Still to come at #mjf2018:

Yazz Ahmed’s Electric Dreams
Wednesday 25 July, Salon Perdu, Albert Square, Manchester, 8pm. 
British-Bahraini singer Yazz brings her latest project to mjf 2018 on Wednesday 25 July. Using electronics, sound design, live looping and sampling, she creates free-flowing, live improvisations that explore contemporary jazz from a personal angle.

Tickets and information here.

Irwin Mitchell mjf originals: Esther Swift Light Gatherer
Thursday 26 July, Salon Perdu, Albert Square, Manchester 8pm.
 

On Thursday 26 July we welcome Esther Swift to mjf 2018 with her Irwin Mitchell mjf originals composition Light Gatherer, which draws on the poetry of Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy through harp quartet, live vocals, string trio, piano, saxophone, trombone and percussion.

Tickets and information here. 

Beats & Pieces
Friday 27 July, Salon Perdu, Albert Square, Manchester, 8pm. 
Friday 27 July sees Manchester Big Band – Beats & Pieces rock the Salon Perdu stage with their 14 strong ensemble on the tenth anniversary of their very first performance. Get your weekend started with this high-octane gig and grab a pint from our Brightside Brewing Company Festival Bar.

Tickets and information here. 

Project Karnak
Saturday 28 July, Salon Perdu, Albert Square, Manchester, 5pm. 
South London group, Project Karnak kick off our final Saturday with tunes influenced by electronica, jazz and drum ‘n’ bass for their only northern gig this summer.

Hackney Colliery Band + Namvula
Saturday 28 July, Salon Perdu, Albert Square, Manchester, 8pm. 

mjf 2018 comes to a close with a double bill finale. Up first is Namvula, fresh off the Radio 1 Big Weekend stage, Namvula starts the evening with a fusion of Zambian folk and urban music – juxtaposed with influences from her Scottish roots and London’s eclectic music scene.

Directly following Namvula’s set is “one of the greatest live bands we have in this country” Radio 2, Hackney Colliery Band. Inspired by New Orleans marching bands, Balkan Beats, hip hop, Latin brass and rock this nine-piece band bring the colliery brass band tradition bang up to date with covers of Kanye West, The Prodigy and Goldie.

For Saturday’s full programme of events click here.

At manchester jazz festival, we know that music sounds fantastic.

So we’re really pleased to announce hearing specialists Amplifon will be heading down to this year’s festival on Saturday 21 July.

Amplifon’s mission is to empower people to rediscover all the textures and emotions of sound. Whether it’s protecting your hearing as an artist or finding a hearing aid that lets you enjoy music again, Amplifon’s passion is helping people live their fullest lives.

They pride themselves on being the hearing care experts, with highly trained audiologists who are always at the forefront of service and technology. They provide a wide range of hearing solutions so are always able to help you with any hearing needs.

manchester jazz festival are also supported by Help Musicians UK whose Musicians Hearing Health Scheme looks after the ears and careers of musicians across the UK.

manchester jazz festival returns for its 23rd year from 20 – 28 July 2018. You can speak to an Amplifon hearing specialist in the mjf Garden Lounge in the main festival hub in Manchester’s Albert Square on Saturday 21 July.

Why not stick around to enjoy all the sounds of mjf that day.

Each week we will be posting exclusive 60 second interviews with our 2018 Festival bands and artists. This week we are in conversation with Agbeko, to find out when Agbeko are playing mjf 2018 click here. 

Name: Jamie Stockbridge

Name of the Band: Agbeko

Where are you/the band from? Manchester

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How did you get into music?
I grew up in a house where there was always music on the stereo. My Dad buys CDs of all sorts of interesting things and I used to come back from school and open the CD-shaped parcels for a quick sneak preview!

*Why did you form the band?
I’d only been in Manchester for about 6 weeks and knew that I wanted to get writing, arranging and meeting people. I’d long been an admirer of both Fela Kuti’s music and of his utterly unwavering commitment to his beliefs. It all began falling into place from there!

What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a musician?
I feel very lucky that I get to meet, play with and befriend people – and experience places – that I would never have done were I not a musician. Whether it’s talking to Nigerian composers or being introduced to a dubious bottle of Estonian spirits whilst playing in Denmark, which seemed like a good idea at the time.

