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Festival will mark all that’s great in current jazz


Aberdeen’s Jazz Festival is the city’s opportunity to celebrate all that’s great in jazz in 2020, from classic to cool to contemporary.

Over 11 days, the festival presents over 50 bands travelling far and wide across the styles – all around jazz: from trad to swing to bop to cutting edge, and into related musics like blues, hip hop, afrobeat, soul, and funk. There’s something in the programme for everyone who likes music, whether they like it for head, heart, or feet.

Scotland’s second largest jazz festival swings into action on March 11, with a programme that reflects the hugely exciting jazz scene of the moment: it’s probably the highest quality and richest jazz, the country has ever seen.

Thanks to sponsorship from Aberdeen Inspired, and funding from Aberdeen City Council and Creative Scotland, we can bring the best to Aberdeen, as well as presenting the North East’s leading musicians, and an array of international stars.

In 2020 the Festival champions Scottish creativity with performances from established stars and many of the new wave of 20-something musicians who are creating such a stir nationally and internationally.

Drummer, Tom Bancroft curates a special night at The Blue Lamp; the amazing pianist Fergus McCreadie is in residence for four days; The Katet and Orion All Stars make their Aberdeen debuts; young up-and-coming singers Georgia Cecile and Luca Manning join Aberdeen Jazz Orchestra; award winning trumpeter, Colin Steele salutes Joni Mitchell and Alison Affleck fronts a 14 piece band celebrating the music from New Orleans for a headline gig at the Music Hall.

Musicians from Aberdeen take centre stage with mainstage performances from the young funk band Hamlet, Colin Black Trio and Funk Connection. Marisha Addison presents a new project saluting Peggy Lee in her centenary year. Pianist, Steve Hamilton and guitarist Graeme Stephen both return to Aberdeen leading their own stellar bands.

The festival also features a host of young amateur players in Aberdeen in the Afternoon showcases at the Blue Lamp as well as the Jazz At The Blue Lamp Community Big Band which features over 30 local musicians. The Festival also presents concerts in care-homes and workshops for children.

Jazz On the Green on Sunday 15 March has changed its venue portfolio to include the atmospheric Green, Carmelite, The Tunnels, Douglas Hotel, the Roof Garden at St Nicholas and Aberdeen Art Gallery. The city centre will be jam packed with live music from the city’s best jazz, blues, swing and big bands.

For those who like their music accompanied by food and drink, the jazz dinner safari offers one course in in Carmelite, Molly’s Bistro and Bistro Verdi accompanied by a different band in each venue. The acclaimed, close harmony group Vintage Girls play at Carmelite whilst audiences can enjoy an Intoxicating Afternoon Tea.

A new highlight will be the West End Blues Trail featuring a electric and acoustic blues bands performing simultaneously in 21 Crimes, McGinty’s, Glentanar Bar and Shack on Sunday 22 March. The headliners include Gerry Jablonski and Jed Potts.

Colin Steele (Photo: David P Scott)

The Festival welcomes international stars with Hamish Stuart, the lead singer and guitarist with the Average White Band through all of their great hits of the 70s and 80s taking time out from touring with Ringo Starr, to bring his fantastic soul-funk band to The Lemon Tree.

The legendary Chicago Blues guitarist, Melvin Taylor brings his band to headline a driving blues guitar night at the Lemon Tree where he is also joined by Stevie Nimmo Trio. Norway has produced a host of international jazz stars and the Festival presents the Scottish debut for Petru Popa Trio with guest Nils Olav Johansen.

Two musicians from New Orleans, Joplin Parnell and Ewen Bleach, join Alison Affleck for her spectacular musical celebration of the Crescent City, with multiple groups and soloists on the bill. The afrobeat-inspired rock-funk-psych 10 piece juggernaut of a band Agbeko will have the dancefloor packed at The Lemon Tree.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: ‘The line-up for the Aberdeen Jazz Festival is hugely exciting and Aberdeen Inspired is pleased to once again support this popular event. Jazz fans, locals and visitors to Aberdeen have a wide range of both local and fantastic international performers and groups to choose from and this is also a great opportunity to enjoy everything our city centre has to offer, while supporting one of Scotland’s most popular Jazz events.’

Keith MacRae, chair of Aberdeen Jazz Festival added: ‘We are excited to be able to focus on Scottish jazz and blues stars as well as inviting musicians from Norway and the US to perform at this year’s festival. We welcome the increasing number of exciting young players developing in Scotland and are delighted that the Festival will reach young and old across the city.’

The festival is funded by Aberdeen Inspired, City of Aberdeen Council and Creative Scotland

Tickets are available from www.aberdeenjazzfestival.com,  by calling 01224 641122 or in person from The Music Hall, The Lemon Tree, His Majesty’s Theatre



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