Click the link here to apply! Deadline 30th October, 10 am.
mjf was the first festival to pioneer an open artists’ submission system and, with over 30% of our programming coming from these submissions each year, it still very much informs our work today. As a contemporary jazz festival, we champion and prioritise:
- artists playing original work
- artists living & working in the north west of England
- diverse artists creating new & surprising music that we can platform
Artists who sent us music via Artists’ Submissions and who were then featured in mjf 2023 inlcude:
The hunt for Manchester’s best street pianist is over as we have announced our winner of the mjf 2023 piano trail!
Originally from Pennsylvania, but making her home in Manchester, transatlantic folk singer Zoe Mulford took to the streets of Manchester to fill the town with her original work entitled “Purple Piano“. Before sharing a tender moment with another Manchester resident asking to play Hoagy Carmichael’s classic ‘Heart and Soul’, to which Zoe gladly obliged, encapsulating the community spirit at the heart of the trail. On receiving first prize of a Yamaha Digital Piano, generously donated to the competition from the company, Zoe remarked,
“I only found out about the mjf piano trail during the last week of the festival. I dropped everything and went to scout out pianos, thinking I might get photos or video I could use to promote the EP. As I wandered from piano to piano, I realised that if I abridged “Purple Piano” a little, it would run just under 2 minutes – so I shot the video to submit to the contest.” And she went on to note that, “Purple Piano was inspired by a public piano that I encountered in Oxford Road station some years ago (part of an earlier piano trail?) It was actually on Platform 4 and I don’t remember what color it was – but sometimes the sound of the words takes precedence over facts.”
James Sargeant from Yamaha said,
“We knew that the trail was going to unveil new talent from across the city, and of course we were not disappointed! Zoe’s wonderfully energetic, fun and luminous performance of her own song ‘Purple Piano’ captures the great spirit of the trail. What a great composition and performance from Zoe, congratulations.”
And we are also delighted to share the 8 other talented winners of the trail including the inspiring, 12-year-old blind pianist, Chapman Shum.
Steve Mead, manchester jazz festival’s Artistic Director, said:
“It was inspiring to see so many people – of all ages, backgrounds and abilities – responding to our city-wide invitation to bring spontaneous music-making to public spaces across Manchester. Congratulations to Zoe for winning over the judges with her spirited and moving performance!”
For those of you that are new to mjf and our talent development programmes we have three stands and are looking for artists at all stages of their careers and musical journey to apply.
mjf soundcheck is for musicians who want space to try out new things and be supported to grow creatively. The process is simple – you apply with a musical idea that you want to develop and we help you to do that, through 1-1 meetings, pairing you with a brilliant artist mentor, introducing you to inspiring industry professionals, providing you with a tailored recommended playlist and encouraging you to meet other musicians.
Over eight weeks, you’ll identify and transform your musical insecurities, unleash your hidden ambitions and hone your creative style. By the end of the programme you’ll showcase a short new piece of music that reflects your learning – and it might even surprise you!
mjf hothouse is a sixth-month programme for musicians to learn, experiment and create new work. It is unlike any other artist development programme. It’s not a predetermined or one-size-fits-all approach, and each round is designed around the selected artists. Throughout hothouse, we help you unearth undiscovered potential, to grow as a musician, and support you to make your best music yet. We look at the conditions you are working in, and the bigger picture – aiming always to improve your prospects and encouraging you to dream bigger.
Each year manchester jazz festival commissions contemporary, boundary-pushing new work with northern artists through our mjf originals scheme. Our values for the scheme are important to us and we strive for the new works we support to be artist-led, high-quality, ground-breaking, northern-focussed, and championing artists from all backgrounds. We’re especially interested in work by or for artists from diverse backgrounds, unusual collaborations, music for a specific time or place, work fusing other artforms and new ideas that push the boundaries of jazz.
Not sure which programme is right for you? Take a look at our f&q’s page here.
The reviews are in! mjf was 2023 was an outstanding success!
It ran from the 19 – 28 may 2022 at venues and sites across Manchester, including a free opening weekend at First Street, weekday gigs at St Ann’s Church, nightly gigs at Matt & Phreds, events at Forsyth Music , Blues Kitchen and at The Yard with partners NQ Jazz, but we wrapped it all up with a closing weekend fiesta at Band on the Wall.
- Check out some of the teams personal highlights here!
