The Jazzwise Guide to the EFG London Jazz Festival 2021

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Interviews with many of the leading artists appearing at this year's EFG London Jazz Festival, including Archie Shepp, Kathrine Windfeld, Avishai Cohen, Cécile McLorin Salvant and more...

ARCHIE SHEPP INTERVIEW: “FREEDOM IS SOMETHING THAT HAS TO BE CONSTANTLY MONITORED AND WATCHED”

Archie Shepp’s fruitful concert collaborations with pianist Jason Moran are now available for all to enjoy with the release of Let My People Go. Kevin Le Gendre speaks to the sax firebrand about the divisive political times in which the music has been forged...

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Festival appearance: 7:30pm, Friday, 12 November 2021 at the Barbican

Ticket info: efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk


DAVE HOLLAND INTERVIEW: “IT’S THE SPIRIT OF THE MUSIC THAT MATTERS, AND THAT’S BEEN TRUE SINCE MY VERY EARLY DAYS” 

With a new album Another Land, just released to much acclaim, Alyn Shipton caught up with Dave Holland and found him as enthusiastic and as talkative as ever, and raring to get in front of audiences with his new trio...

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Festival appearance: 4pm and 7pm, Sunday, 14 November 2021 at Cadogan Hall

Ticket info: efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk


VIJAY IYER INTERVIEW: “JUST THE SIMPLE FACT OF BEING IS SOME FORM OF RESISTANCE, A FORM OF BATTLE”

A thinker as much as he is an artist, Vijay Iyer marks his fifth decade with a thrilling new trio album, Uneasy, on ECM which also debuts his new trio of bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Tyshawn Sorey. Kevin Le Gendre caught up with the New York-based pianist-composer and found him in reflective, if fiery, form...

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Festival appearance: 7:30pm, Sunday, 14 November 2021 at Queen Elizabeth Hall

Ticket info: efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk


CLEVELAND WATKISS AND DJANGO BATES: THE ART AND CRAFT OF SONG

Two of the most critically acclaimed musicians from these shores, singer Cleveland Watkiss and pianist Django Bates, are about to collaborate, performing a duo concert as part of this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival. Kevin Le Gendre discovers how this meeting came about, and the strands that link these venerable musicians...

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Festival appearance: 7:30pm, Sunday, 14 November 2021 at Kings Place

Ticket info: efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk


KATHRINE WINDFELD: “WE REALLY NEED TO BE CLOSE TO AUDIENCES TO MAKE INTERESTING MUSIC”

A fortuitous break in lockdown allowed pianist-composer Kathrine Windfeld to record her latest (and best) album Orca and despite the brakes being applied yet again, the Dane is determined to be ready once the scene gets going again, as Stuart Nicholson discovers...

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Festival appearance: 6:30pm, Monday, 15 November 2021 at Ronnie Scott's

Ticket info: efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk


SHAI MAESTRO INTERVIEW: "JAZZ IS A FLEXIBLE MUSIC, EVERYTHING'S OPEN TO INTERPRETATION AND CHANGE"

Pianist Shai Maestro was catapulted to international renown in the mid 2000s when fellow Israeli and bass star Avishai Cohen talent-spotted him for his power Trio with Mark Guiliana. He's since forged his own solo path and now releases his striking new album, Human, his second outing for ECM and first with his new Quartet. John Fordham discovers how it reflects Maestro’s ever-deepening artistic vision...

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Festival appearance: 7:30pm, Monday, 15 November 2021 at Cadogan Hall

Ticket info: efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk


AVISHAI COHEN INTERVIEW: “EVERYTHING I’M DOING IS HOPEFULLY LEADING TO THE FUTURE… THE FUTURE IS NOW”

Avishai Cohen’s turbo-charged bass lines and kinetic melodic style have defined the last 20 years of the art of the trio and put the bass on top. Kevin Le Gendre caught up with the high-flying low-ender to find out more...

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Festival appearance: 7:30pm, Tuesday, 16 November 2021 at the Barbican

Ticket info: efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk


NIKKI YEOH: THE NUCLEUS OF IT ALL

Pianist Nikki Yeoh spent six years being mentored and encouraged by the celebrated British trumpeter Ian Carr at his weekly Interchange jazz workshops in Camden. Now widely regarded as one of the UK’s leading jazz musicians, Yeoh continues Carr’s legacy with her own acclaimed Infinitum project – and, as Alyn Shipton discovers, a new work written for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra that’s dedicated to the late great trumpeter...

