Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival
July 31-August 9, 2009
The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival is a popular annual event. Running from July 31 to August 9, the 2009 version draws tens of thousands of jazz and blues fans from the UK, Europe and the USA, thanks to its proven track record and generous roster of star attractions (Roy Hargrove, Dick Hyman, Barbara Morrison, Joe Temperly, among many others). It also helps that the Festival takes place in a slew of midtown venues, the most simpatico of which are the Radisson SAS Hotel (on the Royal Mile) and The Jazz Bar (Chambers Street). The latter, by the way, was recently voted venue of the year by Scotland's National Jazz Club.
The Fest kicked off with a Mardi Gras parade on July 31, followed by a Jazz on a Summer's Day
free concert in the Princes St. Garden. To honor Scotland's Homecoming Year, lots of homegrown musicians and singers are featured this August, entertainers such as Maggie Bell, Jack Bruce, Phil Bancroft and Tam White. Performers from Copenhagen, Paris and Oslo will also be heard from.
Among the special attractions are The Edinburgh Jazz Festival Orchestra (led by Temperly) and a Chet Baker Memorial led by Enrico Pieranunzi, who played with Baker in Italy. There will also be a screening of Bruce Weber's 1988 documentary about Baker's life, Let's Get Lost. For details visit the Festival site (below).
Edinburgh in August will also play host to the largest arts event in the worldThe Festival Fringe (August 7-31). Mostly known for its theater and performance art offerings, the Fringe should not be overlooked by jazz and blues fans. This year alone, some 39 groups will strut their stuff at the fest, not only at night but all through the day.
Working out of a variety of venues, both large and small, will be bands and singers from every corner of the earth. From Africa, for example, such groups as African Children's Choir; Adriano Adewale: Sound Journey; Samba Sene and Diwan (Senegalese Soul; and A Town Called Addis (Ethiopian Fusion) will make themselves heard in inimitable fashion. Other countries sending top groups to Edinburgh include Brazil (Bossa 3 Group); Greece (Marika Klambatseta, cloning Billie Holiday & Janis Joplin!); Spain (Ricardo Garcia's Flamenco Jazz); and Australia (Melissa Western).
From closer to homeEngland, Scotland and the USAsuch more-familiar names as Barbara Morrison, Liz Dicks (doing Bessie Smith), two Blues Brothers bands; The Jive Aces and the Kerry Hodgkin Jazz Band will be represented. Also on the list are John Alexander (Dustman Blues With a Glasgow Kick); Jazz A Cappella; the Dana Dixon Blues Band; guitarist Darren Dotson-Bromley; the Cambridge University Big Band; and Dana Gillespie, the 2007 Fringe award-winning, boogie-woogie-playing "Diva of Risque Blues."
In 2007, the Fringe sold a record number of tickets1,697,293, to be exact. The 2009 totals are expected to equal that number. For tix & complete information, call 0131-226-0000 or visit edfringe.com or drop by the Fringe ticket office at 180 High St., 10 A.M.-9 P.M.