Festival revs up for energetic jazz celebration

Dundee Jazz Festival celebrates its fortieth year with a programme running from 2nd to 6th November

About - Dundee Jazz Festival

Festival revs up for energetic jazz celebration

Dundee Jazz Festival celebrates its fortieth year with a programme running from 2nd to 6th November that celebrates the youthfulness of the current jazz scene while marking the festival’s longevity and continuity.

A star performer from the event’s infancy in 1984, Glasgow-born, internationally renowned guitar legend Jim Mullen returns to the city, bringing his vital, bluesy style to local saxophonist Gordon McNeil’s grooving band.

Another early festival guest, the godfather of rap, Gil Scott-Heron’s distinctive songwriting and social commentary are honoured in one show and in another, Dundee’s own world travelling early jazz and blues specialist, Ali Affleck makes her re-appearance while coincidentally introducing one of the new stars of the music, Argentinian Lucas Ferrari.

“A key feature of the festival this year is the big stage of the Gardyne Theatre being filled with large ensembles full of colour and vitality,” says the festival’s new director, Coralie Usmani, of Jazz Scotland. “We’re really excited to present two bands playing the music of the big band era, with dancers in attendance, and the Vintage Girls’ Orchestral Spectacular, featuring wonderful close harmony singing with string and horn sections adding to the power and pizzazz.”

The festival is also notable for the youth of the musicians involved, with the Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra featuring players whose skills and passion belie their tender years. Representing Glasgow’s widely acknowledged young jazz powerhouse, singer kitti displays her award-winning style and the critically acclaimed Glasgow-based Shetlander, saxophonist Norman Willmore brings his distinctive, traditional music-influenced group to the Hunter S Thompson stage.

“We’re keen to emphasise that jazz is a very broad umbrella that encompasses many different styles,” says Coralie Usmani. “Alongside the early jazz and big band eras, we’re presenting blues, funk, soul, a bit of a classical touch with a string orchestra rendition of George Gershwin’s classic Rhapsody in Blue performed by pianist Brian Kellock with strings by Seonaid Aitken. We also have a play inspired by the iconic Nina Simone and a UK exclusive with the fabulously exciting Huntertones - one of the most vibrant and exhilarating bands on the New York jazz scene.”

Dundee Jazz Festival runs in various venues from 2nd to 6th November and is promoted by Jazz Scotland