Preview: Liverpool jazz festival

Courtney Pine and Andy Sheppard are set to top the bill at the Liverpool International Jazz Festival, which will also feature the best of the Liverpool jazz scene

The 2016 Liverpool International Jazz Festival, which will take place from 25-28 February at the Capstone Theatre and claims to be "...the biggest and best yet," will feature headline concerts by saxophonists Courtney Pine (pictured right) and Andy Sheppard. The festival will also include performances by vibraphonist Pascal Schumacher, from Luxembourg, and the veteran Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine.

The festival's programme includes a major concert each night. Schumacher, the 2012 Echo Jazz Instrumentalist Of The Year, will open the festival on Thursday 25 February, Catherine's quartet headlines the Friday night concert and Pine's duo with pianist Zoe Rahman is the main event on Saturday. On Sunday Andy Sheppard (pictured below left) will host a free saxophone workshop at 5.00pm before taking to the stage with his Hotel Bristol quartet for the festival's closing concert at 7.30pm.

There's also a strong supporting programme on the Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Saturday offers five free concerts, in collaboration with Indian arts organisation Milapfest and with Jazz North. The Sunday afternoon free event, in collaboration with Liverpool Jazz, showcases three of the city's finest jazz acts: the Viktor Nordberg Trio,  the Ginger Tunes Quartet and The Weave.  

Neil Campbell, festival director, said: “Liverpool International Jazz Festival continues to forge an eclectic route through the genre, celebrating creativity at all levels, from locally to internationally. I hope it will bring music lovers of all persuasions to explore what is being presented here - not just jazz aficionados but curious and open-minded people keen to enjoy new musical experiences. There are also plenty of free performances which we hope will encourage as many people as possible to come along and enjoy the festival.”

The full Liverpool International Jazz Festival programme is as follows (all events are at the Capstone Theatre, Shaw Street, Liverpool L6 1HP):

Pascal Schumacher: Thursday 25th February, 7.30pm, £11.50

Philip Catherine Quartet: Friday 26th February, 7.30pm, £11.50

Sudeshna Bhattacharya with Koustic Sen: Saturday 27th February (1pm), free entry

Pan Jumby: Saturday 27th February (3pm),
free entry

Cameron Vale: Saturday 27th February (4pm),
free entry

Artephis: Saturday 27th February (5pm),
free entry

Graeme Wilson Quartet: Saturday 27th February (6pm),
free entry

Liverpool Jazz Presents Courtney Pine with Zoe Rahman: Saturday 27th February, 7.30pm, £11.50

Liverpool Jazz Showcase (Viktor Nordberg Trio, Ginger Tunes Quartet and The Weave): Sunday 28th February 1pm,
free entry

Andy Sheppard Saxophone Workshop: Sunday 28th February (5pm),
free entry.

Andy Sheppard's Hotel Bristol in concert: Sunday 28th February (7.30pm), £11.50

(Places on the saxophone workshop can be booked by emailing Participants are asked not to bring instruments but it may be useful to bring manuscript and a pencil to make notes.)

For further information and ticket bookings go to the Liverpool International Jazz Festival website.

Text and photos by Bruce Lindsay

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