The annual jazz festival descends on Manchester from 22-31 July, showcasing artists across the genre’s varied spectrum, from the challenging time signature meddlers to the smoothly flowing funk fusions. It’s difficult to narrow down the programme, but here we’ve picked out a handful of those on the 2016 bill.

We begin on Monday 25th with the upbeat funky horns of Portmanteau, whose Festival Pavilion set is free entry and part of the Northern Line series. In musical contrast, Maja Bugge, who precedes them on the Northern Line that afternoon, demonstrates her virtuosity via cello at St Ann’s Church.

One of the bigger names heading to the city is the esteemed drummer and composer Antonio Sanchez. With just the four Grammy Awards on his mantelpiece, he leads his Migration Band to Band on the Wall on Tuesday 26th.

808 Statesman Graham Massey has been digging in his Toolshed again, planting three collaborators onto his stage for a set of prog-improv mind-melters. It’s at the Pavilion on Wednesday 27th.

Scouted by GoGo Penguin for their former label, Gondwana Records, Mammal Hands are also tipped for greatness and continue their sonic journey on Thursday 28th at Band on the Wall.

On the local bands front, Cinematic Orchestra guitarist Stuart McCallum‘s always a reliable source of the mellifluous. He’s performing with Amika at St Ann’s on Friday 29th, while earlier the same day there’s a slot for Alabaster dePlume, a Manchester super group led by Honeyfeet’s saxophonist Gus Fairbairn at Festival Pavilion.

Ever wondered what happens in our brains when we improvise? To discuss just that, and with one eye on Manchester’s position as European City of Science for 2016, Edinburgh Uni’s Dr Graeme Wilson leads an open panel debate at Portico Library, also on Friday 29th.

Alongside all this, Home will be running a Jazz on Film season with Tubby Hayes – A Man in a Hurry, the Miles Davis-scored Lift to the Scaffold, and Round Midnight among the picks.


The festival runs from Friday 22 to Sunday 31 July, 2016, and its shows are staged at nine city centre venues, including Band on the Wall, Albert Square and Central Library.

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