- And check out our gallery, captured by some of the incredibly talented and generous volunteers we had working with us this year.
- Already missing the festival? So are we! Don’t worry, we will be back to jazz up your summer next year. Sign up to our newsletter in order to be the first to hear all news relating to mjf2024.
Put mjf24 in your diaries: 17-26 May 2024
Nestled within the heart of first street and situated just opposite our main stage, you really can be on the doorstep to the jazz festival this weekend. In their own words, INNside is:
- “Contemporary architecture, avant-garde British style and a dash of Spanish warmth and friendliness combine to perfection in a city hotel in one of Manchester’s most dynamic and lively districts. Surrounded by restaurants, museums, boutiques and theatres that perfectly reflect the vibrancy and excitement of this amazing city. Designed for enjoyment and relaxation, this is the perfect place to fall in love with the city.”
Use this promo code (604119GQE) when booking to be able to receive up to 20% off the best available rooms between 19-28th May, when booking direct – INNSiDE by Melia Manchester
It looks like it’s been a busy 5 years for the Julie Campiche Quartet, touring all over Europe! Do you have any highlights from previous tours? And are you excited about getting back on the road again?
Yes, the last years have been very busy ! I have so many highlights and amazing memories with the band! It’s hard to pick only one, but I think, we say that ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ right ? So we performed at this concert in Lausanne. It was the first concert of our 1st album release tour. We started the concert and suddenly both my microphone and the FX pedal of the saxophone player went down on the very first song. So Leo, the saxophone player and I had to play acoustic for all of the first set. We had to change the setlist while playing because some of the pieces couldn’t be played without FX. It was all very tricky, but at the same time it came out all very natural and peaceful. That’s the feeling I always have with this wonderful team! I completely trust the band to go through anything that can happen and the music will still be there and meaningful.
Of course I am very excited to start this third phase of our release tour. And to come back to the UK !!! We definitely fell in love with the UK audience last November, they are amazing. A very curious and greedy audience and I love that !!
Would it be fair to say that your performances are both incredibly theatrical and visual? What was the inspiration behind this?
For me, playing music is like telling a story. So yes, I guess it might have an influence on my performances and make them theatrical and visual. For the visuals, we sometimes play with video mapping to increase the effect. I really enjoy it when different art forms meet to tell a story together. For example, I also had a recent project with a trapeze artist and some dancers for the video for our single ‘The Other’s Share’, working with diverse creatives and mixed media The mix of arts is like an immersive story. Like a 4D show!
Your work, in your own words, ‘is infused with themes such as the media’s incessant flow of news, and identity in a digital world, that together provide a determined yet urgent fragility to your music’. Would you be able to expand on this? Where do your musical influences come from and how do you represent these subject matters in your work?
Like every human being I’m influenced by the world around me. So of course my music is influenced by it. And I always was involved in some political issue. When I say “political” I don’t mean in a political party, but I mean in issues that affect us as citizens of this planet and how we live together. For me these topics have been very central to me for as long as I remember. So of course, my music, as my life, are influenced by this. Also because I think that music can really help to grow our soul and be a source of energy for change.
We’d love to know more about your two-theatre project’s Kalavrita Des Mille Antigone and Ouh La La Les Loups. How did they come about? Do you enjoy composing for the stage and how does it differ from your work as part of the quartet?
These 2 theatre projects aren’t running anymore, but it’s something I really enjoyed and I would maybe consider a return to theatre again in the future. On ‘Kalavrita’, I was just a performer, I didn’t compose the music. And, ‘Ouh La La Les Loups’ is the first professional job I had when I decided to go pro into the music field. It’s a duo with my father who is a storyteller. I composed the music. So I started my professional journey with theatre. That also might have an influence on the fact that I always work my music as I would “tell a story”. For each of my compositions, the intention of music is always linked to a story.
More recently I composed and performed some music for a theatre piece about Rousseau. A big project with children and a baroque orchestra and me as electronic and free electron. It was really inspiring ! As I mentioned, I always love to mix the art forms, so of course I love playing and composing for theatre.
We are delighted to have you join us at mjf2023 – what are you looking forward to the most about playing the festival and what can they expect from a Julie Campiche Quartet gig?
The audience can expect some emotions and waves of energy.
We are absolutely looking forward to come back and play again for our UK audience. I look forward to meeting the Manchester audience as I have never played in the city before.
