Running from July 16 to 25, the 2021 edition of the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival (EJBF) will feature more than 40 digital events, including 20 concerts from Assembly Roxy, which will be lived streamed with a limited, live audience in attendance.
And it's not just jazz, event co-producer Fiona Alexander, promises, "We’ve got a host of new blues too. New pairings include Irish singer and guitarist Grainne Duffy joining blues singer Nicole Smit, Lyndon Anderson joining Sandy Tweeddale, and electric guitarist Jon McKenzie joining Jed Potts’ band, Hillman Hunters. US blues is featured by the award winning Blind Boy Paxton and the ever popular Stacy Mitchhart.”But what are this year's five must see gigs? Who better to ask than the producer herself, so if you fancy a relaxed evening of the best sounds around, here are Fiona's five Hot Tickets for 2021.
Davina & The VagabondsSinger and pianist Davina Sowers delivers a combination of bluesy bar room baritone and bravado, graveyard jazz grooves, and noir-ish confessional lyricism backed by boisterous piano, guitar, and strings. Think Fats Domino meets Amy Whitehouse via Etta James. She’s eclectic, engaging and instilled with a deep respect and knowledge for the Great American Songbook and delivers heartfelt, electrifying live performances.
Fergus McCreadie Trio with Tim Garland
Without doubt, Fergus McCreadie is one of those exceptional musicians that comes along once every generation. From his early years in Dollar, Clackmannanshire and studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, he is now seen as one of the hottest properties in UK jazz. Inspired by the tradition and landscape of Scotland, his music has an appealing freshness of sound and originality. For EJBF21, he teams up with Grammy winning saxophonist Tim Garland, a long term collaborator with the legendary Chick Corea.
Soweto Kinch2019’s EJBF cover star Soweto Kinch has amassed an impressive list of accolades on both sides of the Atlantic, including a Mercury Music Prize nomination, two UMA Awards and multiple MOBO awards. For EJBF, he plays two sets, one with Edinburgh-based jazz collective Playtime and the other with his own Trio. Whilst studying history, Kinch became fascinated with the musical legacy of 1919, the year of anti-black race riots across the US, the subjects of his latest album Black Peril.
Alison AffleckAcclaimed singer Alison Affleck, delivers a brand new show celebrating the early days of jazz in New Orleans. She is joined by a stellar cast including New Orleans musicians Joplin Parnell and Ewan Bleach and top UK trumpeter Enrico Tomasso complementing her all-star Scottish band. Together with swing dancers, she’ll transport you to the prohibition era, delivering good time, swinging vintage jazz.
Georgia CécileA rising star in the new wave of UK female jazz talents and tipped as One To Watch by BBC Introducing and Jazzwise Magazine. Her accessible approach to jazz provides the key to her crossover appeal as she cites contemporaries such as Celeste, Melody Gardot and Gregory Porter as influences and takes inspiration from artists such as Stevie Wonder, Sarah Vaughan and Nina Simone.
The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival runs July 16-25, www.edinburghjazzfestival.com