What is the least enjoyable part of being a musician?
The seemingly impenetrable ‘industry’ – whatever that is and whoever they are. I don’t think I’ll ever get a straight answer… you fear every decision you make on that side of things has the potential to be a terrible one.

Who is your favourite band or artist?
I don’t think many musicians could pick just one! I’ve already mentioned my admiration for Fela and there is a long list of people who just blow my mind. Right now, at the moment of this interview, I’ll say John Zorn. The breadth, depth, variety and innovation shown throughout his life’s work is on a scale that I can’t imagine touching.

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?
There will be lots that I failed to write down and have let slip from my memory, which I regret. A second hand piece of advice from Mike Walker to my friends in Artephis: ‘Tentative is not sensitive.’ Lots to think about for me there!

What does it mean to you to play at manchester jazz festival?
I feel very lucky to have had a good relationship with the festival over the last few years, in various musical guises. To be playing the main tent on opening night is a real pleasure for the whole group.

What advice would you give to the new generation of musicians that would like to follow in your steps?
I don’t know if I’m at the stage to have my advice listened to. But music doesn’t pay well – you won’t have many savings, odds are you’d have to luck out for a decent pension. So plant your flag, make the music you want to make. Justify this bizarre existence by, in some small way, having made something exist in the world that may not have done otherwise. And expect to only ever own cars that are at least 10 years old.

What has been the most notable highlight of your career so far?
With this band, heading to a festival in Bulgaria called Meadows in the Mountains was pretty special. It’s in the Rhodopes, near the Greek border – just beyond the back end of nowhere. We played to 2000 people then stayed up to watch the sun rise over the Mountains and burn away the morning mist. Incredible.

Other than yourself, who are you looking forward to seeing at mjf 2018?
I’m a sax player, so you can’t not be excited about seeing Chris Potter. The Northern Line showcase day is great too – lots of free gigs that give you a real overview of the exciting jazz scene in the north of England.

For the full Festival Programme click here.

Each week we will be posting exclusive 60 second interviews with our 2018 Festival bands and artists. This week we are in conversation with Sara Colman, to find out when Sara Colman is playing mjf 2018 click here

Name: Sara Colman

Name of the Band (if you’re in a band): The Sara Colman Band

Where are you/the band from? Birmingham and Bristol!

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How did you get into music?

I was really lucky to have had piano lessons from about 6 years old and I also got to try out some other instrumental lessons at school: Violin, Double Bass, Clarinet, Flute and I was always singing! My parents loved music – my dad is a big classical and jazz fan and my mum loves classic songwriters, any kind of uplifting groovy music and pop!

*Why did you form the band?

This band was formed specifically to play the music from my new album What We’re Made Of. I’ve been playing with many of the musicians for years and others are newer friends. Ben Markland and I go back to my first solo album Spellbound and have worked together ever since – Ben the MD is from Bolton! Steve Banks, Rebecca Nash and Jonathon Silk are newer musical partners of the last few years and I co-wrote songs with each of them for this album. Delighted to be working with Natalie Mason, Beth Bellis, Ning-ning Li and Katy Nagle, our singing string quartet and we also have the most fabulous Percy Pursglove with us. Finally (it’s a big band!) Anthony Marsden will bring his incredibly gorgeous and individual voice to the songs too

What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a musician?  

The music! The freedom. The opportunity to be creative. Each day being different to the one before. Travel. Meeting new people. The shared experience with your band…..

What is the least enjoyable part of being a musician?

Nothing much…. Just thinking about the things I procrastinate about……maybe Self promo!!

Who is your favourite band or artist?

It changes daily – today it’s a band called I’m With Her – tomorrow it will probably be Foy Vance!

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?

Be yourself, it is your only and best chance to be original.

What does it mean to you to play at manchester jazz festival?

I am very chuffed to be part of the festival this year, the whole band are. I love the way MJF supports original music and always gives new music a prominent place on the jazz stage. It’s such an open minded festival and has such a respect for the musicians. It’s a great opportunity for us to perform this new music to a new audience of interested listeners –  And another great reason to visit Manchester!

What advice would you give to the new generation of musicians that would like to follow in your steps?

The best I was given myself I guess – see above!

What has been the most notable highlight of your career so far?

Over the past couple of years I have really enjoyed being part of a couple of live Proms, one with NYJOS and the other with Laura Mvula and I feel unusually proud to have sung on Woman’s Hour!

Other than yourself, who are you looking forward to seeing at mjf 2018?