Will you be catching any other mjf artists whilst you’re over in Manchester? And if so, who are you looking forward to the most and why?
As I’m running all the time for weeks and months, I haven’t yet checked the programme fully yet. But I will have the time to do it while we will do the big drive from Geneva to Manchester, an epic 15 hour journey! So yes, I will definitely enjoy the time there to listen some other artists and make some new discovery. I’m really looking forward to it.
Julie is playing Band on the Wall in their main venue
28th May, 1 PM-2.15 PM
Tickets are £12.00 and you can buy them here
mjf’s piano trail will return for 2023!
The mjf piano trail is back for its second year (April 27 – 28 May 2023) where 13 pianos are dotted throughout Manchester, available for all passers-by to play. Delivered in collaboration with our friends at Forsyth Music shop and Yamaha, we will also be running a competition to find Manchester’s best street pianists and talent with a whole raft of prizes up for grabs including… a digital Yamaha piano! Click the link HERE to discover how to enter and most importantly… where the pianos will be located.
In order to support the trail, there will also be a full line-up of activities throughout the month of may, including:
- Performances at Harvey Nichols. View the full line-up HERE.
- Performances at The Corn Exchange. View the full line-up HERE.
- Two bespoke piano trail walking tours, run by the Free Manchester Walking Tours, on the 13 and 27 May (£10 per adult, £5 per child). Buy tickets HERE.
Head to our piano trail page to learn more.
How does it feel to have such a buzz round the album ?
I feel privileged that songs I wrote for the song’s sake – with not much vision as to what I might do with them on release – have allowed me to experience so many things and meet so many new people over the last year or so.. Touring, shows, festivals, agents, my first trip to America, the Worldwide Awards… You never really anticipate these things during the writing process, it’s only in hindsight, I think, that you can truly appreciate a body of work like an album and what an achievement that is.. Whilst you’re in the process it’s just a bit of a creation-tornado, round and round in circles, the final product eludes you for years/months ! So yes, I feel privileged that people have responded to that music so positively.
Any highlights from touring last year ? Are you excited to be getting back on the road ?
We got to play some pretty banging EU festival slots last year and those audiences really know how to be great audiences haha ! Always a pleasure to play in those places, I sort of fell in love with the culture a bit – Nue Jazz Fest, Cully Jazz Fest, We Out Here, Salzburg Jazz Fest.. All the shows were epic experiences with my wonderful trio Dave Edwards (bass) and Tom Potter (drums). On top of that, supporting an idol of mine – Madison Cunningham – on her first ever UK tour was quite something
How would you describe yourself as an artist… what influences your musical choices…?
I have a background in jazz, so over the years I’ve been influenced by this style : George Benson, Pat Metheny, John Scofield. But, generally my style is ever-changing ! I’d like to think I just sound like me.
I have a deep, deep love for the guitar… harmony and great musicianship, so those aspects tend to be at the core of my writing and what I like. Recently, style wise I’m more and more influenced by (women who) rock… Grittier artists really trying to say something about the world we live in, people like Madison Cunningham, PJ Harvey, Bjork, Nilufer Yanya, Fiona Apple, Meshell Ndegeocello all own their spaces and stages in a way I aspire to as an artist.
In terms of my musical choices, lyrics are becoming more and more of a consideration for me. The songs from my new, (unreleased) record have a lot of love / empowerment themes which was never really my intention ! I use my writing to make sense of myself and the world so having gone through revelations these past few years about femininity, various relationships, sexuality, different people I’ve been close to, it was only natural I guess for the songs to reflect that.
What can people expect from an Rosie Frater-Taylor gig?
The live show can get kinda raucous.. My drummer Tom Potter / bassist Dave Edwards bring incredible energy to the songs so anything that goes really in groove wise tends to be my favourite ! We cover a broken beat track by Brotherly called ‘DTs’ with some wild metric modulations… I love playing my songs solo too with my looper, feels like you can really connect with the audience that way & I don’t have to strain the vocal cords.
What is it about the diy approach that appeals to you?
Well if you want something done right, do it yourself 🙂
What are you looking forward to the most about playing mjf?
I love the city, I’ve been a few times now (supporting Madison & I played The Blues Kitchen last year !). Just great vibes all round.. MJF is one of those iconic UK music festivals and Band On The Wall one of those iconic UK venues.. I’m so excited to be back on the road.. Playing a few new songs – we’re really gelling as a band recently and I can’t wait to bring that to lovely Manchester.
