Keyon Harrold, Vijay Iyer and EXPO Commissions for 40th Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Fest


The 40th edition of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival takes place from 13 to 22 July at venues around the city with a wide ranging programme. Big jazz names include Grammy-winning vocalist Kurt Elling; Indojazz super-trio Crosscurrents featuring tabla master Zakir Hussain and heavyweight jazzers Dave Holland and Chris Potter; compelling US trumpet star Keyon Harrold (above left) and the powerful New York sound of the Vijay Iyer Sextet (above centre).

The bevy of blues, funk and world names also appearing include Jools Holland Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Davina & The Vagabonds, Mud Morganfield, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, The Average White Band, Blind Boy Paxton, Curtis Stigers, Betty Lavette and Maggie Bell. New Orleans' tri-centenary is marked by a bounty of brass-led bands including Crescent city crew the Soul Brass Band, as well as the UK debut of the all-female trad jazz band Shake 'Em Up. UK and European artists also line-up in the form of Soweto Kinch, Zara McFarlane and Zoe Rahman, plus Czech pianist Vit Kristan and Norwegian saxophonist Harald Lassen.

There's an abundance of Scottish jazz stars on hand to mark this 40th edition too, with Martin Taylor, Carol Kidd, Brian Kellock and Tommy Smith, plus a Blues Gala with Maggie Bell, Bernie Marsden and Tim Elliott. It's also the 10th year of the festival's £120,000 EXPO fund, which has enabled the development of multiple projects, many of which will receive their world premiere at the festival. These include a chance to catch singer/violinist Seonaid Aitken (above right) appearing with the 24-piece Scottish Session Orchestra, conducted by Adam Robinson, (Assembly Rooms, 22 July) performing classic jazz songs from the 1930s, 40s and 50s; American clarinet player Evan Christopher lining up with The Scottish Swing Orchestra for a 'Kings of Swing' concert; Scandinavian group Haftor Medbøe dueting with Swedish pianist Jacob Karlzon and talented young Scots bassist Andrew Robb collaborating with Norwegian saxophonist Petter Wettre.

– Mike Flynn

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