The Glasgow International Jazz Festival was started in 1987, when Glasgow was bidding to become the European City of Culture for 1990 and has gone on to forge a reputation as one of Scotland’s most vibrant music festivals.
This year (it’s 26th) the festival runs from Wed 27th June – Sun 1st July, utilising a range of venues, but focusing on the iconic Old Fruitmarket in the Merchant City.
Jazz comprises of a whole range of styles, from trad and Dixie to contemporary jazz, funk, blues and soul – and the festival has always reflect this mixed bag by offering something for everyone.
If you’ve never been to a jazz gig before, my honest (if admittedly biased!) recommendation would be Brass Jaw (Wed 27th June, City Halls 6pm) – As a member of this band, I can personally assure you of a fun time! Check out a sample of our 2010 show at the Jazz Fest :
You may also enjoy The Ryan Quigley Big Band’s Tribute to The Beatles at the Old Fruitmarket on Saturday 30th June, featuring several star guest singers including Jon Fratelli (of The Fratellis) Here is the band performing with Del Amitri’s Justin Currie playing a version of The Beatles tune “Tomorrow Never Knows”:
The Late Night Jam Sessions are also a well established regular, and though the venue has changed over the years (this year in the Thistle Hotel), the excitement of seeing local musicians alongside international stars jamming into the early hours hasn’t!
This year’s headline act is a living legend. Having come to prominence in the 1960s as a sideman to the great John Coltrane, tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders (the Old Fruitmarket, Wed 27th June, 7.30pm) has gone on to become one of the leading lights of the instrument on the world stage. The Grammy Award winning saxophonist was once described by Ornette Coleman as “Probably the best saxophonist in the world”.
If that doesn’t float your jazz boat, then try another legend. The drumming great, Ginger Baker brings his “Jazz Confusion” to the Old Fruitmarket on Sun 1st July at 8pm . When Ginger Baker played with Cream and Blind Faith, he was described as “Rock’s first superstar drummer”. Now, playing with James Browns’ saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis, bassist Alec Dankworth and percussionist Abass Dodoo, the Jazz Confusion mixes 50s and 60s jazz (Monk, Rollins, Wayne Shorter) with blues and tribal themes. Following a couple of sell-out London gigs, a chance to see one of modern music’s great icons.
“Not bad for the man once voted Least Likely to Survive the Sixties” – Evening Standard
So come along to this year’s jazz festival and join the thousands of people who become jazz converts after experiencing the buzz of the live festival experience!