Will you be catching any other artists? If so, who and why?
Me & my mum are going to see Hot 8 brass band – it’s her birthday so it will be great to spend some time in the city and hopefully meet some of the other great musos playing.
Rosie is playing Band on the Wall in their main venue
25th May, 15.30-17.00
Tickets are £15.00 and you can buy them here
And what a strong line-up it is from, as always, the best new emerging UK jazz artists (Rosie Frater-Taylor, Romarna Campbell, Marcus Joseph) to actual living jazz legends (Billy Cobham, Fred Wesley & The New J.B’s). Learn more below and browse our full line-up here.
Opening Weekender: mjf@First Street
Our free opening weekender celebrates the breadth and individuality of our home-grown scene: bands from, or with a strong connection to, the north. It’s also about shining the spotlight on artists who’ve journeyed through some of our talent development programmes in recent years.
As well as some of the north’s leading artists gracing our Main Stage (Ni Maxine, Wizards of Twiddly, Yemi Bolatiwa) on Friday and Saturday, you can check out some of the Greater Manchester 18-25s bands from our Soundcheck and hothouse artist development programmes on the Garden Stage (Nasa Parka, Moby Dickless, Rory A Green). Accomplished performers in more intimate settings adorn the Home Stage (Moore & Fairhall, Good Habits) throughout each day.
On Sunday we partner with Jazz North to celebrate 10 years of the northernline touring support scheme: on the Main Stage, we’ll showcase five acts selected by industry bigwigs to be elected onto the 2023 artist roster.
Matt & Phred’s
Matt & Phred’s at Manchester Jazz Festival 2023 shines the spotlight on bands and musicians who showcase styles of jazz from different parts of the world (Henry Botham’s New Orleans Piano Gumbo, Baiana); whilst staying true to our ethos of supporting and championing local and independent musicians (The Chanteuse, Cuba Vida Salsa Band). Clarinettist Arun Ghosh makes a welcome homecoming appearance to round off our opening weekender, and we end the week in true M&P’s style, with a massive brass party.
St Ann’s Church
A firm favourite venue for mjf regulars, at St Ann’s, we welcome a selection of the UK’s most respected and cherished established players in intimate acoustic performances (Freight Train, Robert Mitchell, Stan Sulzmann & Nikki Iles) that bring you close to the music. Artistry, expertise and virtuosity, set in an oasis of calm in the bustling city centre.
Closing weekend at Band on the Wall
The very best in energetic, contemporary UK and international jazz talent (Mica Millar, Julie Campiche, Buena Vista Social Club’s Eliades Ochoa) – from legends to fast-rising names to watch, many on their Manchester debuts, and all in a classic club setting.
We can’t wait to welcome you!
We have yet another selection of bold, contemporary and diverse artists presented by Manchester promoters NQ Jazz, in partnership with mjf!
NQ Jazz will host three gigs at the well-loved, intimate venue in north Manchester: The Yard.
- Donovan Haffner- Monday 22nd May, 7.30pm*, £14.00 (full)
- A young artist who very much embodies the current generation of emerging UK jazz talent, Donovan Haffner makes his hotly-awaited debut Manchester appearance at this year’s jazz festival having already raised the roof at Love Supreme, Ronnie Scott’s, We Out Here and many more over the last 2 years.
- Alina Bzhezhinska’s HipHarp Collective ft. Tony Kofi – Tuesday 23rd May 7.30pm*, £14.00 (full)
- Alina Bzhezhinska is a one-woman powerhouse, on a mission to bring the harp to the fore of contemporary sound – a sound that can penetrate any size venue, any genre, any generation, and any musical taste; drawing as much from 90s Triphop and Afrobeat as jazz greats Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane. There’s no limit to where Alina’s music can go!
- Nathaniel Facey Trio – Wednesday 24th May 7.30pm*, £14.00 (full)
- One of the UK’s most exciting saxophonists, Nathaniel Facey is a prominent figure on the European jazz scene, with a truly unique sound full of ferocious passion and lyrical mastery. This fire-breathing trio of long-term collaborators play with a deep sense of adventure & connection that sets the imagination alight.
Click on each artist to discover more and hit the link HERE to get your tickets!
*This is the start time of each performance. Doors will open 45 minutes prior to each concert.