Great music for all at 40th anniversary Jazz Festival

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Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival has launched the full programme for its 40th anniversary edition, with a wide range of music from across the world and great new venues for fans to enjoy. 

Having previously revealed four major acts for this year's Festival (13-22 July 2018), organisers have now lifted the lid on more than 140 gigs of all kinds taking place across the Scottish capital. 

Acts arriving in Edinburgh this summer include a host of musicians from New Orleans and across the United States, top class European Jazz practitioners, stars from the Caribbean, India and Africa, and of course some of the very best Scottish Jazz and Blues performers. 

Also included in the lineup are two venues new to the Festival, with the 700 seat Assembly Hall in the city centre joined by Teviot Row at the University of Edinburgh's main campus. In all, the Festival will visit 14 venues, ranging from close up intimacy to concert hall grandeur and two huge open air events in the traditional Mardi Gras and Festival Carnival.

Jason Rust, Chair of Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, said:

We are celebrating our anniversary with a bang. A stellar international line-up with musicians converging on Edinburgh from all over the world, over 140 concerts, plus the Festival’s two free events– The Mardi Gras and the Edinburgh Festival Carnival – will take place on the 14th and 15th July respectively.

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40 years of the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival 

Celebrating four decades of great music at the Festival, will be two special Gala nights, one focusing on Jazz with stars including Martin Taylor, Carol Kidd, Brian Kellock, Tommy Smith and host Seonaid Aitken, and one for lovers of the Blues with Maggie Bell, Bernie Marsden and Tim Elliott. 

New venue Teviot Row will be home to the Festival Club hosting more than 40 concerts, and offering bars and dining opportunities as well as a late night club featuring bands and DJs. 

In association with Edinburgh Jazz Archive and Edinburgh Napier University, there will also be a special exhibition at The Music Library with memorabilia from the last 40 years of the Festival. 

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Scotland and Europe 

In Scotland's Year of Young People, new rising talent is showcased with a specially commissioned Large Ensemble piece from 20 year old bassist Mark Hendry, plus performances from 20 year old pianist Fergus McCreadie and his Trio, and 18 year old singer Luca Manning leading a band also featuring Greek singer Irini Arabatzi

There's more great collaboration between Scottish and international talent in the form of creative projects supported by the Scottish Government's EXPO fund. These include Seonaid Aitken singing with a 24 piece string orchestra, the Scottish Swing Orchestra being joined by American clarinet player Evan Christopher, guitarist Haftor Medbøe duetting with Swedish pianist Jacob Karlzon and double bassist Andrew Robb working with Norwegian saxophonist Petter Wettre

Also included is music from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Norway, Italy, Sweden and England, including Mobo Award winners Soweto Kinch, Zara McFarlane and Zoe Rahman, groups like Bratislava Hot Serenaders and Robert Balzar Trio, and new stars Vit Kristan, Harald Lassen and Juno.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

This year, the Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival provides another high-quality showcase of jazz and blues from across the world for national and international audiences.
Scottish musicians will lead new projects that show the breadth of ambition within the jazz and blues sector in Scotland. Through the Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund, the Scottish Government has awarded just under £1.4 million to the Festival since its inception. Artists benefit significantly from the global exposure and Expo funding ensures the festival continues to grow and reach even more people than ever before. 

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America and beyond 

As always, the United States has a huge part to play at the Jazz & Blues Festival, and 2018 is no different with acts from across the country. 

Celebrating 300 years of the Big Easy, New Orleans musicians feature prominently, with the likes of Soul Brass Band and the UK debut of all-female traditional jazz band Shake ‘Em Up. From New York comes the avant garde jazz of the Vijay Iyer Sextet, and Memphis act Southern Avenue bring their take on the STAX tradition. 

The festival also hosts a Chicago blues double bill from Mud Morganfield and John Primer, plus blues stars of the future in the shape of California's Earl Thomas and Blind Boy Paxton, and Marquise Knox from St Louis. 

Other international acts at the Festival include Caribbean singing sensation Malika Tirolien from Guadeloupe, India's tabla genius Zakir Hussain and African rhythms from K.O.G. and the Zongo Brigade

Councillor Donald Wilson, Convener, Culture and Communities Committee, City of Edinburgh Council, said:

For 40 years, Edinburgh’s Jazz & Blues Festival has entertained audiences of all ages with its vibrant showcase of ragtime, Latin, big band and jazz. With new venues in the city centre and across communities, this year’s Festival will bring live music to Edinburgh’s intimate corners and grand spaces in its anniversary year.
The programme offers something for all ages across a huge range of styles, from established stars to an amazing new wave of Scottish jazz musicians for the Year of Young People 2018.

The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival runs from 13 - 22 July 2018, with tickets on sale from 2pm on Tuesday 1 May. Find out more at

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