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Top 5: Unmissable Events at the London Jazz Festival

3 November 2016 Guy Smith

The 24th London Jazz Festival begins on Friday 11th November incorporating over 300 shows at more than 50 venues across the city. As ever, there is a broad range of choice covering the full jazz spectrum – from the big names (Brad Mehldau, Kurt Elling, Robert Glasper) to soul, funk and hip hop-inspired jazz as well as more esoteric choices who add elements of electronica and World Music to the jazz mix.

Here are our 5 choices from across the 10 days of the festival but there are many, many more to choose from. Check out the London Jazz Festival website for a full festival guide.


 
MICHAEL WOLLNY TRIO
Saturday 12th November
Kings Place, 8pm £14.50-29.50

 
Still in his thirties, Wollny has generated a huge reputation as one of the most inventive and unpredictable pianists around. As well as musical influences such as Keith Jarrett, Wollny takes inspiration from literature and art to create challenging yet beautiful music.
 
VEIN & GREG OSBY
Sunday 13th November
Barbican Foyer, 4pm FREE

 
Swiss piano trio Vein are joined by mighty US saxophonist Greg Osby for an afternoon show at the Barbican. It’s an inspired combination of European free jazz and US free funk. And it’s free!
 


DONNY McCASLIN QUARTET
Tuesday 15th November
Rich Mix, 8pm £17.50


This band were the backbone of David Bowie’s wonderful final album Blackstar. If that’s not enough to tempt you, the band includes in-demand drummer Marc Giuliana who is half of Mehliana with Brad Mehldau. The quartet’s new record, Beyond Now, also includes two Bowie covers – rarity “A Small Plot of Land” and “Warsawa”.


 
MATTHEW HALSALL & THE GONDWANA ORCHESTRA
Tuesday 15th November
Islington Assembly Hall, 9pm £19.50

 
Mancunian trumpeter Halsall has assembled a superb band inspired by the spiritual jazz of John and Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, including harpist Rachael Gladwin and the wonderful saxophone of Jordan Smart from label-mates Mammal Hands. Expect 60s-inspired modal jazz from recent albums When the World Was One and Into Forever.
 


BUGGE WESSELTOFT
Saturday 19th November
Kings Place, 2pm & 7.30pm £14.50-29.50

 
These concerts form part of Wesseltoft’s New Conceptions of Jazz residency at Kings Place. Wesseltoft is known for his Norwegian Jazzland label fusing electronica with jazz creating the New Conceptions idiom pushing jazz into the realms of club culture. He performs an early solo piano performance including specially devised visuals as well as an evening concert featuring a new all-female version of the New Conceptions band.

The EFG London Jazz Festival runs from Friday the 11th to Sunday the 20th November. For more information, visit their website.
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