Branford Marsalis and Abdullah Ibrahim Announced for 2014 EFG London Jazz Festival


branfordmarsalisStellar US saxophonist Branford Marsalis’ Quartet, Polish trumpet icon Thomas Stańko’s New York Quartet and celebrated South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim’s Ekaya plus his New Trio are among the first tranche of international names announced for this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival, which takes place from 14 to 23 November at dozens of venues across the capital. The festival, which is sponsored by Jazzwise, is now in its 22nd year and continues a wide-angle embrace of jazz in all its forms with many anniversaries and specially commissioned works planned as part of this year’s event. Things kick off with the opening-night jazz vocal gala, Jazz Voice, at the Barbican (14 Nov), once again featuring specially written scores for the 40-piece orchestra-plus-big band by Guy Barker for a line-up of top vocalists.

Revered US saxophonist Marsalis (pictured) appears with his Quartet at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (14 Nov), while the encyclopaedic jazz man and drummer Richard Pite performs his Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall show (Cadogan Hall 14 and 18 Nov). Pianist Abdullah Ibrahim brings both his horn-laden Ekaya group and New Trio for a double bill at the Royal Festival Hall (15 Nov). ECM-signed trumpeter Stańko’s New York Quartet make their London debut with support from piano virtuoso Stefano Bollani and Hamilton de Holanda, Brazil's master bandolim player (Barbican, 20 Nov), while quirky guitar guru Bill Frisell explores Guitar In the Space Age, his surreal retro-futuristic look at 1950s style surf guitar (Barbican, 16 Nov). Strong Brit-jazz strands so far announced include a special John Surman ‘Surman at 70’ residency at Kings Place (14-15 Nov), and rising star saxophonist Trish Clowes performs a new work with Guy Barker and the BBC Concert Orchestra (QEH, 18 Nov).

Other international names also include virtuosic Cuban jazz pianist Chucho Valdés in residence at Kings Place (20-21 Nov), French-American pianist Dan Tepfer, known for his acclaimed improvised interpretations of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, at Wigmore Hall (20 Nov) and slamming jazz-funksters Snarky Puppy play their biggest UK gig to date at the Roundhouse (18 Nov).

– Mike Flynn

See Jazzwise Breaking News online for further details and additions and go to  for all ticket and concert info