Cambridge Jazz Festival unveils this year’s lineup as tickets go on sale

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Tickets are now on sale for the Cambridge International Jazz Festival, a mainstay in the region’s arts and culture scene, featuring many of the national and international heavyweights from modern jazz.

The fifth annual Cambridge International Jazz Festival kicks off on 13th November with 11 days of live music at 28 city centre venues, including the Cambridge Junction, Cambridge Corn Exchange and Storey’s Field Centre, and over 70 gigs featuring more than 500 musicians from across the full spectrum of jazz. 

One of the most widely anticipated gigs is the legendary acid jazz and funk group, Brand New Heavies. Part of the Acid Jazz explosion in the 90s, the group had a debut album that is widely regarded as a glorious moment in UK soul history. It was a breakout success, scoring critical and commercial acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic (14 Nov, Cambridge Junction).

The Festival, renowned for featuring genre-bending performances and its celebration of all forms of jazz from funk and soul to punk and indy, features a range of established and emerging stars, including the immensely powerful Black Voices Quintet presenting 'The Soul of Nina Simone' (24 Nov, Storey’s Field Centre). Black Voices have developed a unique repertoire and arrangement of spirituals, traditional African, Caribbean and English folk songs, jazz, gospel, pop and reggae as well as a fusion of contemporary and classical styles that has earned them world-wide recognition.

Other stars include Norwegian headliners, saxophonists Jan Garbarek (16 Nov, Saffron Hall) and Marius Neset (23 Nov, Mumford Theatre), and the internationally-acclaimed British-Bahraini Trumpeter Yazz Ahmed’s 13-piece ensemble (19 Nov, Cambridge Junction J2), whose jazz has been described as ‘psychedelic Arabic jazz, intoxicating and compelling’.

The much-loved Cambridge band, Brass Funkeys – 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 – also return to the Festival for what promises to be a toe-tapping, feet-stomping performance. (24 Nov, Storey’s Field Centre).

Further highlights include:

  • Opening night on 13th November features one of the UK’s finest soul singers, The Ashton Jones Project and the infectiously energetic Renegade Brass Band (Cambridge Junction J1).
  • The Godfather of British Blues, John Mayall has served as a pioneer of blues music (17 Nov, Cambridge Corn Exchange).
  • The legendary jazz-rock band, Soft Machine (Storey’s Field Centre)
  • Celebrating Windrush Jazz and Carribean influences, Routes in Jazz, featuring one of the UK’s most respected pianist Trevor Watkis and multi-talented trumpeter Byron Wallen, presents the music of jazz trumpeter Dizzy Reece, and also performing later that day are Mercury Prize 2019 nominees NSeed Ensemble (17 Nov, Storey’s Field Centre)
  • Performances at Stapleford Granary across the 11 days include Liane Carroll, who stunned the audience at last year’s opening night with her incredible vocals, and Claire Martin, Christian Muthspiel & Steve Swallow, Dave Gordon & John Law Duo and Leon Greening Trio.
  • Camilla George Quartet and Harry Bolt Quartet headline at Cambridge Modern Jazz (14 & 21 Nov, CUC Wine Bar).
  • (22 Nov, West Road Concert Hall)
  • Marking the 50th anniversary of seminal record label ECM’s inception, there is also a performance from Julia Hülsmann Quartet (15 Nov, Gonville & Caius College).
  • Other formidable artists performing at the Festival include British pianists Gwilym Simcock (15 Nov, St Catherine’s College), Tom Crawley (22 Nov, CUC Wine Bar), drummers Josh Blackmore (22 Nov, CUC Wine Bar) and Richard Spaven Trio (14 Nov, The Portalnd Arms), and Bristol newcomers Ishmael Ensemble (23 Nov, Storey’s Field Centre).

Roslin Russell, Festival Director, said: “I’m truly excited about this year’s Festival. As ever, our aim is to offer audiences something that will change their ideas about jazz and exactly what genre of music it is. In doing this, we hope to attract people who may never have thought of attending a jazz performance because they think it’s not for them. One of the greatest things about jazz is that it appeals to everyone of all ages and from all walks of life. It’s an incredible genre-bending musical experience.”

For the full line-up of artists, workshops, talks and films visit the Festival website:


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