British Sax Legends Courtney Pine and Andy Sheppard top the bill at Liverpool International Jazz Festival 2016Wednesday 2 December 2015
Jazz supremo Courtney Pine, Belgian guitar legend Philip Catherine, Luxembourg vibraphone player Pascal Schumacher and British saxophonist Andy Sheppard are set to make the 2016 Liverpool International Jazz Festival (LIJF) the biggest and best yet.
The festival kicks off on Thursday 25th February at 7.30pm with Pascal Schumacher. Winner of Echo Jazz Instrumentalist of Year in 2012, Schumacher’s flair for improvisation is married to a lucid inventiveness which together creates an original sound as visionary as it is melodic. As a physical performer, he is far-reaching and theatrical without being pretentious, making his performances inclusive and interesting to watch. Tickets £11.50
On Friday 26th February, guitarist Philip Catherine brings his Quartet to the festival (7.30pm). Catherine has been on the forefront of the European jazz scene since the sixties and worked with many of the greats, including Chet Baker, Stéphane Grappelli, Charlie Mingus and Dexter Gordon. Tickets £11.50
Saturday 27th February sees five FREE concerts. At 1pm, LIJF collaborates with Indian Arts organisation Milapfest to present sarod player Sudeshna Bhattacharya with tabla player Koustic Sen, for a concert celebrating Indian music's pervasive force as a potent improvisational form.
Between 3-7pm, Jazz North artists will present free showcase sets in the Capstone foyer. Pan Jumby (3pm) bring a blend of modern calypso, Caribbean rhythms, Rumba and Cha Cha, channelled through the versatile vocabulary of jazz. BBC Introducing artists Cameron Vale play at 4pm: their music combines jazz, rock, afrobeat, electronica, and metal with a ferocious energy. At 5pm, catch the jazz artists of the future with artephis, five musicians from the Royal Northern College of Music who were beneficiaries of the Jazz North Introduces scheme, which offers young jazz musicians high-profile exposure at leading jazz festivals in the north. At 6pm, Graeme Wilson Quartet perform original material which explores unusual meters and structures as vehicles for angular and passionate solos, with narrative melodies resonant enough to evoke a strong sense of place and time.
Courtney Pine makes a welcome return to LIJF as the Saturday night headliner (7.30pm), this time accompanied by piano star Zoe Rahman. 2014 saw Pine touring sell out venues and headlining festivals across the UK, US and Canada with his award winning critically acclaimed 15th studio album House of Legends. Now with his latest project, his 16th studio album to date, he plans to strip everything right back for the most intimate shows of his long and celebrated career as he takes to the stage playing bass clarinet accompanied only by fellow Mercury nominee and MOBO Award winning Pianist, Zoe Rahman. Described in The Observer as “a remarkable pianist by any standard”, Zoe Rahman has firmly established herself as one of the brightest stars on the contemporary jazz scene. A vibrant and highly individual pianist/composer, her style is deeply rooted in jazz yet it reflects her classical background, British/Bengali heritage and her very broad musical taste. Tickets £11.50.
While LIJF prides itself on bringing the best of jazz from around the world to the Capstone Theatre on Shaw Street, this year’s festival has a strong Liverpool flavour with the best of Liverpool’s Jazz scene - Viktor Nordberg Trio, Ginger Tunes Quartet and The Weave - presenting a free showcase concert on Sunday 28th February from 1pm. Each of the bands has been specially selected by LiverpoolJazz and Liverpool International Jazz Festival.
The final day of the festival (Sunday 28th February 7.30pm) sees a performance and free workshop from Andy Sheppard. Andy Sheppard has emerged as one of Britain’s foremost tenor and soprano saxophonists. A successful recording artist, bandleader and composer, he has worked with an astonishing range of musical partners including the three great post-war bandleaders, Carla Bley, George Russell and Gil Evans. He also has a vast range of his own bands and projects, now recording for the legendary label ECM Records. Tickets £11.50.
Before his evening concert, Sheppard will host a free Saxophone Workshop at 5pm in which he will discuss all aspects of playing and practice, inspiring all levels of players from beginners to teachers to seasoned professionals. This is an opportunity to gain some really useful knowledge from one of Europe's leading saxophonists. The workshop is free admission, but please book a space by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not bring your saxophone with you but it may be useful to bring manuscript and a pencil to make some notes.
Neil Campbell, Festival Director said: “Liverpool International Jazz Festival continues to forge an eclectic route through the genre, celebrating creativity at all levels, from locally to internationally. I hope it will bring music lovers of all persuasions to explore what is being presented here, not just Jazz aficionados but curious and open-minded people keen to enjoy new musical experiences. There are also plenty of free performances which we hope will encourage as many people as possible to come along and enjoy the Festival.”