Preview: Cambridge Jazz Festival

The Cambridge International Jazz Festival announces a wide-ranging 2016 programme featuring Alan Barnes, Phronesis, Anita Wardell and many more

Big name international headliners, up and coming new acts and long-established festival favourites will all be visiting Cambridge from 16-27 November when the second Cambridge International Jazz Festival takes over the city for 12 days and nights. The 2016 festival will bring jazz to around 20 venues across the university city, with free concerts, jam sessions, workshops and children's events running alongside concerts by major artists.

The festival opens with a gig by Sons Of Kemet, who play Cambridge Junction on Wednesday 16 November. Laura Mvula will be playing at the Corn Exchange on Thursday 24. Other big name concerts include Phronesis (Mumford Theatre, Sunday 20), the Andrew McCormack Trio (Caius Jazz, Monday 21) and Snarky Puppy keyboardist Bill Laurance (West Road Concert Hall, Friday 25).

Those who prefer their jazz in more intimate surroundings will find plenty of musicians at venues such as Hot Numbers - home to gigs by the Karen Sharp Trio and the Nigel Price Organ Trio among others - and the Hidden Rooms, which plays host to acts including singer/saxophonist Mads Mathias and bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado's group. Anita Wardell (pictured right) appears with the Robin Phillips Trio at the Gonville Hotel on Monday 21, with fans having the option to enjoy dinner prior to the music.

Other highlights of the festival include the debut performance by the Binker Golding Quartet, led by saxophonist Golding (pictured left); Kate Williams' Four + Three, the pianist's innovative combination of jazz trio and string quartet; Alan Barnes with local band Caxton Swing, celebrating the band's 15 years together with a set of 30s and 40s numbers; and appearances from rapper/saxophonist and Radio 3 presenter Soweto Kinch, who'll be playing with his own trio, Nonagram, and with the Cambridge University Jazz Orchestra. Jam sessions and free gigs also feature strongly across the 12 days.

As well as live performances, two events focus on recordings. There's a special showing of the Tubby Hayes documentary, Man In A Hurry, on Monday 21. This will be followed by a Q&A with writer and film-maker Mark Baxter and music from the Simon Spillett Quartet. Gearbox Records will be bringing its Jazz Kissaten to the Hidden Rooms with the label's founder Darryl Sheinman playing original pressings of Blue Note albums from his personal collection. Workshops led by some of the festival's star names including Karen Sharp, Nikki Iles, Soweto Kinch and Anita Wardell will take place on both weekends of the festival. Sara Mitra & Magic Box bring a Magical Musical Storybox for children age 5 years and under.

Founders and directors of the Festival, Roslin Russell, Gavin Spence and Kevin Flanagan, aim to open up jazz to new audiences, particularly young people, giving them the chance to get involved with jazz music as well as listening to it. The festival will cover a wide range of genres across jazz - from vocal to instrumental, big bands to small groups, jazz standards to contemporary original composition - and will reach audiences across city and university venues.

For further information about the festival and details about booking tickets, go to the Cambridge International Jazz Festival website.

Bruce Lindsay

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