Manchester Jazz Festival and The Met have joined forces for an exciting collaboration of intimate gigs in 2021.

From January to April, music lovers can be in the audience for a diverse programme of live performances brought to you by Manchester’s longest running music festival at the popular Bury-based venue .

Audiences have the chance to be part of an exclusive, intimate audience in The Met, or to join live streaming audiences across the world.

Unfortunately, as the Covid-19 situation evolves we have had to cancel the first three of these gigs. We will keep you updated with any further programme changes.

The programme includes:

*CANCELLED* Friday 22 January – Camilla George Quartet 
The MOBO-nominated, Nigerian-born saxophonist and star of award-winning Jazz Jamaica, leads her own critically-acclaimed project showcasing the stars of the new UK jazz scene. Her music is a hypnotising blend of Afrofuturism, hip hop and jazz, and is politically minded and heavily linked with African history.

*CANCELLED* Saturday 20 February – Dennis Rollins’ Velocity Trio
British trombone player Dennis Rollins MBE has established a reputation as an artist of excellence, and has lent his unique talents to some of the world’s top jazz and pop personalities such as Courtney Pine, Maceo Parker, Jamiroquai, US3, The Brand New Heavies, Blur, Monty Alexander, Pee Wee Ellis and Jean Toussaint. His Velocity Trio is a brilliant marriage of refined contemporary jazz arrangements with simmering grooves that appeals to multiple generations of jazz, funk and world music fans.

*CANCELLED* Friday 26 March – John Helliwell’s Ever Open Door
Ever Open Door is an eclectic collection of ballads, songs, and folk tunes from an intimate sextet led by the enigmatic sax legend that is John Helliwell. Here, his lyrical and heartfelt sound is bathed in strings and the soulful wash of the Hammond, in the hands of another northern musical enigma, John Ellis.

Friday 23 April – The Breath
Ríoghnach Connolly and Stuart McCallum are the creative heart of BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominees The Breath. Ríoghnach’s deeply soulful, utterly engaging, stop-you-in-your-tracks voice coupled with Stuart’s understated brilliance and their exquisitely crafted songs give The Breath such emotional depth.

Steve Mead, mjf CEO and Artistic Director, said: “Along with the rest of the population we’ve been desperate to see the return of live music and are excited to announce this series of intimate gigs from some of the UK’s most exciting and diverse jazz artists.
“Audiences can enjoy the music live at The Met by booking a limited number of individual tickets or tables in the venue, or from the comfort of their own homes via a live stream.
“We formed a great partnership with The Met after streaming some of our 25th anniversary festival with them earlier this year. We’re thrilled to be back in the venue and working with them again.”

Audiences should keep their eyes peeled for news on mjf2021 which will be announced next year.

The Met have introduced a number of extra measures to ensure the venue is COVID-safe for staff and audiences including additional cleaning, socially distanced seating and table service.

Those purchasing online tickets will be able to watch their chosen show for seven days.

Tickets for mjf @ The Met are on sale now here.

mjf is delighted to announce a trio of development and performance opportunities for artists.

We are now inviting artists to submit ideas for new work as part of the mjf originals commissions scheme.
The open commissioning scheme supports northern artists from all backgrounds to create high-quality, ground-breaking new work to be premiered live at the annual festival and beyond. And this year, we’re calling on artists to get creative and embrace the challenges of devising new work during the global pandemic.

We can now also announce the launch of mjf soundcheck, our free, online development programme for diverse musicians aged 18 – 25 across Greater Manchester. In this inaugural round of the new project, up to ten young musicians at the start of their careers can benefit from industry mentors and bespoke workshops as they are encouraged to make new work using improvisation or jazz for the first time.

In addition to this, we have extended the current round of mjf hothouse, our in house talent development scheme for more established artists. We will continue to work with our current cohort of six artists until April 2021 offering them further bespoke support to guide them through the COVID-19 pandemic on areas such as recording and broadcasting from home, mental health and wellbeing and planning around uncertainty.

Steve Mead, mjf CEO and Artistic Director, said: “This has been a really tough year for musicians and for live music so it feels positive for us to end 2020 by announcing this trio of opportunities for artists.

“mjf understands the pressures on independent artists and we want to support brave, new ideas that push the boundaries of jazz and help people who demonstrate potential.

“Thanks to the launch of our new mjf soundcheck scheme for younger musicians, we can now support artists at all stages of their career. We hope musicians will graduate on to programmes such as mjf hothouse and then in a few years be premiering new work with us through the mjf originals commissioning scheme.

“In addition to these schemes, the team is working with event partners on potential plans for our 2021 festival , which we’ll announce in due course. Artists should keep their eyes peeled for when general submissions to play at mjf2021 open in the new year.”

We are accepting applications for the first round of mjf soundcheck until noon on Friday 15 January.

Artists have until noon on Monday 25 January to submit their ideas for the mjf originals commissions.

The next round of hothouse will open for new artist applications in 2021.

For more information on each scheme click here.

The trio of artist development schemes have been made possible thanks to funding from Arts Council England, Help Musicians UK, PRS Foundation, Youth Music and Greater Manchester Combined Authority.