Set to add some sparkle to the silver city the Aberdeen Jazz Festival is back from March 21 to 31, with some cool jazz and some hot and starry names. Raising the curtain on a brimming schedule of concerts, we’re presenting over 70 bands from as far as Louisiana and as near as Dyce performing at free and ticketed events over eleven days in a host of venues old and new.
Thanks to the support of major sponsors Aberdeen Inspired and funding from Aberdeen City Council and Creative Scotland, the 2018 Festival increased its audience by 20% and in 2019 we are targeting a similar increase.
The Festival covers a range of jazz styles from updated traditional jazz from the all-female Red Hot Rhythm Makers, through The Story of Swing, to a grand homage to Ray Charles and a reprise of Miles Davis’ classic album Birth of The Cool and right up to date with one of London’s new jazz faces Camilla George. It will also showcase the Aberdeen debut of a new Octet from Martin Kershaw, a new band from Paul Towndrow whilst the award winning Laura Jurd plays her first gig with the shooting star of Scottish Jazz, Fergus McCreadie.
The festival also launches the first ever Aberdeen Blues Weekend which features performances from the Queen of Scottish Blues Maggie Bell, ex-Whitesnake stellar guitarist Bernie Marsden and direct from Louisiana, Kenny Neal. Attendees can also savour a triple-header featuring Del Amitri guitarist Kris Dollimore, the exciting vocals of Nicole Smit and Aberdeen’s own Gerry Jablonski.
To top off a thrilling programme, Jazz on the Green is back on Sunday, March 24 after a show-stopping year in 2018. Thanks to the support of Aberdeen Inspired, Aberdeen’s City Centre will once again be ignited in a celebration of jazz, blues, funk, soul, R&B, swing, bop, vocals and big band, with free admission for all. Aberdeen Arts Centre hosts an afterparty with Back Chat Brass.
The festival is reaching new venues from pop-up performances in Union Square and Bon Accord, whilst singer, Mary May tours in Aberdeenshire to venues in Portsoy and Stonehaven, before playing in Aberdeen during the West End Jazz Trail. The trail adds the Shack and 21 Crimes in Vovem to the 2018 venues McGinty’s, Park Inn, Soul, and Glentanar Wee Bar. Whilst the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra play at Queen’s Cross Church, 'La La Land' is at Belmont Filmhouse. Carmelite, Bistro Verdi and Molly’s join forces to present a Dinner Safari which offers one course in each venue with a different musical act.
The Aberdeen Youth Jazz Celebration culminates with two performances during the Festival showcasing new commissions and working with special guests. The Festival stars a host of Aberdeen based jazz musicians including Cindy Douglas paying tribute to Nat King Cole, Melodie Fraser, Silver City and Full Fat, Funk Connection, Hamlet and Colin Black. The Festival pays special tribute to Marisha Addison who celebrates 50 years in the music business.
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired said: “Aberdeen Inspired is proud to support the Aberdeen Jazz Festival, which is a highlight of the year for many, both locally and nationally. As well as increasing footfall, the impact of events to local businesses and the wider city centre is hugely beneficial and a diverse cultural offering is an essential part of this.
“We are committed to bringing exciting and ambitious festivals to the city, and also to supporting those we feel make a positive and transformational difference to Aberdeen. Larger events like the Aberdeen Jazz Festival undoubtedly contribute to bringing a positive economic impact to the area and we would encourage residents and visitors alike to come along and enjoy the eclectic range of talent being showcased throughout the event.”
"The jazz tradition in Scotland is iconic and known worldwide. Today’s vibrant scene is constantly evolving and growing and our Festival continues to nurture and support both – the tradition and the future," said Neil Gibbons, Chair of the Aberdeen Jazz Festival, “we hope the Festival transcends the music itself and gets people downtown with a unique and unforgettable Festival experience."