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21 shows to see at EFG London Jazz Festival

By Roseanne Hanley

We distil the best of the 2,000 artists and 350 shows still on sale that make up this annual jazz-a-palooza...

1. Let Soweto Kinch take you back to 1919
The incredible UK jazz wizard debuts his new project, ‘The Black Peril’, which revisits a time of monumental social change.
EartH. Nov 22.

2. Celebrate 100 years of the Bauhaus
Created around the Bau.Haus.Klang project, this event sees musicians Michael Wollny, Émile Parisien, Leafcutter John and others mark the centenary of the Bauhaus.
Barbican. Nov 24.

3. Go to a mini-festival within a festival
The Royal Docks area in Newham hosts a weekend of jazz gigs, workshops, and installations that includes a trail of free shows.
Various Newham venues. Nov 23-24.

4. Discover if your toddler can jam
Jazz for Toddlers is one of the festival’s annual highlights. This year Juliet Kelly and Tony Kofi will lead kids aged two to five through an introduction to the wonderful world of jazz.
Various venues. Fri Nov 15-Nov 24.

5. Hear the best of vocal jazz
The festival kicks off with its usual celebratory Jazz Voice event. This year’s line-up includes Corinne Bailey Rae, Jalen N’Gonda and Cherise Adams-Burnett.
Royal Festival Hall. Fri Nov 15.

6. Catch a true jazz chanteuse
Sublime vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant performs from her latest album ‘The Window’ with pianist Sullivan Fortner. The evening opens with support from The McCormack & Yarde Duo.
Barbican. Sat Nov 16.

7. Watch a rock singer take on jazz
Chrissie Hynde shows off the latest string to her bow by performing from her newly released jazz album ‘Valve Bone Woe’, which features reworkings of songs by the likes of Charles Mingus and Frank Sinatra.
Royal Festival Hall. Nov 24.

8. Check out one of London’s hottest jazz artists
Saxophonist and innovator Binker Golding leads his quartet through original compositions that explore harmony and experimentation.à Ninety One Living Room. Sat Nov 16.

9. Learn about the ‘Jazz Penguin’
A children’s show that includes all kinds of quirky musical animal characters, presented by Goblin theatre company.
Crazy Coqs Live at Zédel. Sat Nov 16.

10. Find out what it’s like to record for legendary European jazz label ECM
Joe Lovano and Julia Hülsmann talk to Jane Cornwell about their experiences recording for the properly iconic, free-thinking ECM label – kickstarting a day celebrating 50 years of the label.
Purcell Room. Sun Nov 17.

11. Enjoy Steam Down, the coolest crew in town
What began in 2017 as a weekly residency for a bunch of players in Deptford has grown into one of the most trendy nights out in London, thanks to this award-winning, sweat-enducing ensemble.
Compressor House. Nov 23.

12. Honour the music of Horace Silver
Cape Verdean singer-songwriter Carmen Souza (below) celebrates the life and music of the seminal pianist, loved for ‘Moanin’, ‘Song of My Father’ and more. Pizza Express Jazz Club. Sun Nov 17.

13. Direct a jazz performance
Jason Yarde and his large ensemble Acoutastic Bombastic invite the audience to select what’s played and by whom.
Cockpit. Mon Nov 18.

14. See how your beatboxing skills match up to a world champion’s
Warm up your larynx before you take part in a free two-hour beatboxing and improvisation workshop with Londoner and world champion vocal artist Bellatrix.
Royal Festival Hall, White Room. Nov 23.

15. Go to Get the Blessing’s 20th birthday!
Comprised of Portishead rhythm section Clive Deamer and Jim Barr, as well as saxophonist Jake McMurchie and Pete Judge on trumpet) enjoy GTB marking their 20-year milestone.
Moth Club. Nov 23.

16. Be part of a live podcast recording
Huw V Williams brings his podcast, Improvised Music Agenda, to the festival for two nights of conversation with musical interludes.
Vortex. Mon Nov 18, Nov 24.

17. See the European premiere of Danilo Pérez’s new work
Wayne Shorter Quartet pianist Danilo Pérez debuts his new project, Global Messengers, which was co-commissioned by the festival.
Queen Elizabeth Hall. Nov 22.

18. Catch a jazzy movie
New feature film ‘Bolden’ is a biopic of cornet player Buddy Bolden (sometimes called the Father of Jazz), with a soundtrack by Wynton Marsalis. Barbican. Sun Nov 17.

19. Delve into a classic album with Terri Lyne Carrington
Jazz drum legend and festival artist in residence Terri Lyne Carrington joins ‘Classic Album Sundays’ founder Colleen Murphy to explore Nina Simone’s ‘Black Gold’.
Kings Place. Sun Nov 17.

20. Bask in the presence of influential saxophonist and composer Gary Bartz
Sideman to Charles Mingus, Miles Davis and Art Blakey to name a few, Gary Bartz is an iconic figure in the world of jazz. Hear him play backed by the band Maisha and Mobo-winning vocalist Zara McFarlane.
Royal Festival Hall. Sat Nov 16.

21. ...and, finally, pay your respects
Breaking the Silence is a free concert that sees young musicians, led by Orphy Robinson, Jenny Adejayan and Ineza Kerschkamp, performing new compositions based on forgotten stories of the First World War.
Royal Festival Hall, Clore Ballroom. Nov 23.

Check out our guide to the best jazz bars and clubs in London here.

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