Manchester Jazz Festival

Been looking at the Jazz Festival website to see what Jazz can be enjoyed this weekend. Graboschi is coming down 17th – 20th, (correction, WunderKind has bailed out like the backpedalling German he is, and we can enjoy the jazz without having to pretend we like him) and the rest of the MBS gang can make a weekend of it. A lot of it is nice and mostly free. So here’s a list of what we can look forward to:


+ Festival Launch Party at The Deaf Institute
Starts: 8:00pm Price: £6 (adv.)/£8 on the door

Celebrate the opening of this year’s festival in conjunction with Freedom Principle and Sketch City with a feast for the ears. This selection of Mancunian urban jazz and DJs features loopy grooves from Cinematic Orchestra guitarist Stuart McCallum with guest flautist Finn Peters and vocalist Heidi Vogel; the up-and-coming, intense and energetic Chris Illingworth Trio; and experimental grooves from the 14-piece electronics-big band fusions of BPBB. Jazz, funk and world beats from DJs Ryan Hunn and Jonny Dub (Sketch City/Hoya:Hoya) top and tail the night.

Stuart McCallum
Chris Illingworth Trio
Beats & Pieces Big Band
DJs Ryan Hunn + Jonny Dub


+ Bossa Nouvelle at St. Ann’s Square
Starts: 12:00pm Price: free

Marking the 50th anniversary of the Bossa Nova, this specially-expanded line-up brings the sounds of Brazilian standards via Manchester, heralding a fresh, summery opening to this year’s St Ann’s stage gigs.

Suzanne Higgins – flute, tenor saxophone
Mike Davis – trumpet, flugelhorn
Andy Schofield – clarinet, alto saxophone
Jo McCallum – alto saxophone, bass clarinet
Alan Tokeley – French horn
Mike Walker – guitar
Les Chisnall – electric piano
Jake Newman – double bass, bass guitar
Steve Gilbert – drums
Bryan Hargreaves – percussion

+ John Ellis Band at St. Ann’s Square
Starts: 1:45pm Price: free

Sounds from West Africa and British folk music fuse with the jazz backgrounds of the players in the band, bringing new sounds and grooves to the party.

John Ellis – keyboards, vocals
Kenji Fenton – tenor saxophone, steel pans
Frank Grime – double bass
Rick Weedon – drums

+ 12twelve at St. Ann’s Square
Starts: 3:30pm Price: free

A refreshing, lively quartet from Barcelona influenced by the ‘free jazz’ of the late 1960s and early 1970s, combining features of contemporary music, psychedelia and electronic music. Their music displays both the restlessness and breadth of vision in the current Spanish independent music scene.

This performance is made possible with the generous support of Instituto Cervantes, Manchester.

Jens Neumaier – alto saxophone
Jaime Pantaleón – guitar
Javier García – double bass
José Roselló – drums, percussion, samples

+ Lunnetta Dean at City Inn Manchester
Starts: 5:30pm Price: free

Favourite Mancunian diva returns to mjf to set feet a-tapping, faces a-smiling and spines a-tingling – songs special to Doreen delivered with her warm, captivating and laid-back sensibility.

Doreen Edwards – vocals
George King – electric piano
Dave Tompkins – double bass


+ ‘Jazz – Manhattan to Manchester’: Photographs by William Ellis at The Bridgewater Hall
Starts: 12:55pm Price: free

William Ellis is recognised as one of the world’s leading jazz photographers. On view will be the largest presentation of jazz photography seen in the UK – over three hundred images from the Ellis archive will be projected and fifty photographs will be exhibited. On show until 3pm, Tuesday 22 July.

Presented by Gallery at The Cinnamon Club

+ Gareth Roberts Quintet at The Bridgewater Hall
Starts: 1:00pm Price: free

Based in Cardiff, this youthful band captures the driving energy of Charles Mingus and Horace Silver, fusing it with original compositions and elements of Welsh folksong.

Presented with the generous support of Jazz Services

Gareth Roberts – trombone
Gethin Liddington – trumpet
Paul Jones – piano
Chris O’Connor – double bass
Mark O’Connor – drums

+ Alcyona Mick Quintet at The Bridgewater Hall
Starts: 2:15pm Price: free

A graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire, Alcyona’s playing and compositions amalgamate angular melodic lines and strong, block harmonies that reference both Lennie Tristano and Steve Reich; the resultant band sound is energetic and punchy.

Presented with the generous support of Jazz Services

Alcyona Mick – piano
Robbie Robson – trumpet
Mark Hanslip – tenor saxophone
Steve Watts – double bass
Paul Clarvis – drums

+ Free Spirits at The Bridgewater Hall
Starts: 3:30pm Price: free

Hailing from the North East, this exploratory ensemble brings together four virtuoso musicians from the world of jazz, rock, folk and classical Indian music to explore and expand the boundaries of Eastern and Western musical cultures. Spacious and evocative music that builds in momentum.

Presented with the generous support of Jazz Services

Lewis Watson – soprano and tenor saxophone
Dharambir Singh – sitar
Neil Harland – double bass, bass guitar
Bhupinder Singh Chaggar – tabla, electric percussion

+ Festival Jam Session at Matt & Phred’s Jazz Club
Starts: 9:00pm Price: free

All jazz musicians are welcome to bring their assorted horns, axes and Hobson’s choices to join in the fun. Saxophonist Ed Kainyek leads tonight’s house band.

Presented in association with Matt & Phred’s