Jazz centenary celebrated in Festival lineup

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One major cultural anniversary meets another this summer as the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival's 2017 programme marks 100 years of jazz music, while the city celebrates 70 years of its festival tradition.

Having entertained over 70 thousand people in 2016, the Festival (14-23 July 2017) continues to grow, with over 170 shows in this summer's lineup offering a huge and genuinely diverse selection of great music for all tastes.

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Big jazz names taking the stage this year include a double bill of guitar heroes John Scofield (above left) and Mike Stern (above right) both backed by great bands including legendary trumpeter Randy Brecker and drummers Dennis Chambers and Lenny White.

There's also a chance for fans of acclaimed Minneapolis piano trio, The Bad Plus, to see one of the band's final performances with its original lineup, while up and coming Nashville-based singer and pianist (and festival programme cover star) Kandace Springs (above centre) demonstrates the incredible talent that has seen her compared with Billie Holiday, Roberta Flack and Nina Simone. 

Councillor Jason Rust, Chair of the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival Board of Directors said:

The jazz tradition in Scotland is iconic and known worldwide. Today’s vibrant scene is constantly evolving and growing and our Festival continues to nurture and support both - the tradition and the future. We hope the Festival transcends the music itself and gets people downtown to see and experience a Festival to remember.

Blues fans have plenty to look forward to as well, with Music Maker Blues Revue, a touring band made up of a collection of legendary musicians, described by the Festival as a southern-USA equivalent to Cuba's Buena Vista Social Club. Meanwhile Davina Sowers and her band The Vagabonds reprise the foot-stomping ten-day residency that was incredibly popular in 2016's festival.

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Also taking up residency for the full stint this year are Italy's Rumba De Bodas (above) bringing their venue packing blend of gypsy-swing to every night of the 2017 Festival, and Edinburgh pianist Brian Kellock, joined by a range of guests including Lianne Caroll, Scott Robinson and Fionna Duncan.

More Scottish acts take centre stage in celebrating 100 years of jazz music, with the Festival's annual Expo performances specially expanded for the anniversary. This year, there'll be tributes to some of the all-time greats, including a celebration of Ella Fitzgerald from Seonaid Aitken, Tommy Smith's take on John Coltrane, reworkings of Thelonious Monk by Calum Gourlay and Ryan Quigley bringing new energy to the music of Dizzy Gillespie.

Fiona Hyslop, The Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, said:

The Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund ensures that Scotland’s own exceptional talent is placed at the heart of our world-renowned festivals and I’m pleased that we’ve awarded over £1 million to the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival since 2009. This year will be another great showcase of jazz and blues from across the world for both national and international audiences. Scottish musicians will lead new projects that show the breadth of ambition within the jazz sector in Scotland.

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Of course, it would be impossible to properly celebrate 1917 and the first jazz record without a serious presence from the city in which it was born, and New Orleans is well-represented at the 2017 Festival with more than 30 concerts.

Look out for music from across the city's rich heritage, including the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys influenced by Louis Armstrong, modern jazz trombonist David L Harris (above), funk from Dumpstaphunk, hip-hop-by-brass from Hot 8 Brass Band and the Cajun sounds of the Savoy Family.

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There's all kinds of Blues music too with Southern, Mississippi, delta, Chicago, acoustic and electric blues all lined up in a collection which includes stars from home (think The Jensen Interceptors, Gerry Jablonski, Dana Dixon and Main Street Blues) and abroad (including Lisa Mills, Mr Sipp (above left), Hamilton Loomis (above right) and Brandon Santini).

Musical variety is also evident across the programme with the legendary Blind Boys of Alabama bringing their stirring gospel sound, Cow Cow Boogie offering Western Swing, and African-influenced Gullah Music from Carolina delivered by Ranky Tanky.

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Tradition and heritage meet with the contemporary and urban in Cross the Tracks, the Festival's long-running celebration of cutting-edge new music with classic jazz and blues influences. Performers taking part include Ibibio Sound Machine (above), Yussef Dayes, Paul Harrison Sugarwork, Herschel 36 and Soweto Kinch, as hip-hop, afro-latin, punk and electronica make their own presence felt.

And biggest of all are the Festival's two huge opening weekend open-air free events, the Mardi Gras (Saturday 15 July) and the Edinburgh Festival Carnival (Sunday 16 July) which will attract thousands upon thousands into the streets of the city for their annual joyous showcase of colour, music and fun.

Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival runs from 14-23 July 2017 and tickets are now on sale. For more festival information plus programme and ticketing links, please visit our Jazz and Blue Festival page.

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