sunday 22nd November, 7:00pm
Instantly obvious why she has been hailed as a ‘One to Watch’ by JazzWise Mag, Rosie Frater-Taylor’s wondrous blend of decorative jazz guitar and freedom-edged vocals makes for the perfectly beautiful, understated ending to your digital festival. With her debut album showcasing many sides to her sound, and new single Better Days dancing around a myriad of musical motifs, now is the perfect time to experience her music. How to watch and tickets: Via the
Ziggy’s World Jazz Club website here. Tickets £3.50. 

There really is a phenomenal amount to discover with the EFG London Jazz Festival and while these recommendations truly are ones to keep in mind, there are many others to choose from. To find out more about the whole festival and how you can get involved follow #WEAREJAZZ across all social media platforms and visit www.efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk/whats-on.

Industry Article by David Croker

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