Cambridge International Jazz Festival gets into full swing this week


Tomorrow (Wednesday 16th November) sees the launch of the second Cambridge International Jazz Festival, which has more than tripled in size since its inaugural year in 2015.

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More than 150 global and local musicians will perform over 70 sessions in 25 pubs, clubs, theatres, and hotels citywide. This year, the Festival boasts an impressive line-up of headliners, including jazz sensations such as MOBO award-winners Laura Mvula and Soweto Kinch, Grammy award-winning Bill Laurance (Snarky Puppy), award-winning and awe-inspiring vocalists: Anita Wardell and Lauren Kinsella (Snowpoet) amongst a myriad of other stars.

One of the major highlights of the first week will be the hugely popular Cambridge-London band, The Brass Funkeys (pictured) performing a free open air gig, on Saturday 19 November, throughout the city centre in the lead up to the Christmas Lights Switch on. The Brass Funkeys are an 8-piece New Orleans Marching Band specialising in spirited second line revelry, soulful jazz funeral marches, galloping gypsy czárdás and pumping brass driven funk [[]

The band will begin outside the Fitzwilliam Museum and parade throughout the city centre, past the Market Square and towards Bridge Street, stopping at various Cambridge landmarks along the way.

Becky Burrell from Cambridge Bid, sponsors of the Brass Funkeys city parade, said she is looking forward to a fantastic event: “Cambridge BID is delighted to be supporting the Jazz Festival by bringing the Brass Funkeys to play in the city on Saturday 19th November as part of The Big Switch On weekend.  We feel they will be a fantastic edition to the event and activities that are planned for the weekend and will bring a little bit of Christmas magic to each corner of the city.”

Founder and Director of the Cambridge Jazz Festival, Roslin Russell, commented: “We're very grateful to the Cambridge BID for sponsoring this event. The Brass Funkey's are such a fun, lively and infectious band; the kind of band you just can't help dancing along to, even if it's just some toe tapping. For anyone who can’t make the 19th, don’t worry – the Brass Funkeys will be back for the Festival closing party at La Raza on the 27th November.”

Other outstanding musicians, headlining during the first week of the Jazz Festival include Sons of Kemet at the Cambridge Junction on Wednesday; Mads Mathias at Hidden Rooms on Thursday; Kate Williams Four Plus Three at the Unitarian Church and Mammal Hands at St John’s College on Friday; Haggis Horns also at St John’s College on Saturday; and Phronesis at The Mumford Theatre on Sunday.

The can’t-miss performances during the second week include:

·       Entropi  [Unitarian church, 23 Nov, £8, £6]. The sublime Entropi takes listeners on a journey with compelling group interplay, strong themes, open-ended improvisation, dark grooves and interweaving melodic textures.

·       Gearbox Records Jazz Kissaten [Hidden Rooms, 23 Nov, £12 / £10]. Audiophile vinyl record label Gearbox Records follows the Japanese tradition of playing the best jazz music on state-of-the-art sound systems and bring their acclaimed ‘Jazz Kissa’ to the Cambridge Jazz Festival.

·       Binker Golding Band and Resolution 88 [La Raza, 23 Nov, £15 / £12]. Tenor saxophonist Binker Golding is one of the most exciting young jazz musicians on the thriving London jazz scene – he's been winning everything recently with drummer Moses Boyd. Resolution 88 is a hard-hitting, Fender Rhodes driven raw funk quintet led by Tom O'Grady, playing original funk music in the vein of Herbie Hancock and more recent innovators such as Kaidi Tatham (Bugz In the Attic).

·       Riprap poetry and dance with Jazzman John Clark and Laura Brera [Unitarian Church, 26 Nov, £10/8]. A series of compositions/collaborations by Kevin Flanagan and his group Riprap, based on selections read by Beat-style bebop jazzpoet, Jazzman John Clarke from his book Ghost on the Road, his collection of work based on his love of jazz and the Beats. This will be joined by the contemporary dancer Laura Brera, who will create a series of accompanying dances.

·       Snowpoet [Unitarian church, 27 Nov, £12, £10, £8]. Snowpoet combine melody and poetry in an improvisational effort inspired by artists such as Bjork, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits and Ólöf Arnalds, as well as poets Sylvia Plath, W.B. Yeats and Philip Larkin. Lauren Kinsella’s voice is out of this world is stunning and other-worldly. The band recently performed at BBC Proms Extra 2016 with poet Holly Corfield Carr.

·       Sara Mitra and Magic Box [Unitarian church, 27 Nov, £12, £5, £3]. A newly devised music/theatre piece that engages children in a wonderful world of make-believe, song, percussion and physical movement. Showcasing the sounds of instruments from the world of jazz, A Magical Musical Storybox weaves improvisation, traditional song styles and the children’s compositions of musician Sara Mitra around the storytelling gifts of Lottie Allen.

·       Cleveland Watkiss ‘Vocalsuite’ [Gonville and Caius College, 27 Nov, £6, £3]. Using a breathtaking vocal range that makes seamless links between musical cultures, multi-award winning Cleveland Watkiss, hailed as Britain’s best jazz singer, blends improvisation and counterpoint harmony, electronics, breakbeat loops and basslines (all live and from his mouth) to stunning effect, creating a unique, orchestral vocal soundscape.


Further information about the Festival can be found here:

You can also follow the Cambridge Jazz Festival for updates on Facebook and twitter   Twitter: @CamJazzFest #CJF2016