Preview: Norfolk and Norwich Festival Jazz




The Norfolk and Norwich Festival's strong jazz programme encompasses the Sun Ra Arkestra, Branford Marsalis, vintage hot jazz and tea dances

The 2016 Norfolk and Norwich Festival, which runs from Friday 13 May - Sunday 29 May, once again promises a fascinating and often surprising mix of theatre, dance, literature and street performance. Music is always a key element of the festival: this year's jazz events are particularly wide ranging.

An appearance by the Sun Ra Arkestra (pictured right by Fabio Lugero) is one of the festival's major concerts. The Arkestra, led by Marshall Allen, plays on the opening night at OPEN, a large venue in the centre of Norwich. Jazz acts will also appear at a range of venues across the city.

The Adnams Spiegeltent - an early 20th century travelling circus-tent-cum-nightclub - has become a fixture at the festival. It's an atmospheric venue which plays host to circus, cabaret and music. This year the Spiegeltent's late night concerts feature the Grammy-nominated funk-jazz quintet Kneebody in collaboration with electronic musician Daedalus, vintage hot jazz and swing from the FB Pocket Orchestra, and sax and drums trio Moon Hooch (a danceable cross between John Zorn and Melt Yourself Down).

The Ragroof Players take over the tent for two afternoon tea dances. Tutti Frutti, on Saturday 21 May, features music from Ted Heath, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra and Louis Jordan. Top Hat and Tails on Sunday 22, is, unsurprisingly, a Fred and Ginger special with music from the 30s and 40s. Tea and cakes will be served.

Saxophonist Branford Marsalis (pictured left) is the second big American jazz name to come to the 2016 festival. In contrast to the avant-garde sound of the Sun Ra Arkestra, saxophonist Marsalis will play a solo concert in Norwich Cathedral. Marsalis's performance will include jazz standards and improvisations on Bach, on Tuesday 24 May.

ECM artists Thomas Strønen and Time Is A Blind Guide, featuring keyboard player and Norwich native Kit Downes, appear at Norwich Playhouse on Monday 23 May. Tindersticks headline OPEN on Sunday 22 May, playing their latest album, The Waiting Room, accompanied by a series of specially commissioned films to create a "truly immersive audio-visual event."

Tin Men And The Telephone, nominated for a 2016 JazzFM award, play at Norwich Playhouse on 25 and 26 May. The trio mix jazz, classical, hip-hop and Balkan influences and also allow audience members to influence the music via an app called Tinmendo - a "musical camel race" is promised.

More information is available at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival website.

Tickets can be booked online, or by calling the Ticket Hotline on (+44) 1603 766400.

Bruce Lindsay


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