Aberdeen Jazz Festival programme announced

Aberdeen Jazz Festival is back for 2022 with a packed and vibrant programme.

After last year’s hugely successful online events and October hybrid programme, the festival returns to its traditional March slot with a full 10 days of exciting live events across the city – from March 17-27.

The festival will feature an expanded range of venues to include some stunning and unexpected settings. As well as the favourite Festival places like The Blue Lamp, Lemon Tree, Spin, and Queen’s Cross Church, there will be the first ever Jazz Festival chance to hear top quality acoustic artists in the afternoon at the Cowdray Hall; to step inside the magnificent, wood-panelled Society of Advocates plus check out a series of specially-commissioned performances in the historic Bon Accord Baths.

The wide variety of venues is matched by the diverse range of music on offer from swing to funk; gypsy jazz to blues rock; classy jazz vocals to late night grooves. Highlights include ‘Jazz the Day!’ – a chance to mix and match 8 great events, across three venues, all with one ticket on Saturday 26 March – the perfect option when there are simply too many great events to choose from.

Included in the afternoon are well established names alongside newcomers and new collaborations plus the chance for the audience to get in amongst the action by singing, dancing or playing with Ali Affleck’s all star band.

Soundbath (Photo: Alastair Robb)

Another of the festival’s more unusual events is SoundBath – a series of site-specific performances in the historic Bon Accord Baths. Closed to the public since 2008, the vast, light-drenched, atmospheric cathedral-like space will inspire new music by Victoria Fifield and others. Not only a visual spectacle, the acoustics of the cavernous Art Deco building will create an amazing aural experience, with sound reverberating around the tiled walls and pool floor. A great unique opportunity to step inside and immerse yourself in this hugely atmospheric space filled with memories.

To further illustrate the diversity on offer, pianist Brian Kellock will take centrestage at Queen’s Cross Church to perform a sumptuous version of Gershwin’s classic Rhapsody in Blue, specially arranged for piano and a hand-picked 8-piece string orchestra.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the musical spectrum, Young Pilgrims – an extraordinary 9-piece brass band brimming with jazz-rock energy – will be in residency for the festival’s final weekend.

This is part of the festival’s drive to encourage sustainable practices, with travelling bands encouraged to contribute to the festival in several ways such as through collaborations and workshops.

Well-known names on the Scottish jazz scene abound with the Martin Kershaw Quartet; latin jazz heroes, Son al Son, and pianist Alan Benzie’s Tribute to Herbie Hancock at the Blue Lamp; Rose Room and Ali Affleck’s Jazz Divas at the Cowdray Hall. Aberdeen musicians are also well represented, both those living here and star performers coming back home. Matthew Kilner will lead a two tenor sax band with Konrad Wiszniewski; Trombonist, Kieran McLeod, now a top name on the London jazz scene, will make his Festival debut as a leader.

There will also be several erformances by musicians from further afield including the genre-defying Shapes of Time Trio featuring Oone Van Geel and Mark Haanstra from the Netherlands plus Scotland’s very own Graeme Stephen.

King King (Photo: Adam Kennedy)

Blues-rock is well represented in the programme with the legendary King King and Gerry Jablonski and the Electric Band performing at the Lemon Tree, plus Missouri-based blues power trio Hooten Hallers set to raise the rafters at the Blue Lamp.

This will be the first Aberdeen Jazz Festival organised by a new team, as Festival promoter Jazz Scotland is delighted to announce the appointment of its new CEO Coralie Usmani. With a background in music education and community engagement as well as being a regular performer on the Aberdeen jazz scene, Coralie brings a wealth of experience and fresh ideas to the role.

This will be the first time the national jazz organisation has been based in Aberdeen.

Keith MacRae, Jazz Scotland chair, said: ‘We’ve managed to present some great events in the last couple of years, but we’ve missed the full blown Festival atmosphere. It’s great to be back, and great to be able to welcome Coralie Usmani’s first Festival with such a positive programme.’

Clare Hewitt, music officer at Creative Scotland said: ‘Aberdeen Jazz Festival is an event that isn’t afraid to be adventurous as it returns to a full 10-day programme. With performances by incredible musicians in both new and familiar spaces around the city, audiences are in for a thrilling time.’

Ticket prices range from free to £25, and are available from www.aberdeenjazzfestival.com

The full line-up is available HERE.