Van Morrison, Jools Holland with special guest Mel C, Bill Wyman and a Mandela Day Concert confirmed for the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, 2014.
The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, which will take place Friday 18th to Sunday 27th July, will release tickets for four headline acts today at noon.
The full programme will be launched in May, set to include a host of exciting Festival firsts and one-off specials that will delight enthusiasts and entice new audiences.
The four acts whose tickets are released today will all perform at the Festival Theatre.
Tickets are available from 12pm online at www.edinburghjazzfestival.com and via Festival Theatre on 0131 529 6000 or in person.
The Festival’s opening day, July 18th, is recognised worldwide as Mandela Day and has a special resonance this year. The Festival presents three of South Africa’s greatest musical acts:
Revered pianist, Abdullah Ibrahim, opens the show. In the late 50s and early 60s, his group made the first South African jazz record and, for many years in exile, he was a torchbearer for South African music. He played at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration, and now in the year he celebrates his 80th birthday, he will headline at Carnegie Hall in New York and The Royal Festival Hall in London. Following up are Freshlyground, the high-energy band whose official song of the World Cup in 2010 underlined their status as the musical voice of a nation’s adolescent democracy; and closing the show are the legendary Mahotella Queens who have been South Africa’s most popular singing group for 50 years. They have played all the major world stages and were featured in London’s Hyde Park for the Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations in 2012. On Sunday 20th July at 7.30pm the undisputed king of boogie-woogie, swing, and R’n’B, Jools Holland is back with his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra and an all-star line-up including long time vocal partners Ruby Turner and Louise Marshall, and this year a much-anticipated guest performance by Spice Girl, Melanie C.
Legendary singer-songwriter Van Morrison will light up the stage on Tuesday 22nd July ay 8pm. Morrison grew up listening to artists such as Ray Charles and Solomon Burke, as well as Woody Guthrie, Muddy Waters and Charlie Parker, courtesy of his father’s record collection. These artists made a real impact on his work, and much of his music has been influenced by the Celtic tradition and jazz as well as soul music and R’n’B. He’ll play music from across his huge back catalogue, plus blues classics, an odd jazz standard, and music from his recent CD, Born To Sing.
Rock ‘n’ roll icon, former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman brings his star power to Edinburgh on Sunday 27th July at 8pm. His musical rebirth as the driving force behind the fabulous Rhythm Kings sees him return to his musical roots, bringing back to life the kind of classic rhythm and blues that first inspired Wyman to pick up the guitar as a teenager. Wyman’s all-star band will be joined by the original Average White Band singer and guitarist, Hamish Stuart, featured for many years with Paul McCartney.
The packed programme of world-class acts to be released in full in May includes an international jazz supergroup the Mike Stern/Bill Evans Band featuring Dennis Chambers; the Edinburgh debut of Grammy-nominated trumpeter and composer Christian Scott; the popular return, with his exceptional big band, of Chris Barber; and getting the party started with their old style jazz and blues-fuelled stage presence, Davina and the Vagabonds.
There will be a programme of special projects funded by the Scottish Government's EXPO fund and a reprise of the Tron Kirk Festival Club, which proved to be a big hit in its introductory year last year. The two free events organized by the Jazz & Blues Festival – The Mardi Gras and the Edinburgh Festival Carnival – will take place on the 19th and 20th July respectively.