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Theolonious Monk

EFG London Jazz Festival Guide

31 October 2017 Guy Smith

The EFG London Jazz Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary on Friday 10 November as the capital plays host to some of the great names of jazz (Herbie Hancock, Pharoah Sanders, Abdullah Ibrahim), some of the current stars of contemporary jazz (Robert Glasper, Tomasz Stanko, Pat Metheney), as well as some of the up-and-coming musicians treading their own path within the genre.

There are more than 350 shows across the 10 days of the festival. Here are our 5 selections but don’t just take our word for it, check EFG London Jazz Festival for a full festival guide.
 
Andy Sheppard Quartet

Saxophonist Andy Sheppard has established himself as one of the most important names in European jazz over the past 30 years, producing a huge body of work in many different group formats.
This quartet is one of his finest line-ups to date with a stellar team of Michel Benita on bass, Polar Bear’s Sebastian Rochford on drums and Norwegian sonic explorer Eivind Aarset on guitar and electronics. Expect melodic jazz pushed through a Scandinavian sound mangle courtesy of Mr. Aarset.

Andy Sheppard Quartet is on Saturday 11 November. Tickets from £14.50.


Andy Sheppard Quartet
 
Wolfgang Muthspiel Trio

Accompanied by Brad Mehldau’s rhythm section of Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard, Austrian guitarist Muthspiel creates a beautifully intricate sound that ranges from delicate, almost ambient, soundscapes to more driven tunes as he moves from acoustic to electric guitar. This is subtly nuanced music from 3 master musicians.

Wolfgang Muthspiel Trio are playing Sunday 12 November. Tickets £15.00
 
Illegal Crowns

If you like your jazz a little more challenging then The Vortex is the place to be to witness three of New York’s great improvisers – Mary Halvorson (guitar), Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums) – locking horns with French pianist Benoit Delbecq. The lyrical playing of the quartet merges both composition and improvisation, allowing each musician to show off their unique talent, as heard on their 2016 self-titled album. A bonus here is support act The Sam Leak Trio – a talented London-based pianist.

Illegal Crowns are playing on Thursday 16 November. Tickets £18.00

Alex Garnett's Oragnism
 
All About Jazz described Alex Garnett as “one of Great Britain’s most accomplished post bop musicians.” Garnett has been a fixture on the London jazz scene for two decades, leading his own bands as well as a first call sideman for such luminaries as Wynton Marsalis and Van Morrison. This quartet is a double tenor sax duel between Garnett and Alex Hitchcock ably assisted by the organ sounds of Ross Stanley. Classic ‘60s hard bop with a Stan Getz/Sonny Rollins vibe will be the order of the day.

Alex Garnett's Oragnism are playing on Friday 17 November. Tickets £12.00
 
The Thing

The Thing are something else. A monster power trio featuring the primal baritone sax playing of Mats Gustafsson supported by the fearsome rhythm section of Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Paal Nilsson-Love. The trio manage to harness an intensity and energy into their live shows that is more akin to a speed metal gig. However, there is still melody and great technique in their playing with Nilsson-Love’s muscular rhythms and Håker Flaten’s repetitive bass patterns providing the foundation for Gustafsson’s fiery improvisations. They may even throw in a Duke Ellington or Lightening Bolt cover just for fun. A great way to end the 25th London Jazz Festival. Ear plugs optional!
 
The Thing are playing on Sunday 19 November. Tickets £20.00.


The Thing

EFG London Jazz Festival runs across venues in London from the 10 – 19 November 2017.
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