An eclectic selection at the London Jazz Festival
With ten days of performances from both big names and emerging stars, the capital's celebration of the musical genre marches to its own beat
There are few musical genres as polarising as jazz, but luckily, initiatives such as the EFG London Jazz Festival are here to improve its reputation. One look at the festival line-up and any notion jazz is outmoded or inaccessible will vanish. Whether you prefer bebop or hip-hop beats, this showcase proves the scene is as diverse and vibrant as ever.
Over the course of ten days, London's largest pan-city indoor music festival brings big-name acts and up-and-coming talent to venues across the capital, including the Barbican, the Royal Festival Hall, Scala and Rich Mix.
The line-up includes some of the most influential figures of the 1960s and 1970s, including saxophonist Wayne Shorter (20 November); Evan Parker, a pioneer of European free jazz (11 November); supergroup The Cookers (17 November), and William Bell (pictured above), the soul singer-songwriter who helped define the distinctive style of Stax Records and will be performing tracks from his latest album at the Barbican (18 November).
Towards the more modern end, Grammy Award-winning Robert Glasper, who has gained a reputation for his laidback style and collaborations with high-profile stars such as Yasiin Bey and Bilal, has added a second date on 14 November due to popular demand. He will be exploring his electronic side with songs from his new Blue Note album, ArtScience. The innovation continues in a UK debut, which sees acclaimed electronic experimenter Matthew Herbert team up with trumpeter Enrico Rava and pianist Giovanni Guidi for a special performance at Kings Place on 17 November.
Off-stage, the festival has put together a programme of rarely screened films from the 1960s, paying tribute to the parallels between the evolution of jazz and cinema. Titles include the avant-garde Who's Crazy? (1966), soundtracked by the similarly revolutionary Ornette Coleman, and L'Assassino (1961), featuring a score by Italian composer Piero Piccioni.
EFG London Jazz Festival takes place at venues across London from 11 to 20 November; efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk