Stanley Clarke, Dave Douglas and Avishai Cohen heat up EFG London Jazz Festival


The line-up for this year's EFG London Jazz Festival, which takes place from 16 to 25 November, is starting to take shape with some heavyweight additions now in place. Chief among these will be the powerful UPLIFT group led by eternally questing US trumpeter Dave Douglas (above centre), the band's cutting-edge personnel including iconoclastic electric bassist/producer Bill Laswell, guitarists Mary Halvorson and Rafiq Bhatia, renowned saxophonist Jon Irabagon and rising star drummer/percussionist Ches Smith (Queen Elizabeth Hall, 16 Nov).

Another genre-smashing highlight will be a rare UK appearance by Iraqi-American trumpeter Amir ElSaffar who leads his 17-piece Rivers of Sound ensemble through his impassioned Middle Eastern-tinged vision of contemporary jazz and the musical heritage of his homeland (Kings Place, 16 Nov). With 1970s fusion enjoying renewed popularity, bass hero Stanley Clarke (above left) heads up his feisty young electric band in a double bill with jazz-funk icons the Headhunters, who appear with key original members Bill Summers, Paul Jackson and Mike Clark (Royal Festival Hall, 20 Nov). There's also a mouth-watering reunion of imperious Israeli bassist Avishai Cohen's (above right) epoch-defining Trio with pianist Shai Maestro and drummer Mark Guiliana. They join forces at the Barbican to celebrate a decade since they unleashed their Gently Disturbed album which spawned a new generation of acoustic power threesomes, not least Phronesis (24 November).

Further new additions include bluegrass stars Punch Brothers (Barbican, 16 Nov); composer Bramwell Tovey in collaboration British-Iranian turntabalist Shiva Feshareki and the BBC Concert Orchestra (QEH, 18 Nov); cool piano-led jazz from the Darius Brubeck Quartet (Kings Place, 21 Nov); the creole/folk duo of cellist Leyla McCalla and guitarist/singer Melissa Laveaux (Cadogan Hall, 20 Nov) and the exuberant Jamaican jazz of virtuoso pianist Monty Alexander (Cadogan Hall, 25 Nov).

These artists join those already announced in Jazzwise, who are media partners for the festival, including: Jazz Voice (RFH, 16 Nov); Tord Gustavsen Trio (Cadogan Hall, 16 Nov); Bobby McFerrin (Barbican, 18 Nov); Lea DeLaria (Bridge Theatre, 18 Nov); Elina Duni/Rob Luft (Clapham Omnibus, 18 Nov); Youn Sun Nah (QEH, 20 Nov); Orphy Robinson's Astral Weeks (QEH, 19 Nov); Eddie Parker's Mirrored (Purcell Room, 20 Nov); Myra Melford's Snowy Egret Band (Purcell Room, 23 Nov); Richard Pite's Jazz Repertory Company (Cadogan Hall, 24 Nov); BBC Young Jazz Musician 2018 Final (QEH, 24 Nov) and Madeleine PeyrouxAnthem tour (RFH, 24 Nov).

Mike Flynn

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