This summer marks the return of “Europe’s most adventurous jazz festival” with the 22nd annual Manchester Jazz Festival running from Friday 28th July to Sunday 6th August. Beginning life back in 1996 with nine bands playing over the course of one day, the weeklong celebration now draws in thousands of fans from across the country with a huge array of programming. Speaking on this year’s festival, organisers praise a programme of “UK and world premières; local gems and European debuts; hands-on music-making for all ages; young talent via MJF introduces; well-established stars; boundary pushing ideas and memorable musical encounters”.
The festival runs across some of the city’s revered venues, including the recently opened Stoller Hall, the Bridgewater Hall and, this year, a luxurious 1920s Salon Perdu Spiegeltent in Albert Square. This stunning Art Nouveau venue, one of only a few left in the world, offers fans the chance to enjoy this year’s music in a glamourous and opulent setting, centre to Manchester Jazz Festivals’ operations, including a ‘secret’ finale like no other.
Headliners in the Salon Perdu include the hugely popular Riot Jazz Brass Band kicking things off on Friday 28th, the Denys Baptiste Quartet re-imagining the later period of John Coltrane, Indian/brass crossover artist Shri performing ‘Just a Vibration’ and the UK debut of French musician Edward Perraud and his quintet Synaesthetic Trip.
Other highlights include Dave Maric’s ‘Decade Zero’ with acclaimed piano trio Phronesis and the award-winning Engines Orchestra, the UK debut of the saxophonist Joshua Redman ‘Still Dreaming’ Quartet, promoted in collaboration with RNCM and Manchester’s The Breath whose sound touches rock, ambient, folk and jazz.
You can also look forward to incredible talent of Jazz FM Vocalist of the Year 2016 Lauren Kinsella and Kit Downes, the 2010 Mercury Prize nominee pianist. Andy Scott’s 14-piece sax ensemble Group S will also be making an appearance, along with the talents of Leïla Martial and Valentin Ceccaldi, with their exquisite union of cello and voice.
A special commission this year comes with the world première of ‘Cottonopolis’ by Andy Stamatakis-Brown, celebrating Manchester’s iconic past during the Industrial Revolution and heart-beat of Madchester’s late 1990s rave scene. Expect an “atmospheric club night of jazz set to the soundtrack of mill machinery, DJs and live projections”, all taking place within a mystery venue (though you are advised to wear “sturdy footwear & warm clothes”…)
Away from music, HOME will be hosting three films within their Jazz At Home series, and over at Festival Square you can enjoy a Hobgoblin festival bar, chill-out zones, quality street food and free outdoor bands at weekends and early evenings, combined with new jazz brunches as well as afternoon teas.
The 22nd Manchester Jazz Festival takes place across the city from 28th July to 6th August. Tickets are available through the official Manchester Jazz Festival site.