While live gigs with audiences are unable to take place at the moment due to the second coronavirus lockdown, Cambridge Jazz Festival has unveiled this year’s digital line-up.
One of the most popular cultural events in the Cambridge calendar, the jazz festival is set to go ahead with a series of mostly free online events between Wednesday, November 18 and Sunday, November 29.
The organisers have embraced the virtual world this year and are set to present a number of digital events, which can be watched anywhere in the world.
The programme includes a mix of blues, soul, funk, rock and traditional jazz concerts, live painting from artist-in-residence Gina Southgate, workshops, interviews, talks, live Q&As and film documentaries that will appeal to anyone who loves music.
Like many arts, music, and cultural organisations, it has been a rollercoaster year for the festival – now in its sixth year.
From musicians, sound engineers, promoters, festivals and venues, the challenges the music industry faces are exceptional.
Nevertheless, organisers of the festival were totally committed to ensuring that it went ahead in some form.
They have embraced the virtual world and are set to present a focussed number of digital events.
Speaking ahead of opening night, festival director Roslin Russell said: “Even if people think jazz isn’t for them, I encourage them to have a listen online to this year’s offering with an open mind and a willingness to listen to something new.
“People might be very pleasantly surprised and find their feet are tapping before they know it!
“They may also like to get involved in one of the fantastic vocal or instrumental workshops.”
Highlights include the return of Ian Shaw on the opening night of the festival – Wednesday, November 18, from 8pm to 9.30pm.
Multi-award winner as best jazz vocalist – at the BBC Jazz Awards 2007 and 2004 and Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2018, alongside nominations from the Jazz FM Awards 2013 and Downbeat Magazine 2017 – Ian Shaw has amassed a number of highly acclaimed internationally released albums.
He is a popular performer both in the UK and the US, and has been cited as one of the world’s finest male jazz vocalists.
Further highlights include progressive jazz-rock legends Soft Machine, festival favourites The Brass Funkeys with their infectious, thumping energy, and critically acclaimed vocalist, violinist, pianist and composer, the genre-busting Alice Zawadzki Band with Amica String Quartet.
The line-up also includes the Rob Luft Quintet, also with Amica String Quartet, bringing a fusion of west African high-life, English folk, indie rock and various strands of contemporary jazz.
Psychedelic soulsters Native Dancer will also feature in the online streams with a pre-recorded concert live at the Cambridge Junction.
For all budding Ellas or Nats, the workshops and the live Q&As provide a fantastic opportunity for everyone to get involved and participate from the comfort of their home anywhere in the world.
In particular, the Andi Hopgood choir workshop is open to everyone of all ages and abilities.
There will also be a jazz improvisation masterclass from great saxophonist and composer Tim Garland streaming on Sunday, November 29.
As always, Cambridge Jazz Festival has endeavoured to bring something fresh and new to the jazz scene as well as some established favourites.
This year’s programme offers a fantastic range of local, national and international artists, all bringing a potent mix of high-energy performances to get the party started or more chilled sounds to kick back in the comfort of home after a long day at work.
Most of the events this year are free. However, organisers ask that people consider donating a small amount so that the festival can return bigger and bolder next year.
The Cambridge Jazz Festival is supported by the Arts Council England.
The full programme can be viewed at https://www.cambridgejazzfestival.info/events