London Jazz Festival 30th Anniversary Essential Gigs To See

London has a major history of live jazz that goes back at least a century with festivals dating back to the 1970s. Building on that fine jazz heritage, the capital’s biggest annual music event, the EFG London Jazz Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with a fantastic lineup. From 11-20 November big names like Dave Holland and Dianne Reeves and emerging acts including Alabaster DePlume will thrill jazz fans. The festival takes over more than 60 London venues with 300 shows and over 2000 artists from 11-20 November at major venues like Cadogan Hall, the Barbican and the Southbank Centre as well as at numerous jazz clubs and independent venues from Cafe Oto, King’s Place and the 606 Club.

In the past 30 years, the festival has hosted many of the greats, including Wayne Shorter at his first London concert, Sonny Rollins, Charles Lloyd, Stan Tracey, Archie Shepp and younger stars like Cécile McLorin Salvant.

The festival’s wide ranging programming is grouped in various strands: Icons, Homegrown, Beyond Margins, Voices, New Creations, Global Roots and Jazz Visionaries. As well as live concerts, the festival will present classic and rare jazz films like 1960s gems like All Night Long, The Cry of Jazz and American Revolution 2 at the Barbican plus a free screening of Charles Mingus’ big band masterpiece The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady at the Southbank Center.

Must see concerts include two gigs at the Queen Elizabeth Hall: Scandinavian sensation pianist Bugge Wesseltoft and legendary Grammy-award winning jazz singer Dianne Reeves.

Saxophonist Joshua Redman takes the stage at the Barbican and legendary English jazz double bassist Dave Holland will wow audiences at Cadogan Hall. Major British talents saxophonist Jason Yarde at the 606 Club, poet Anthony Joseph at Cafe Oto and multi-instrumentalist Toni Kofi at Spice of Life are all essential.

Always keeping things interesting, the festival will present a new project bringing together innovators of the Turkish psychedelic music scene and British jazz musicians. Air Anatolia is an intergenerational super-group creating a fresh take to the genre through contemporary sounds, arrangements of iconic tunes and familiar folk songs.

Another key event on the first weekend will be African Manifest with Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra, Afla Sackey plus Afrik Bawatu and Falle Nioke at the Clore Ballroom, celebrating the music of West Africa as part of the festival’s wider Global Roots strand, exploring music from the corners of the globe. Another hotly anticipated performance of the opening weekend, is Malian singer-songwriter Fatoumata Diawara at the Royal Festival Hall.

Other highly anticipated gigs include American jazz drummer Makaya MCcraven, whose new album In These Times is one of Pitchfork’s top releases of the year, Cuban jazz pianist Harold López-Nussa and a tribute to American jazz trumpeter Don Cherry.

The EFG London Jazz Festival was created by Serious, one of the UK’s leading producers and curators of live jazz, international and contemporary music. The Festival’s programme of world-class artists and emerging stars, will bring a mixture of jazz, cutting-edge sounds, global music, and an eclectic selection of other genres which take inspiration from jazz and improvisational music. The aims of the 2022 Festival are the same as in the beginning: to celebrate the breadth of jazz, presenting a mix of new work from international and British artists and a commitment to education activity, in a culturally diverse city.

EFG London Jazz Festival, various venues 11-20 November 2022.

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