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Festival appearance: 7:30pm, Tuesday, 16 November 2021 at the Barbican

Ticket info: efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk


CÉCILE MCLORIN SALVANT INTERVIEW: “I’M JUST REALLY FASCINATED WITH VISUAL ART. IT’S SOMETHING THAT I CONNECT WITH ON A REALLY DEEP LEVEL”

Cécile McLorin Salvant exudes a poise and maturity beyond her tender years – wrapping her virtuosity in a worldly-wise wit and wry, sometimes, dark humour. It’s an approach that has seen her win the 2010 Thelonious Monk competition and take home Grammy Awards for 2016’s For One To Love and 2014’s WomanChild albums. Kevin Le Gendre spoke to her about how her painterly passions and the visceral live energy of the hallowed Village Vanguard...

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Festival appearance: 7:30pm, Tuesday, 16 November 2021 at the Barbican

Ticket info: efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk


XHOSA COLE: YOUNG KING COLE

Since winning the 2018 BBC Young Jazz Musician of the year award, saxophonist Xhosa Cole has headlined London’s major-league jazz clubs, picked up further honours and built an impressive set of sideman and session credits – and recorded an acclaimed debut album. Not bad for a 24 year old! Tony Benjamin met him…

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Festival appearance: 7:30pm, Tuesday, 16 November 2021 at the Barbican

Ticket info: efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk


JOANNA DUDA: THE ACCIDENTAL ANARCHIST

Polish jazz pianist, composer and electronics experimentalist Joanna Duda discovered her métier via a random computer malfunction. Now set to play the EFG London Jazz Festival this month with her forward-thinking trio, Jane Cornwell peers into the matrix of Duda’s musical mind to discover more...

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Festival appearance: 8:30pm, Wednesday, 17 November 2021 at Sanctuary Walthamstow

Ticket info: efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk


GEORGIA MANCIO AND KATE WILLIAMS: HOMEWARD BOUND

Pianist and composer Kate Williams talks to Peter Vacher about her group Four Plus Three and the ensemble’s recent collaborations with award-winning vocalist Georgia Mancio, which have resulted in their co-led album, Finding Home...

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Festival appearance: 8:30pm, Friday, 19 November 2021 at Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Club

Ticket info: efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk


CHARLES LLOYD: “THE THING IS I WANT TO SHARE THE MUSIC. I’M STILL ON A MISSION AND IT CAN’T HAPPEN – THIS IS PLAGUE TIME…”

For some artists, the twilight years can be a time to reflect and review a lifetime’s work. But, for saxophonist Charles Lloyd, his 80th birthday in 2018 provided an opportunity to bottle his eight decades into a single staggering live performance that’s just been released as a mind-blowing double album. More than a mere greatest hits collection, 8 shines new light on this celebrated musician’s life’s work. Stuart Nicholson caught up with the tenor titan to find out more about that very special night and about his long life and stellar career...

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Festival appearance: 7:30pm, Saturday, 20 November 2021 at the Barbican

Ticket info: efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk


NÉRIJA INTERVIEW: “IT’S THE FIRST THING I’VE PLAYED ON THAT I’VE NOT WANTED TO SET FIRE TO”

A young London jazz supergroup? Whatever you want to call them, Nérija brings together some of the most talked-about players on the UK scene. They spoke to Thomas Rees about their radiant debut album, Blume, friendship, acceptance and why they’re tired of being defined by their gender...

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Festival appearance: 7:30pm, Saturday, 20 November 2021 at the Barbican

Ticket info: efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk


BRAD MEHLDAU: “PLAYING WRITTEN MUSIC, EVEN MY OWN, IS COMPLETELY NOT IN MY COMFORT ZONE, AND MIGHT NEVER BE”

Formed in the mid-1990s, Brad Mehldau’s acoustic piano trio is among the most influential in jazz today. But the pianist-composer has also been acclaimed for his diversification into classical and rock/electronic-charged projects. He releases arguably his most provocative album to date, Finding Gabriel, where he sheds light on US politics with the aid of Biblical texts. Selwyn Harris speaks to Mehldau about the making of the album, his ongoing spiritual quest and its relation to the socio-political turmoil of our times...

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Festival appearance: 7:30pm, Sunday, 21 November 2021 at the Barbican

Ticket info: efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk


YAZZ AHMED INTERVIEW: "IT'S BEEN A LONG JOURNEY FINDING MY OWN TRUE VOICE”

Yazz Ahmed is not only one of the leading lights of the new generation of UK jazz stars, she is also an important figure in a more global jazz movement – one that looks not just to the USA for its inspiration, but to other countries, indigenous musics and other personal stories. Ahead of a major appearance at November’s EFG London Jazz Festival, Stuart Nicholson spoke to the British-Bahraini trumpeter, flugelhornist and composer...

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Festival appearance: 7:30pm, Sunday, 21 November 2021 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

Ticket info: efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk

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