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Manchester Jazz Festival

The annual celebration of contemporary jazz is back for ten days of great music
Manchester Jazz Festival

Each July, Manchester hosts ten days of the best in contemporary jazz, with around 80 performances taking place in some of the best live music venues in the city as well as some surprising spaces. Many of the events are free and happen throughout the day, and long into the night as well, with the main hub centered around Albert Square. 

Here's a selection of highlights from this year's festival.

Highlights from MJF15

Emile Holba
Emile Holba

John Surman and Strings

One of Europe’s most acclaimed musicians making mjf’s debut in the magnificent setting of the reading room of the Central Library.

Central Library, Monday 3 August, 8pm, £22

An Ape’s Progress

‘The fantastic Englishman’, saxophonist and composer, Iain Ballamy joins forces with poet Matthew Sweeney and renowned illustrator, filmmaker, comic book artist Dave McKean on this new work to celebrate the 20th manchester jazz festival and the 10th Manchester Literature Festival. Based on Hogarth’s ‘A Rake’s Progress’. The story unfolds of ‘The Old Monkey’ who leaves the circus in China for a new life in Manchester and tells of the characters he meets and places he visits. An immigrant’s story in Manchester told in poetry, song, music and imagery.

RNCM, Thursday 6 August, 8pm, £17


Irwin Mitchell mjf originals 2015 Evolution: Seeds and Streams

Pianist, singer and composer, John Ellis and renowned Manchester-based moving image artist Antony Barkworth-Knight create a brand new audio-visual work. Antony has created a number of teaser trailers in anticipation of the performance which can be seen on the MJF website.

The Great Hall, Manchester Town Hall, Friday 7 August, 10pm, £10

Robert Glasper Trio

Grammy-winning Blue Note artist. His collaborations with hip hop and R ‘n’ B stars ranging from Emeli Sande to Snoop Dogg have set a new benchmark for jazz in the 21st century.

RNCM, Saturday 8 August, 8pm, £20


Riot Jazz Brass Band + Baked à la Ska

A last night party double bill. Expect a few special tributes to Ol’ Blue Eyes – or Skanatras – in this his centenary year from Baked à la Ska. They're followed by Riot Jazz catapulting the spirit of New Orleans into the 21st century via Manchester. A riotous, noisy, raucous send-off.

Thwaites Festival Pavilion, Saturday 8 August, 8pm, £17

Airelle Besson Quartet

Bringing mjf to a close, Besson is French jazz musician of the year and a rising superstar on the French music scene.  

Thwaites Festival Pavilion, Sunday 9 August, 4.30pm, £4

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