Established in 1996, Manchester Jazz Festival is back in full swing for just over a week this July, taking over various city-centre venues including Albert Square, complete with a 1920s-style Spiegeltent, and giving various styles a good airing. Here are just some of our picks, to give you a taster...
1. mjf brunch & afternoon tea at the Midland Hotel
Running throughout festival week, you can fuel up with eggs Benedict and Danish pastries for brunch or sandwiches, scones and sweet treats for afternoon tea at the Midland’s special jazz events. Ella Fitzgerald-inspired Lindsay Hannon and guitarist Bradley Johnston of duo Hand To Mouth get things off to a brooding start on Saturday 21 July, with echoes of Stan Getz from Inside Outside on Sunday 22, jazz standards and pop classics on Wednesday 25 courtesy of clarinetist Alex Douglas and Bim Williams, Welsh-tinged jazz on Thursday 26 with Megan Branwen and Tom Ollendorff, classy numbers from Counterpoint’s Helen Pillinger and Carole Williams on Friday 27, and Mark Pringle and Tom Syson rounding things off on Saturday 28 July with keyboards and trumpet from the golden years of jazz.
Sat 21–Sat 28 Jul, Midland Hotel, 16 Peter Street, Manchester, M60 2DS, Tel: 0843 208 1848, brunch (Sat & Sun only): 11.30-1pm, £18, afternoon tea (exc Mon & Tue): 2.30-4pm, £30, manchesterjazz.com
2. Agbeko in Festival Square
mjf 2018 kicks things off in appropriately raucous style with Afro-funk and Ethio-jazz courtesy of the 11-strong Agbeko band incorporating trumpet, trombone, sax and flute, plus dirty guitars, wailing organs and plenty of singing.
Fri 20 Jul, Salon Perdu, Festival Square (Albert Square), Manchester, M2 6LW, Tel: 0843 208 1848, 8pm, £15 adv (£16.50 door), manchesterjazz.com
3. Ashley Henry Trio in Festival Square
One of the UK’s hotly tipped stars, Ashley Henry returns to mjf with his relaxed yet driving piano and keyboard playing, leading this trio also featuring Huntly Gordon on bass and Sam Gardner on drums.
Sat 21 Jul, Salon Perdu, Festival Square (Albert Square), Manchester, M2 6LW, Tel: 0843 208 1848, 5pm, £8 adv (£9.50 door), manchesterjazz.com
4. Mali Hayes at Night and Day
Mancunian singer-songwriter Mali Hayes was a big hit last year and she’s back to add her soulful and deceptively simple vocals to her band’s keys, bass and drums. Support comes from Bristol’s We Are Leif, with neo-soul, R&B and a nod to Massive Attack.
Tue 24 Jul, Night & Day, 26 Oldham Street, Manchester, M1 1JN, Tel: 0161 236 1822, 5pm, £8 adv (£9.50 door), manchesterjazz.com
5. Yazz Ahmed at Festival Square
British-Bahraini soloist and composer Yazz explores contemporary jazz via free-flowing and conversational improvisations through electronics, sound design, live looping and sampling, including collaboration with the likes of Jason Singh.
Wed 25 Jul, Salon Perdu, Festival Square (Albert Square), Manchester, M2 6LW, Tel: 0843 208 1848, 8pm, £12 adv (£13.50 door), manchesterjazz.com
Fri 20–Sat 28 Jul, Manchester Jazz Festival, Festival Square (Albert Square), Manchester, M2 6LW, Tel: 0843 208 1848, venues, times and prices vary, manchesterjazz.com