The band on before us – John Helliwell’s Creme Anglaise – what a band!

The very cool We are Leif – gorgeous singing and beautiful new music.

Chris Mapp’s band Stillefelt with Thomas Seminar Ford and Percy Pursgove – sublime!

For the full Festival Programme click here.

Each week we will be posting exclusive 60 second interviews with our 2018 Festival bands and artists. This week we are in conversation with Yazz Ahmed, to find out when Yazz Ahmed is playing mjf 2018 click here. 

Name:  Yazz Ahmed

Name of the Band (if you’re in a band): Yazz Ahmed’s Electric Dreams

Where are you/the band from? Bahrain, Manchester, Sweden & USA

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How did you get into music?

Listening to records with my mum.

*Why did you form the band?

They are all people I love playing with individually and I thought this quartet would be a very interesting combination of musical cultures.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a musician? 

Creating something from nothing.

What is the least enjoyable part of being a musician?

Badly planned tour itineraries leading to some horrendous journeys.

Who is your favourite band or artist?

Kenny Wheeler.

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t give up!

What does it mean to you to play at manchester jazz festival?

It’s an honour and I’m really looking forward to sharing an evening of totally improvised music with the audience.

What advice would you give to the new generation of musicians that would like to follow in your steps?

Be true to yourself.

What has been the most notable highlight of your career so far?

The amazing warmth and love that I have received in response to my album, La Saboteuse, has been overwhelming.

Other than yourself, who are you looking forward to seeing at mjf 2018?

If I could I would definitely go and see Norma Winstone’s concert.

For the full Festival Programme click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week we are highlighting the artists performing at our Home Nations Day on Thursday 26 July. The day sees artists from England, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland come together for a showcase of the best homegrown talent.

First up is Kim Trio, fronted by the winner of last year’s Peter Whittingham Jazz Award and Scottish saxophonist – Helena Kay. This lunch time gig of originals and jazz standards is inspired by Sonny Rollins’ classic piano-less trios. For more information and tickets click here.

The second gig of the day sees mjf return to the stunning surrounds of St Ann’s Church for one of our much-loved recitals. Described by BBC Music Magazine as ‘A European stylist of the highest order’, Huw Warren brings a taste of Wales to Manchester with his elegant melodies effortlessly traversing his interests in world, contemporary and folk music. For more information and tickets click here.

Sue Rynhart brings her trio to Salon Perdu for an afternoon of precise vocals complimented by lyrics infused with stories of relationships, motherhood and fragility. Sue has a reputation in Northern Ireland for being one of the most captivating and unusual contemporary artists and has received much critical acclaim. For more information and tickets click here.

Sugarwork bring our third taste of Scotland to the Home Nations Day – fronted by bandleader and keys player Paul Harrison. Paul leads these adventurous and accomplished players through a repertoire of new, intense but lyrical sounds, with elements of atmospheric electronica, European jazz, industrial looping, psychedelic exploration and post-rock flavours. For more information and tickets click here. 

We wrap up the day with our treasured Irwin Mitchell mjf originals commission Light Gatherer. The piece is composed by Scottish harpist Esther Swift and inspired by the feminist works poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Esther will be supported by her Clouds harp quartet, saxophone, trombone, violin, viola, cello, piano and percussion. For more information and tickets click here.

To find the full Festival programme click here. 

Each week we will be posting exclusive 60 second interviews with our 2018 Festival bands and artists. This week we are in conversation with Babelfish, to find out when Babelfish are playing mjf 2018 click here. 

Name: Brigitte Beraha
Name of the Band (if you’re in a band): Babelfish
Where are you/the band from?
I was born in Italy and raised in the South of France. My dad is Turkish and my mum half Turkish half English, they are both originally from Istanbul. I moved to London which is where I met Barry, Chris and Paul. We are all based in London.
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How did you get into music?

My dad used to be the pianist of a famous Turkish pop star in the 60s. Growing up we had a piano at home that my dad played once in a while, whilst singing pop and ‘variety’ songs with his raucous voice. When he wasn’t playing I always loved to be on that piano trying to play and sing myself, until I eventually had a proper piano teacher who taught me my favourite classical pieces.

