Jazz Festival Returns

Iain Bellamy
THE Liverpool International Jazz Festival will celebrate its fifth year in the city with a mix of international headliners, free shows and workshops at the Capstone Theatre on Shaw Street. The 2017 festival opens on Thursday 23rd February at 7pm, with a set from MOBO award-winners Sons of Kemet. Kinetic, earth-shaking and always electrifying, Sons of Kemet features four of the UK jazz scene’s brightest stars. Led by saxophonist, clarinettist, composer and ‘BBC New Generation Artist’ Shabaka Hutchings, the group includes Theon Cross and both Seb Rochford (Polar Bear, Babyshambles) and Tom Skinner (Melt Yourself Down, Mulatu Astatke) on drums. They will be supported by a set from Liverpool’s Blind Monk Trio. Admission is £11.50. Manchester-based quartet Mammal Hands play on Friday 24th February at 7pm. Signed to Matthew Halsall’s Gondwana Records, Mammal Hands has carved out a growing following both in the UK and abroad for their hypnotic fusion of jazz, folk and electronica, appealing to fans from Bonobo and Gilles Peterson to Jamie Cullum. Support will be from Wandering Monster, winners of Jazz North’s Introducing scheme. Admission is £11.50. There will also be a range of free sets from North West artists on Saturday 25th February between 1.00pm-6.00pm. Acts include Maya Jazz, Firebird Quartet, Pat McCarthy Quartet ft. Shannon Reilly and Johnny Hunter Quartet. The David Helbock Trio play on Saturday 25th February at 7pm. Creative, open, hip and unique, Austrian piano wizard David Helbock studied classical piano at the Feldkirch Conservatory, Austria with Prof. Ferenc Bognar and later became a private student of the New York jazz pianist Peter Madsen. With various musical projects, like The David Helbock Trio, David Helbock’s Random/Control and as a solo artist, he has toured all over the planet. This concert will be supported by the locally based Norwegian drummer Viktor Nordberg and his trio. Admission is £11.50 On the final day of the festival (Sunday 26th February), saxophonist/composer Iain Ballamy will deliver a free saxophone workshop (11am). Iain Ballamy has been a major contributor to improvised music in Britain for three decades since leading his own quartet at Ronnie Scott’s in 1984 aged 20. He was a co-founder of Loose Tubes, the innovative large ensemble, and has recently performed saxophone concertos as a soloist with the BBC Philharmonic and concert orchestras. At 1pm on Sunday 26th February, Iain Ballamy, along with pianist Huw Warren will perform a programme spanning centuries and continents ranging from classical works by Dowland, Chopin and Butterworth through to early and rare English folk songs, re-workings of classic Jazz standards, Brazilian masterpieces and their own contemporary original works. Admission is £11.50. The Festival concludes on Sunday 26th February at 7.30pm with a concert by The Neil Cowley Trio. Cowley has become the go-to pianist, lending his golden touch to many chart smashing hits including contributions to Adele’s global chart toppers, 19 and 21. He has also toured and recorded with bands such as Brand New Heavies and Zero 7. He formed The Neil Cowley Trio in 2005 and has produced six critically acclaimed albums, most recently Spacebound Apes in 2016. Admission is £11.50. This year’s Liverpool International Jazz Festival is supported by LiverpoolJazz, Milapfest, Curley Woodwind, D’Addario Woodwinds and Jazz North. Neil Campbell, Festival Director, said: “Five years in, and the Liverpool International Jazz Festival is established as one of the go-to jazz events in the UK. The calibre of artists we attract remains high year on year, and we also give audiences the chance to hear emerging new jazz talent. Our free performances are a great way for people to try jazz for the first time, while our workshops allow jazz lovers to really make the festival their own and come away with a deeper love for jazz and its associated genres.” For more detailed information, box office links and ongoing updates about LIJF visit http://www.thecapstonetheatre.com/jazzfestival/