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The 10 best gigs at EFG London Jazz Festival

By Roseanne Hanley

Ten days, 350 performers and 60 venues… The 25th year of LJF is simply huge! So we’ve whittled it down to the best shows you can still book tickets for.

Soothsayers + Arun Ghosh Sextet + Lokkhi Terra
Afrodub, sounds from Bangladesh, Lagos and new music from highly talented clarinettist Arun Ghosh and his latest album ‘But Where Are You Really From?’ This is the gig to check out if you want to hear some superb global jazz sounds.
Sat Nov 11. Rich Mix.

Karin Krog and John Surman
Highly respected jazz veterans, vocalist Karin Krog and saxophonist John Surman make a rare club performance. Both have decades of experience, making them respected masters of the genre. This is a great opportunity to hear them perform together in an intimate setting.
Mon Nov 13. Pizza Express Jazz Club.

Ben L’Oncle Soul + Julia Biel
Blue Note soul man Ben L’Oncle performs from his debut, ‘Under My Skin’ alongside soul revue classics. He’s great, but this gig is worth checking out for the support alone – Julia Biel is hands down one of the most beguiling vocalists around. Empowering and hypnotic, she’ll blow you away – trust us.
Nov 15. Cadogan Hall.

Zara McFarlane + Gabriel Royal
Launching her latest album, Zara McFarlane takes to the east London stage to show just why she’s one of the most exciting new jazz talents in the capital. Support comes from singer and cellist Gabriel Royal who makes his UK debut.
Nov 15. Rich Mix.

Emilia Martensson and Friends
Folk-inflected vocalist Emilia Martensson brings together musicians from across the London scene for this gig. She blends her jazz sensibility and Swedish heritage perfectly and there’s no one else like her around today. Well worth checking out.
Nov 15. Vortex.

The Floacist presents Maisha
The jazz festival reaches the outer boroughs of London too – namely South Norwood – for this night of jazz infused Afrobeat and hip hop from some of the hottest young talent around.
Nov 16. Stanley Halls.


Dee Dee Bridgewater
Jazz vocal queen Dee Dee Bridgewater has been performing for more than 40 years. She has a magnetic charisma, which is almost as beguiling as her vocal talents. Young rising sax star Camilla George supports, making this a great evening to see two immense talents at opposite ends of their careers.
Nov 16. Cadogan Hall.

Carminho sings Jobim
Known as one of the dons of fado, here Carminho works through the Antônio Carlos Jobim catalogue to celebrate what would’ve been his ninetieth birthday. His son and grandson Paulo and Daniel Jobim perform in the band. Expect the Brazilian singer and composer’s work brought to life with new levels of emotive intensity.
Nov 17. Barbican.

Jaga Jazzist
Genre-bending, distinctly heavy jazz power outfit Jaga Jazzist burst on to the scene more than 20 years ago and somehow still manage to maintain their knock-your-socks-off fresh sound.
Nov 19. Royal Festival Hall.

The Thing + LUME meets Werkstatt Berne
If you’re into free jazz and hard rock sounds, this is the gig for you. Featuring sax maverick Mats Gustafsson, The Thing bring their distinctive noise and mighty sound to the Rich Mix stage.
Nov 19. Rich Mix.

EFG London Jazz Festival runs Nov 10-19.

Plan your post-fest gigs with our guide to jazz events in London

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