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Saturday, 9 February 2019

Leeds Jazz Festival is back!

After last year's success we've decided to do it all again! This year’s festival is being held from Thursday - Sunday, 18 - 21 July 2019 with build-up events taking place during the week before.

Our festival headliner this year is Andy Sheppard, one of Europe’s leading saxophonists and one of a few British musicians to have made a significant impact on the international jazz scene, playing and writing for settings from solo to big band and chamber orchestra. Andy has composed over 350 works that incorporate a strong and characteristic sense of lyricism alongside a very personal use of rhythms from Asia, Africa and South America. He appears with Norwegian piano trio led by Espen Eriksen

We also feature a Jazz Celebration of Windrush. The Windrush generation made a lasting impact on the UK’s jazz scene. Internationally acclaimed UK jazz pianist Trevor Watkis has assembled an outstanding Anglo-American band to perform a special musical retrospective of jazz trumpeter Dizzy Reece who began his ascent into the jazz scene after arriving in London from Jamaica and cutting his teeth among the best musicians in 1950s London, who included Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott and Victor Feldman. Later, Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins put the word out about him and he was sought out by a Who’s Who of American jazz greats.

Another festival highlight will be the all-star Electric Lady Big Band - "50 years of Hendrix Masterpiece". A 16-piece ensemble featuring an all-star cast of leading jazz improvisors - including Laura Jurd, Yazz Ahmed, Nathaniel Facey and Iain Ballamy - tackle Jimi Hendrix’s 1968 album Electric Ladyland. The band feature brand new arrangements by guitarist Denny Ilett inspired by the legendary Gil Evan’s reworkings of Hendrix in the 1970s.

Also appearing is stunning ECM record label artists, Israeli-born pianist Shai Maestro's trio. Shai is familiar to UK audiences through his thrilling work with bassist/composer Avishai Cohen. He's now confirming that promise in his own group, with sometime Lee Konitz drummer Ziv Ravitz and Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder, one of the most powerful and harmonious collaborations in the jazz world today and so we are pleased he can perform for us at this year’s Leeds Jazz Festival.

British Jazz is going through a thrilling phase at present and we have a number of the best of this new wave at the Leeds Jazz Festival.  Young pianist Sarah Tandy’s band includes some of the best voices on the London jazz scene. Sarah, still in her early 20’s has recent appearances at the Love Supreme Festival and Berlin Jazz Festival to her credit and has appeared as a classical soloist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Other young stars at the festival include the sextet led by bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado and the quartet of saxman Leo Richardson 

Events with a Leeds resonance include drummer and big band legend Ronnie Bottomley's 90th birthday celebration with his Jazz Orchestra, a jazz film about the life of Leeds late young trumpeter Richard Turner, and the premiere of a new album from Leeds trombonist Kevin Holbrough. Have fun too with Simon Thackray's "Mrs Boyes Bingo" - a game of prize bingo (you win prizes!) with simultaneous drumming and percussion disruption from Mark Sanders and John Edwards!

The festival finale will be a tour de force of trios - Trio Trio Trio” rolling seamlessly from one trio to another, one set to another and one style to another - from the soulful street vocals of Maggie Sommers to the raging urban horn of Alan Wilkinson

The Festival takes place in the city’s arts quarter area - the main venues are Leeds College of Music and the Wardrobe.

More information about the Festival is on the Festival website
Earlybird festival tickets are now on sale - priced £99 here

Steve Crocker
Festival Organiser, JazzLeeds

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