EFG London Jazz Festival at the Barbican

Pat Thomas and Orphy Robinson hanging out together

Monday 23 October 2017

EFG London Jazz Festival 2017 at the Barbican

Friday 10 – Sunday 19 November

Just announced - Renowned keyboardist Django Bates is now confirmed as a featured soloist for the first UK performance of Joe Zawinul’s masterpiece Stories of the Danube

Featured artists across the festival at the Barbican include: Pat Metheny, Black Top featuring Orphy Robinson, Pat Thomas, Jean Paul Bourelly and Anthony Joseph, Chucho Valdés + Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Zakir Hussain, Roland Perrin, Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau, Phronesis + Engines Orchestra, Herbie Hancock, Robert Glasper, Carminho, Pharoah Sanders Quartet + Denys Baptiste + Alina Bzhezhinska, Terence Blanchard Quartet, Django Bates

The EFG London Jazz Festival - produced by Barbican Associate Producer Serious - celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The annual event once again presents an array of global talent over a ten day programme of performances, film screenings and talks. As the landmark festival reaches this significant milestone the Barbican’s stages are preparing to host jazz legends, as well as future stars of the genre. Highlights of the EFG London Jazz Festival 2017 include:

An event exploring the dynamic between jazz and the paintings of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in Basquiat and Jazz featuring Black Top and guests (10 November)

  • Chucho Valdés and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, the leading living exponents of two generations in the great Cuban piano tradition perform together (11 November)
  • The Portuguese fado singer Carminho celebrates the music of Antônio Carlos Jobim, one of the godfathers of Bossa Nova. Carminho performs alongside a band featuring Jobim’s son and grandson, Paulo and Daniel Jobim, and legendary cellist Jaques Morelenbaum (17 November)
  • The musical legacy of two of the most influential figures in Western musical history: Alice and John Coltrane is celebrated through a performance by Pharoah Sanders Quartet with Denys Baptiste and Alina Bzhezhinska (18 November)
  • A double-bill of Joe Zawinul’s Stories of the Danube – his grand orchestral vision of one of the world’s great rivers – conducted by Kristjan Järvi, featuring the BBC Concert Orchestra, Django Bates and Terence Blanchard Quintet, plus the UK premiere performance of Blanchard’s Herbie Hancock: By Himself (19 November)



An evening with Pat Metheny
Friday 10 November 2017 / Barbican Hall / 19:30
SOLD OUT, returns only

For this opening-night concert, the Grammy Award-winning American guitarist Pat Metheny will take to the stage in a new quartet. Metheny will perform alongside two talents from the new generation – UK pianist Gwilym Simcock and bassist Linda Oh, as well as long-time collaborator, drummer Antonio Sanchez. Since his emergence in the 1970s Metheny has continued to search for new sounds and ideas, whilst retaining the melodic drive of his hallmark sound. This line-up is soon to release an album on Nonesuch Records, music from which will be performed on the night.
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Basquiat and Jazz
Featuring Black Top and guests
Part of
Basquiat: Boom for Real
Friday 10 November 2017 / LSO St Luke’s / 19:30
Tickets £15 – 25 plus booking fee

Performing under their collective alias Black Top, British vibraphonist and multi-instrumentalist Orphy Robinson is joined by regular collaborator and pianist Pat Thomas. The evening’s performance offers a rich exploration of the cultural dynamic between Free-Jazz and the vividly resonant paintings of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Introduced by writer and improvisation expert Francesco Martinelli – author of the catalogue essay ‘Basquiat, Bird, Beat and Bop’ - the concert welcomes further performers and collaborators in radical guitarist Jean Paul Bourelly, spoken word artist Anthony Joseph, and trumpeter Byron Wallen.

Jazz was a reoccurring theme in Basquiat’s work. Pieces including ‘Trumpet’, ‘Horn Players’ and ‘Charles the First’ demonstrate his love of the genre whilst immortalising great players such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Similarly, away from the canvas in Basquiat’s occasional DJ sets at the legendary New York night club Area, he could be found playing records by jazz legends including John Coltrane.

This concert coincides with Basquiat: Boom For Real, the first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work of the artist, at the Barbican Art Gallery until 28 January 2018.
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Chucho Valdés + Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Saturday 11 November 2017 / Barbican Hall / 14:30
Tickets £20 – 40 plus booking fee

This meeting of Chucho Valdés and Gonzalo Rubalcaba brings together the leading living exponents of two generations in the great Cuban piano tradition.

