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London Jazz Festival Returns

November 13, 2009 By: Jena Tesse Fox

The London Jazz Festival, in association with BBC Radio 3, is back for its 17th year.

Starting today, the 10-day festival brings rising stars and legends of the jazz world to top venues across London, such as the Barbican, Southbank Centre and Kings Place.

This year’s highlights include saxophone legend Sonny Rollins, Brazil’s music maestro Gilberto Gil, a tribute to Benny Goodman, plus the breathtaking voice of Cleo Laine. Some of the shows already lined-up include:

    * John Scofield’s Piety Street Band The jazz guitar icon and ex-Miles Davis sideman mixes soulful blues, gospel and New Orleans-style R&B.
    * Sonny Rollins (Barbican, November 14) Still going strong at 79, the saxophone legend brings his original, extraordinary talent to London’s Barbican.
    * Tomasz Stanko Nordic Quintet The Polish trumpeter, who draws on everything from folk to free jazz, presents his new Scandinavian Quintet.
    * Carla Bley & The Lost Chords Contemporary American jazz star Bley performs with her Lost Chords quartet featuring saxophonist Andy Sheppard, bass player Steve Swallow and drummer Billy Drummond.
    * John Surman Celebrates 65 Years A special concert to celebrate John Surman’s 65th birthday featuring the world premiere of Surman’s new project Brewster’s Rooster, with guitarist John Abercrombie, drummer Jack DeJohnette and bassist Drew Gress.
    * Stefano Bollani Residency (Kings Place, 18-21 November) A season dedicated to Italian pianist and composer Stefano Bollani, a rising star in European jazz.
    * Gilberto Gil A rare intimate setting to see the Brazilian music and culture icon present the UK premiere of his new strings project with cellist Jaques Morelenbaum.
    * Bill Frisell with BBC Symphony Orchestra (Barbican, November 19)
      Adaptations and arranged selections of guitarist Bill Frisell’s most memorable pieces by British composer and arranger Mike Gibbs, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
    * Overtone Quartet Improvising and melodic jazz with double bassist and composer/bandleader Dave Holland, tenor Chris Potter, pianist Jason Moran and drummer Eric Harland.
    * Alan Barnes: Five Takes on Benny Goodman Alan Barnes presents an all-star band playing tribute to the original King Of Swing and pioneering jazz clarinettist, Benny Goodman, who would have been 90 this year.
    * Cleo Laine, John Dankworth and Friends: Accentuating the Positive Celebrating the extraordinary career of Cleo Laine, one of the world’s great jazz singers.
    * Tord Gustavsen Ensemble + Jason Yarde & Andrew McCormack Scandinavian pianist Tord Gustavsen with the London premiere of his new ensemble, playing material from their album due for release this autumn.

The London Jazz Festival was created in 1992 by live-music producers Serious. The festival was born out of the Camden Jazz Week, created in 1970. It is exclusively broadcast each year on BBC Radio 3. As well as drawing some of the world’s top jazz artists, the festival promotes exciting new talent and presents premieres, commissions, free events and an education program. 

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