What's Coming Up at the Jazz & Blues Festival?


Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival is back for 2021 with an exciting programme showcasing the amazing music coming out of Scotland! For over 43 years the Festival has provided a platform to showcase the very best Jazz and Blues artists that the world has to offer. Normally held over 10 days and with over 170 performances a year, EJBF is one of the largest jazz festivals in Europe and creates moving and memorable experiences for the 70,000 people who usually visit. This year things will be slightly different. 2021’s Festival will take place from 16 to 25 July 2021, during which over 40 digital events will be streamed, including 20 concerts from Assembly Roxy which will be lived streamed with a small audience attending, numbers, of which, will be strictly limited due to social distancing. So let’s check out some of the festival highlights.

Five Highlights: In-Person and Live Streamed 

Jazz - Playtime

  1. Playtime + Soweto Kinch: Established in 2014, Playtime are known for welcoming some of the brightest talents in the scene today to sit in on their bi-weekly gigs. For this very special edition of Playtime, the quartet of Martin Kershaw, Graham Stephen, Tom Bancroft and Mario Caribé are joined by MOBO award winner and Mercury Prize Nominee Soweto Kinch.
  2. Sandy Tweedale Band UnpluggedA special set to open this year’s festival! Scottish guitarist and blues legend Sandy Tweeddale and his band will be joined by the talented Lyndon Anderson on harp and vocals to play an unplugged set of classic blues songs.  
  3. Jacqui Dankworth & Charlie Wood: Award-winning vocalist Jacqui Dankworth and acclaimed American pianist-vocalist Charlie Wood team up for a husband & wife concert celebrating a century of song. Featuring their own original compositions, along with duet arrangements inspired by legendary musical partnerships.. 
  4. Hamish McGregor and his Jazzmen: Edinburgh clarinetist, Hamish McGregor leads a top band in this special homage to the late, icon of traditional jazz, Chris Barber. Expect great ensemble playing, covering a vast repertoire from early New Orleans to blues to late 20s Ellington.
  5. David Milligan Solo: Described by London Jazz News as “downright heartbreakingly beautiful” David Milligan's album ‘Momento’ has been gathering critical acclaim since its release in 2020. Here David presents solo piano arrangements of songs from ‘Momento’ as well as some new compositions. 

Five Highlights: Online Events

Jazz - Georgia Cecile

  1. Georgia Cécile: Fast becoming one of Scotland’s most exciting and engaging singers Georgia is surely one to watch. Fusing classic jazz and soul influences reminiscent of Duke Ellington and Nancy Wilson with a contemporary cinematic edge in the vein of Gregory Porter and Melody Gardot, Cécile's songs, co-written and artfully arranged by pianist Euan Stevenson, are vivid sensorial landscapes - poetic reflections on themes of love, loss, nurture and spiritual growth. 
  2. Seonaid Aitken Ensemble - Chasing Sakura: She is the leading light of Rose Room and has been commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and National Theatre of Scotland. Now, Seonaid Aitken has formed a new super group and for this EJBF commission recorded at Stockbridge Church, presenting new music fusing folk, jazz and classical.  
  3. Mark Hendry - Simbiosis: A phenomenal new talent on the Scottish scene, Hendry writes compelling and lyrical music. EJBF21 has commissioned him to write music about the threats to our environment focusing on the human connection to the natural world. Simbiosis delivers a blend of classical music and jazz that takes you on a journey around our beautiful and increasingly fragile planet. 
  4. Graham Costello: One of Scotland’s top drummers and the leader of STRATA, one of the hottest bands of the last few years, Graham Costello has been described as one of the most compelling innovators in the UK (The List). Now with a new band he delivers genre bending music with heavy harmonies, shifting rhythms and lots of energy. He is joined by one of the UK’s top bassists, Mandy Clarke (Bombskare and KT Tunstall) with Christos Stylianides on trumpet and Kevin Cahill on guitar.
  5. Nicole Smitt/Grainne Duffy Band: Two young blues players who are taking the world by storm, come together for the first time showcasing their musical prowess. Singer Nicole Smit has wowed Edinburgh audiences with her uplifting and inspirational performances drenched in the history of the blues. Grainne Duffy blends blues soul, rock and Celtic influences into emotionally supercharged performances. 

All concerts will be sold individually, but you can buy a Festival Pass giving access to all 40 online concerts, plus a few exclusives, for just £40! Check out the full programme HERE.

Jazz - Pass

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