Jazz is not a four letter word.
Every year the London Jazz Festival tries to spread the jazz message to the masses and every year the festival gets bigger and bigger. Although I am not sure big does it justice – 10 days, 60 venues, over 2,500 artists and over 650 hours of live music!
It’s too big to try and see everything, obviously, but it does try and cover everything from world-renowned stars at prestigious concert halls to workshops for younger jazz musicians just starting out.
One of the great things about the LJF is the amount of free gigs going on.
The Southbank Centre has a free gig every afternoon I think and there is also normally a free gig most evenings. Check the website for full and up-to-date details (as things change) but if possible I try and get along to the those shows as they normally feature stars of tomorrow. This year I am looking forward to seeing the Ezra Collective for free.
The varieties of ‘jazz’ that fits under the Festival umbrella is also impressive. For example, on Saturday 15 November you can go and see Jazz in Polish cinema, the spirit of Charles Mingus via Papanosh, South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, the funky modern brass of the Hackney Colliery Band, free improv at Cafe Oto, Afro-jazz-funk with Yaaba Funk, or London Brazilica with Da Lata.
I love that variety that the Festival has. Even if you are not a jazz fan like me, there is bound to be something you will enjoy.