Valdés is revered as the founder and composer of the seminal jazz/rock band Irakere, whilst Rubalcaba’s trio with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian remains a masterpiece of the art of the piano trio. Their historic relationship with the music of Cuba creates a piano duo of rare originality, with the music journeying from the popular and classical repertoire into the African-American jazz mainstream – especially the music of Thelonious Monk. This evening’s performance will also see new compositions from both artists.
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Roland Perrin: Rio Amazonas
Sunday 12 November 2017 / Barbican Hall / 15:00
Tickets £10 – 20 plus booking fee

Composer and pianist Roland Perrin leads the London premiere of his new choral symphony, Rio Amazonas. Inspired by the Amazon river and region – its topography, its multitude of flora and fauna, the mystery of its remote tribes and the experiences of the different people arriving from afar – Rio Amazonas is also an inner reflection on the primal self. In the piece symphonic architecture is realised by jazz trio, massed choirs and string orchestra. This concert features the Roland Perrin Trio, Blue Planet Orchestra and Hertfordshire Chorus – conducted by David Temple.
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Zakir Hussain – Crosscurrents
With Dave Holland and Chris Potter

Saturday 11 November / Barbican Hall / 19:30
Tickets £35 – 50 plus booking fee

Tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain is joined by two jazz stalwarts, bassist Dave Holland and saxophonist Chris Potter for a new project. This concert explores the influence of the genre, in particular a period of the mid-20th century that saw jazz and Hollywood musicals impact upon Indian popular music.

Hussain is a widely celebrated musician, composer and actor of national treasure status in his homeland of India. He was one of a number of legendary artists invited by President Obama to perform as part of International Jazz Day 2016 at the White House. Dave Holland’s list of previous engagements is similarly impressive, the bassist, composer and band leader has graced stages accompanying the likes of Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock (also appearing at the EFG London Jazz Festival on 13 & 14 November). From 18-year-old prodigy in 1989 to present day veteran of the scene, American saxophonist Chris Potter adds further prestige to proceedings via his 15 album-strong back catalogue and previous Grammy Award nomination.
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Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau
Sunday 12 November 2017 / Barbican Hall / 19:30
Tickets £15 – 45 plus booking fee

The only UK concert from the unconventional duo of mandolin player Chris Thile and pianist Brad Mehldau. This performance will feature material from their recent collaborative record (released via Nonesuch Records), a collection of covers and original songs blending Thile and Mehldau’s respective genres of bluegrass and jazz.

These two seemingly disparate worlds are expertly bought together through the musical pedigree of both Thile and Mehldau. Thile, known for his work in acoustic folk/progressive bluegrass quintet Punch Brothers, has recorded numerous albums alongside many musicians, and in 2012 received a MacArthur Genius Grant. Performing extensively since the early 1990s as part of his trio, solo and alongside fellow jazz greats including Pat Metheny (also performing at the EFG London Jazz Festival on 10 November), Mehldau’s many achievements include his status as the first jazz artist to hold the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall (2010-2011).
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Phronesis + Engines Orchestra
Sunday 12 November 2017 / Milton Court Concert Hall / 19:30
Tickets £15 – 27.50 plus booking fee

Forward-thinking trio Phronesis are joined by cross-genre ensemble Engines Orchestra as they perform new music from renowned composer Dave Maric. The new piece to be performed on the night explores loops, rhythms and textures inspired by Phronesis’s high-energy performances and Dave Maric’s classical contemporary repertoire

Jasper Høiby, Ivo Neame and Anton Eger make piano trio music that has had a worldwide impact over the past decade, whilst Phil Meadows' Engines Orchestra has fused today’s generation of jazz and classical young bloods in a floating group of strings, horns and groove.

Phronesis will perform the first set of the evening as a trio; 'Decade Zero' with Engines Orchestra will feature in the second half.

New music commissioned by Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Manchester Jazz Festival and the EFG London Jazz Festival as part of the 25 for 25 Commissions Programme. Dave Maric is funded by PRSF.
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Herbie Hancock
Monday 13 & Tuesday 14 November 2017 / Barbican Hall / 19:30
Tickets £20 – 65 plus booking fee

Following the debut of Herbie Hancock’s brand new project on the European Festival circuit this summer – including a headline slot at Love Supreme – the iconic pianist, keyboardist and bandleader returns for two exclusive London shows.

Hancock’s career spans over five decades, encompassing the journey that jazz has taken from acoustic to electric. He has been an influence on a much wider musical landscape, whether through an innovative use of technology, probing the grooves of dance music and hip-hop, or re-defining the language of the jazz mainstream.

Produced by Marshall Arts and Serious as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival. This show forms part of the EFG Excellence Series.
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Robert Glasper
Thursday 16 November 2017 / Barbican Hall / 19:30
Tickets £20 – 35 plus booking fee

First performing at the EFG London Jazz Festival as a relative unknown in 2005 - Robert Glasper returns as a heavyweight of the jazz world to play a special show for the festival’s 25th anniversary.

