Celebrating its 17th year, it is unlike any other event on the jazz festival circuit. Seventy events, more than half of them free, will take place across six central Manchester music venues, offering a fascinating journey of discovery through the world of jazz today. This year’s event features nine days of contemporary jazz from the North West, the UK and abroad with national premieres of original work and international debuts.
The festival launches on 13 July and continues until 21 July.
Celebrating its 17thyear, it is unlike any other event on the jazz festival circuit. Seventy events, more than half of them free, will take place across six central Manchester music venues, offering a fascinating journey of discovery through the world of jazz today. This year’s event features nine days of contemporary jazz from the North West, the UK and abroad with national premieres of original work and international debuts.
Manchester Jazz Festival is one of our national portfolio organisations and has been supported to develop mjf into one of the pillars of the city’s cultural calendar. Over the years, many contemporary jazz artists have been given an opportunity to showcase their work and the festival has been able to create the mjf introduces strand which gives young musicians a stage to present their musical talent and develop their career.
Within the wide-ranging performance programme, mjf runs a unique commissioning scheme – mjf originals – which encourages musician-composers to experiment with new ideas. In addition to this, through working with cultural embassies in Manchester, mjf brings some of the hottest new international artists to the city, some for their first UK appearance.
In 2011 over 37,000 people experienced mjf proving that, although it is a festival for the people of Manchester, it is also a big cultural draw for those outside the city.
Some of the highlights of this year’s programme include Manchester’s Pocket Central, the energetic avant garde piano trio A Greater Horror and The Bugalu Foundation who are all appearing over the opening weekend.
Chris Bye, Relationship Manager Music, Arts Council England said: ‘Arts Council England has supported mjf for nearly 15 years which highlights our commitment to jazz in the region. It has been wonderful to see the festival grow and evolve into one of the highlights of the city’s cultural calendar. The rich diversity of styles included in the programme demonstrates the range of the genre as well as the wealth of talent that’s out there. The sheer size of audiences year-on-year is testament to the enthusiasm for jazz, which is becoming increasingly evident even among those who would never have expected to appreciate the genre. The achievements of the mjf team should be commended and the Arts Council is proud to support this nationally recognised event.’
Steve Mead, Artistic Director, Manchester Jazz Festival commented: ‘Thanks to our recent increase in investment from the Arts Council, this year’s festival programme once again demonstrates our core mission to bring the best and newest contemporary jazz to Manchester, condensed into a thrilling nine days. mjf means many things to many people: it’s a creative hub of new work, a platform for undiscovered talent, the culmination of genuine collaborations, or a chance to share new discoveries. I’m thrilled with the variety of this year’s programme and I guarantee it will surprise, enthrall and entertain our listeners too. With up to 10 separate concerts and events each day, above all it’s the ideal place to experience great new music.’
Across the festival venues, this year’s mjf highlights how contemporary jazz is influenced by a range of genres including folk, electronic, reggae, rock, classical, Irish, African and South American music (amongst many others). At the RNCM a 20 piece band join British jazz legend Stan Sulzmann with musical arrangements of some of his favourite musicians – a genuine big band experience with players young and old, new and established on 17 July.
The Band on the Wall programme includes Mercury prize nominee Zoe Rahman, with music from her current Kindred Spirits on 18 July, and at Matt & Phred’s Jazz Club Manchester guitarist Stuart McCallum joins forces with celebrated vocalist Ríoghnach Connolly.
A great celebration of Manchester’s native music scene, mjf also hand picks some of the hottest new international artists to debut in the UK. Presented in collaboration with Instituto Cervantes, Mastretta (14 July) bring a theatrical and fiery tone and Kind of Cai (19 July) bring an Andalusian colouring to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue.
This year, the mjf originals scheme presents two premieres of original works: George King’s Songs of the Caged Bird which is a collaboration with Manchester Camerata, and Pete Moser’s Sound Games, in collaboration with More Music, which is an unusual take on the Olympic frenzy about to grip the nation – inspired directly by sporting activity. mjf off stage is new this year with a series of events giving insights into music-making or offering the chance to take part.
Manchester Jazz Festival 2012 takes place from 13-21 July at venues across Manchester. The full programme of events is available to download from their website.