Manchester Jazz Festival highlights: recommendations from artistic director Steve Mead
This year’s Manchester Jazz Festival has such a busy schedule that the annual event is gearing up to celebrate its 20th year of music and special performances.
In 2015 he’s also trying new things to connect with different audiences – including a few shows aimed at young children and designed to actually involve them in music through participatory dance and play.
If you just fancy getting a feel for what the festival is all about, you can head to Albert Square August 1-9 and hang out there enjoying the free entertainment and immersing yourself in the food and drink. outside.
But it’s such a huge event this time around that we asked Artistic Director Steve Mead to select a few of his favorite shows, a set of concerts that give punters a real taste of what Manchester Jazz is all about. Festival. Here are his selections …
Family events: how the monkey found his swing and I have a duck that can roar
New for MJF as it programs for young (or young at heart) audiences, the first encouraging children to interact with the story via Dalcroze dance, and the second on silly activities and storytelling.
Pavilion / August 2/1 p.m. & 3 p.m. / £ 4 each
Steve Mead: “They’ve been going on for 20 years, and it’s pretty unusual in jazz – for a band to exist that long with the same line-up. They played at our second or third festival. It’s a bit of New York, high energy jazz, with a very high level of musicality, we get along and we can’t get through it until the end.
Thwaites Festival Pavilion / August 5/8 p.m. / £ 8
Iain Ballamy: The Pepper Street Orchestra
SM: “Iain is absolutely amazing, of a very high level. He works with poet Matthew Sweeney and artist Dave McKean, whose work is also amazing. It is a world first. I’m a little impressed with the way we do this one! “
RNCM / August 6/8 p.m. / £ 17
North Line with Jazz Nord
Twelve free concerts in 12 hours, this full day of sets uses several venues in the city, all performances by artists from the North.
Not to be missed: the Mancunians John Bailey Quartet at the Central Library (3.20pm), or just after the group from Leeds Manjula in the same space.
August 3 / All free / Each set lasts approximately 35-40 minutes.
Epfi Records & Onze Heures Onze Collectives
SM: “It’s a Manchester club and a Parisian club that play music that they created together. It’s art as a collective, and they’re doing something themselves rather than because a promoter or manager asked them to do something.
Soup kitchen / August 5th / 9pm / £ 8
Winstone / Gesing / Venier
SM: “She’s about 70 years old now and she’s still an amazing singer. In the 1960s, she pioneered this wordless vocal style, and so many people have followed suit since. “
Sainte-Anne Church / August 6/1 p.m. / £ 10
John Ellis and Antony Barkworth-Knight
Another world first and an MJF commission. For Evolution: Seeds and Streams, Ellis collaborates with visual artist Barkworth-Knight.
Manchester Town Hall / Aug 7/10 p.m. / £ 10
Rodrigo Constanzo: dfscore
Using the technology he developed, Rodrigo Constanzo of the RNCM will lead an orchestra and create an improvised piece of music – musicians following instructions and cues on smart devices. The public is also invited to participate and bring instruments and smartphones.
Pavilion / August 2/5 p.m. / £ 4
Sharma Rahman Band and Airelle Besson Quartet
SM: “It’s our last Sunday and these are great shows: Indo-jazz by Shama, and Airelle is a trumpeter from France and a big star there. She’s a bit like Bjork, with the direction and delivery.
Pavilion / August 9 / 2:45 p.m. & 4:30 p.m. / £ 4 each
Riot Jazz Band & Baked A La Ska
Covers of classic songs embellished with brass and ska touches by these two fantastic artists.
Pavilion / August 6/8 p.m. / £ 15-£ 17