London Jazz Festival, 11-20 November



Impossible GentlemenAt the launch of the 2012 London Jazz Festival in fashionable Smithfield last month a surprise finale was announced in the form of Ornette Coleman, who will play at the Royal Festival Hall on 20 November - his first show in London since 2009.

The preceding events (11-20 November) set a similar standard, with leading jazz names, the eclecticism which has long typified the event, and a perhaps stronger than hitherto mainstream element.

Among the headline shows are Jazz Voice, featuring the 40-piece London Jazz Festival Orchestra, arranged and led by Guy Barker (11 November), ECM-label multi-instrumentalist Stephan Micus in his first UK appearance since 1976 (11), altoist Steve Coleman and Reflex (11) and the McCoy Tyner Trio with singer Jose James and saxophonist Chris Potter, revisiting Johnny Hartman (12).

In the mainstream direction, the Richard Pite band pays tribute to Roy Eldridge and Charlie Shavers (12), trumpeter Buck Clayton is recognised by the Buck Clayton Legacy Band (12) and the festival presents the première of Louis, the new silent film biopic of young Louis Armstrong with live music from Nicholas Payton and others (13).

For the modernist there's the Steve Swallow Qnt with Carla Bley + The Impossible Gentlemen (with Gwilym Simcock and Mike Walker, pictured) (13), multi-reedman Michel Portal with a group including trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire (14), guitarist Phil Robson's I.M.S. Quintet with Mark Turner + Christine Tobin (15), pianists Stefano Bollani and Martial Solal + Marcin Wasilewski Trio (16) and NY singer Gretchen Parlato (16).

Richard Galliano's La Strada Qnt, with Dave Douglas and John Surman, brings a touch of old Europe plus modern jazz interpretation to its readings of Nino Rota's film music (17), reviewed here by Mark Gilbert in its second performance this summer.

Other highlights include Robert Glasper (17), "Jazz at Café Society", with singers China Moses, Gwyneth Herbert & Alexander Stewart (17), Roy Haynes's Fountain of Youth band (he should know) with David Kikoski + Peter King band (18), Abdullah Ibrahim, solo (18), Nik Bartsch's Ronin (18), Fringe Magnetic w. trumpeter Rory Simmons (19), Henry Threadgill's Zooid (19), Portico Quartet (19) and Bill Frisell's 858 Quartet (20).

Get the latest - and booking info - from londonjazzfestival.org.uk.


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