PREVIEW: Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival (14-16 September)

Alison Affleck
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Peter Bacon reports:

The 20th Islay Jazz Festival is an appropriate anniversary year to honour the festival’s past by reuniting old friends, but also presenting new players to the Hebridean island and its magical backdrop to the music.

The festival’s press release explains:

“Bassist, Mario Caribe and trumpeter, Colin Steele, are as embedded in the DNA of Islay Jazz Festival as whisky is in Island life. These giants of the contemporary Scottish jazz scene are both featured. All of Scotland’s leading jazz musicians have longstanding relationships with the Festival, and we are delighted to welcome back saxophonists Tommy Smith and Martin Kershaw, and guitarist, Graeme Stephen, all of whom will be maintaining the cross generational collaborative and creative tradition of the Festival by playing in new partnerships with great young musicians – Fergus McCreadie, Corrie Dick, Stephen Henderson and Joe Williamson.

“Two red-hot singer/pianists will be coming to Islay for the first time: Davis Rogan from New Orleans and Anthony Strong from London. Whilst two compelling saxophonists, Soweto Kinch and Tommy Smith both front their own bands. We expect memorable concerts that will add to the Festival heritage from them all.
The Fergus McCreadie Trio
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“The wide stylistic range of the Festival is demonstrated by citing the wonderfully inventive vocal interpreters of classic and modern standards, Ali Affleck, Georgia Cecile and Luca Manning; The Tenement Jazz Band making their Festival debut playing music of the 1920s; Brass Gumbo playing funky, soulful contemporary New Orleans brass band music and AKU!’s hard-hitting in-the-moment contemporary jazz. We also salute Brian Palmer, the Islay-based drummer, who has played every year of the Festival and fronts Islay’s own Islay Jazz Trio.”

“Stuart Todd of Islay Arts Association, co-promoters of the festival, said: "the island welcomes the Festival's magical mixture of good spirits and good music and art set against the spectacular backdrop of Islay".

Colin Gordon, distillery manager at Lagavulin, says “We’re proud to have been at the heart of the Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival for eight years now. The annual event is always one of our busiest and best times on Islay, with the festival really capturing the brand’s personality and heritage.”

The Festival has been made possible through funding from Creative Scotland, Argyll and Bute Council and sponsorship from Lagavulin. See the link below for the full programme.

LINK: Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival website

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