Inside the London Jazz Festival 2013

The Jazz Festival in London is a weeklong celebration of all things swing, blues and improvisation. Hosted mainly on the South Bank, you can expect a full range of jazz spinoffs, interpretations and melodies overlooking the Thames. We headed down there last week to see what all the fuss was about.

One of the first things we saw at the Jazz Festival was the Kentish Town Instant Orchestra. They are a group of local musicians who turn up mainly unprepared, unrehearsed and lots of talent. Their take on Duke Ellington‘s ‘A-Train’ in Queen Elizabeth Hall was delightful and fun. Just the way it should be. The improv song the orchestra performed at the end was interesting. The performance reminded me of a chamber choir but there were points it was just noise. Not all improvisation is perfect.

We then headed to the Clore Ball Room in the Southbank Centre where there was a whole afternoon of entertaining musicians interspersed with DJ’s Sushil and Kevin Legendre. The casual atmosphere and good acoustics of the room meant you could get a drink at the bar, take a phone call and not miss a thing. The Jazz Festival in London is very popular so be sure to get there a little early if you want a seat.

One of our favourite acts of the Jazz Line-up was Empirical. The use of a xylophone with the bluesy notes of the saxophone and drums was music to our ears- if you pardon the pun. The chemistry between the band members was refreshing and enjoyable. Other acts included Stan Sulzmann, Benet Mclean and Dainius Pulauskas. Sulzmann was more for the old men, relaxing with a cigar but their performance was enjoyable nonetheless. Benet Mclean was very energetic and looked like they were having a lot of fun on stage.

The London Jazz Festival has everything you need if you’re a Jazz enthusiast or just want to know what it’s all about. As the festival is in its 21st year, there has been a special effort to put on lots more free events and some great shows around London. From talented musicians just starting out, to greats who have been in the business for years, the Jazz Festival celebrates the good old fashioned style we all know and love and beings to us new fusions we won’t hear anywhere else. Whatever you do this weekend, be sure to catch the last few days. You won’t regret it.

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