November marks the 18th anniversary of the splendid London Jazz Festival 2010, with an enviable and exciting line-up that befits such an anticipated event. In association with BBC Radio 3, the festival will once again run for 10 days, this time from 12th to 21st November with tickets just released for each performance.
The programme begins on the 12th with the return of trumpeter and curator, Guy Barker leading the "Jazz Voice" opening show. This year's performance is sub-titled "Celebrating a Century of Song" and gathers together a large handful of high-end vocal-stars (tbc), exploring numerous sub-genres within the jazz spectrum from the past 100 years. Tickets start at £15 and the production is hosted by the Barbican Theatre in Silk Street.
On the same evening, Hugh Masekela and vocal-ensemble group Mahotella Queens perform at the South Bank's Royal Festival Hall for £27.50 - truly a landmark trumpet-player you just have to see.
The 13th (Saturday) hosts two concerts by two very intricate performers, one of which has earned a 'nod' from a certain Mr Obama. Esperanza Spalding does to a double-bass what Ronnie O'Sullivan can do with a snooker cue (minus the strops) and she has opted to present her new project, "Chamber Music Society" at the South Bank Centre. This is her modern take on a genre that perplexes as much as it delights some audiences. £20 is the asking price, the same value as Pat Metheny's long-time collaborator and pianist, Brad Mehldau at the Barbican. Here he presents his new work, "Highway Rider" with Britten Sinfonia and sax-maestro Joshua Redman.
The remaining week and a bit continues with a swathe of jazz-legends including Paolo Conte at the Royal Albert Hall on the 16th. This man may be in his 70s but boy, can he sing. The rough with the smooth and taking his cue from Mediterranean influences and European melancholia, he sounds as though he has kept Benson and Hedges in business for sure, but glibness aside, is a legend in his own lyrical life-time. Even Italian football-fans wanted him to sing their anthem in 2006! Tickets cost from £15 upwards.
Paco de Lucía can almost make a Flamenco-guitar sing and makes a welcome return to London's South Bank on the 18th for another masterclass in improvised Spanish-virtuosity. Tickets are upwards of £40.
On the 20th, the Barbican again lends its jazz-concert chops to a performance, and 80th birthday celebration, by saxophonist Sonny Rollins. Again tickets are around £40, but bear in mind that last year's appearance by Rollins sold out, such is the man's reputation for earnest blowing.
Not content with bringing you the UK's best jazz festival for 2010 (in our humble opinion, dear reader), they've gone and improved on it, adding artists who if they shared a fireplace, would have a bulging mantelpiece, heavy with awards.
Amongst the luminaries are renowned guitarist John Scofield (15th), vibes man Gary Burton (17th), MOBO sax blower Soweto Kinch (18th), Grammy-hogging trumpet player/ composer Dave Douglas, who accompanies former Captain Beefheart Magic Band-member Gary Lucas to provide the soundtrack to a special performance of 'Frankenstein versus Dracula'- the experimental film-maker Bill Morrison's 'Spark of Being' on 21st.
And I didn't even multi Grammy-winning trumpet player Terence Blanchard who accompanies pianist Robert Glasper on 14th, or French singer/ pianist Arthur H on 19th November, nor did I make a fuss about Danish jazz legends Palle Mikkelborg and Marilyn Mazur, who accompany Helen Davies and Mikkel Nordsoe on Sunday 14th November...
See below for the programme announced so far.