*Why did you form the band?
Barry Green and myself had already been playing together for some time but wanted to form a band where we would play music that we loved, regardless of where it came from, as well as a good vehicle to write our own music. A band where we could be playful, and play free, wacky and beautiful music. We both knew that Chris Laurence and Paul Clarvis would be the perfect musicians to make this happen, and when we found out they were happy and excited
to be on board we knew this would be special.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a musician?
Getting to play so much great music with amazing people and musicians as well as seeing my own music being brought to life. It’s also a great joy when I see that people who come to the gigs are moved by the music; to be able to bring a little bit of happiness
through music is an amazing thing.

What is the least enjoyable part of being a musician?
The hectic hours and not having much of a routine. But that can also be very welcome at times!

Who is your favourite band or artist?
There are many favourite artists but springing to mind just now Theo Bleckmann who is  incredible; Ches Smith’s trio with Matt Maneri and Craig Taborn are a band I am currently obsessed with; and in the UK I will always try to catch The Printmakers, Matthew Bourne or Lauren Kinsella.

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?
I’m afraid it’s probably something like: ’You’re mumbling, can’t hear what you’re saying’,  by a peer musician. Couldn’t be anything less profound! Yet, a simple statement like this to help me realise how detail and conviction are everything, and will help in the delivery of the things that really matter.

What does it mean to you to play at manchester jazz festival?
This is one of my favourite jazz festivals, as the programme is always really exciting and varied; it’s also one of the first jazz festival I’ve ever played and I’ve been coming back regularly as part of different ensembles. It’s always been so much fun to play here, so it’s brilliant to be back this year with Babelfish- we haven’t played here before and we are really looking forward to it!

What advice would you give to the new generation of musicians that
would like to follow in your steps?
To be honest with their music and proactive so that their music can be heard.

What has been the most notable highlight of your career so far?
Hard to pick one, but one I know I will never forget was playing the ‘Sweet Time Suite’ with Kenny Wheeler.

Other than yourself, who are you looking forward to seeing at mjf 2018?
I sadly won’t be able to stay for the rest of the festival, but there is so much that I’d love to see from your varied and exciting programme including ‘Under The Surface’, Kim Trio, Cinder, Megan Branwen, Yazz Ahmed and Winstone/Gesing/Venier.

For the full Festival Programme click here.

Each week we will be posting exclusive 60 second interviews with our 2018 Festival bands and artists. This week we are in conversation with Sue Rynhart, to find out when Sue Rynhart is playing mjf 2018 click here. 

Name: Sue Rynhart

Where are you/the band from? I’m from Dublin, Dan Bodwell (Double Bass) is from USA and Francesco Turrisi (Piano & Percussion) is from Italy. We are all living in Ireland.

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How did you get into music?

There is a great live Music scene in Ireland. I have always loved music and I’ve been singing since before I can remember so I suppose I have never not been into music.

*Why did you form the band?

I formed a band to enjoy singing my songs with excellent musicians.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a musician?

I feel honoured when people come and chat with me about my songs and tell me how they relate to their own lives. There are countless moments that I remember being onstage with other musicians and just having a great time. I think music can unite people.

What is the least enjoyable part of being a musician?

There’s nothing! Any practical difficulties or obstacles are outweighed by my enjoyment of the sound world.

Who is your favourite band or artist?

There are so many.  At the moment I’m enjoying Beethoven’s Late String Quartets, the Tom Tom Club, Autechre, Meredith Monk, John Cage, Hermeto Pascoal. I’m particularly interested in environmental sounds; for instance the sound of wind in Bamboo leaves – outdoor sounds, especially on a hot day.

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?

I have learned so much from many generous teachers, friends, family and colleagues.  Someone once told me that you should know the rules before you break them.

What does it mean to you to play at Manchester jazz festival?

I’m thrilled! I love this Festival.

What advice would you give to the new generation of musicians that would like to follow in your steps?

I would advise them to have fun and to improvise!

What has been the most notable highlight of your career so far?

Recently, at a gig in ‘The Sofa Sessions’ in Billy Byrne’s Bar in Kilkenny, Ireland, the audience joined in with us for one of my songs, that felt and sounded really special.

Other than yourself, who are you looking forward to seeing at mjf 2018?

The programme look fantastic, it would be great to hear all the acts.  If I had to choose two, it would be Norma Winstone/Klaus Gesing/Glauco Venier/Abel Selaocoe and Cross Currents Trio featuring Dave Holland/Zakir Hussain/Chris Potter

For the full Festival Programme click here.