The Texas born pianist’s roots are firmly planted in jazz tradition, but he has set himself apart from many of his contemporaries by constantly exploring new musical territory, drawing on hip-hop, R&B and even rock in his kaleidoscopic career thus far. Recent years have seen him dominate the jazz charts, win Grammys, score a Miles Davis biopic and collaborate with the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Laura Mvula.

Here, over ten years after appearing as a Gilles Peterson tip for the future, Glasper will once again take to the Barbican Hall for a celebratory show in honour of the 25th EFG London Jazz Festival.
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Carminho sings Jobim
Friday 17 November 2017 / Barbican Hall / 20:00
Tickets £20 – 40 plus booking fee

The Portuguese fado singer Carminho celebrates the music of Antônio Carlos Jobim, one of the godfathers of Bossa Nova. Brought up in a family of fadistas, Carminho channels the hidden feelings inside fado song. Now, at the suggestion of the composer’s family, she has turned her attention to the songbook of Jobim, who penned some of the most recognisable pieces of Brazilian music and catapulted Bossa Nova into worldwide popularity. Tonight sees Carminho performing alongside a band that features Jobim’s son and grandson, Paulo and Daniel Jobim, and legendary cellist Jaques Morelenbaum.
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The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda
Saturday 18 November 2017 / LSO St Luke’s / 11:00 & 17:30
Tickets £25 plus booking fee

A special celebration of the life, music and spirit of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda will take place at LSO St Luke’s on Saturday 18 November. The Ashram Community Singers will perform in this intimate and serene space, the perfect setting to extend the feeling and energy of Alice’s LA-based ashram to London. The performance will feature the devotional music Alice invented – inspired by the gospel music of the Detroit churches she grew up in, mixed together with the Indian devotional music of her religious practice.

In the late 1970s Alice Coltrane adopted the Sanskrit name Turiyasangitananda as she embraced the spirituality that became so central to the last four decades of her life. By 1983 she had established a 48-acre Sai Anantam Ashram at which she began to record music which was released only within her spiritual community in the form of private cassette tapes. In May of 2017, with the blessing of Alice’s children, Luaka Bop released a compilation of these songs titled World Spirituality Classics, Volume 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane, making them available to the public for the first time. 2017 also marks what would have been Alice’s 80th year of life, as well as the 10th anniversary of her passing.

The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda is an experiential and participatory event and as such attendees are encouraged to embrace several aspects of the ceremony. At its core this event is an opportunity to chant and sing along with The Ashram Community Singers, ‘bhajan books’ featuring the lyrics will be given to all members of the audience, and will also be available to download in advance. Loose clothing is encouraged and shoes will be removed upon entering the space. After the ceremony ‘prashad’, a religious offering of simple vegetarian food will be served. To mirror the traditional sunrise and sunset ceremonies the event will take place twice on Saturday 18 November, first at 11:00 and secondly at 17:30.

These concerts precede A concert for Alice and John Coltrane at the Barbican Hall, featuring Pharoah Sanders Quartet, Denys Baptiste and Alina Bzhezhinska. Celebrating the profound musical legacy of Alice and John Coltrane, the stage will be graced by both a collaborator of John Coltrane in Sanders, and two prominent artists from the UK jazz scene – each drawing inspiration from the Coltranes.
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Pharoah Sanders Quartet
+ Denys Baptiste + Alina Bzhezhinska
A concert for Alice and John Coltrane

Saturday 18 November 2017 / Barbican Hall / 19:30
Tickets £15 - 35 plus booking fee

As part of the EFG London Jazz Festival, Saturday 18 November at the Barbican celebrates the profound musical and spiritual legacy of two of the most influential figures in Western musical history: Alice and John Coltrane. Sets come courtesy of three artists, former John Coltrane collaborator Pharoah Sanders, and two prominent artists from the UK – the acclaimed saxophonist Denys Baptiste and rising Alina Bzhezhinska, both drawing inspiration from the Coltrane repertoire.

The headline set features Cosmic Jazz icon Pharoah Sanders, a member of John’s groups of the mid-1960s. Sanders’s saxophone sound provided a crucial contribution to the anarchic music of John’s later ensembles – a teeming, irregularly structured mixture of sound for sound’s sake – as well as participating in the spiritual intensity of Alice’s music.

Denys Baptiste’s latest project, The Late Trane, reflects the visceral emotions and celestial references that encompass John’s final work, with Steve Williamson adding a second saxophone voice.

Innovative harpist Alina Bzhezhinska and her quartet are joined by award-winning saxophonist Tony Kofi. Their set takes the form of a loving tribute to both Alice and John through performances of Coltrane compositions, original material and mystically-inspired improvisation.

This concert coincides with a number of anniversaries, 50 years since the death of John, 80 years since the birth of Alice and ten years after her passing – shortly before she was due to play at the Barbican. 2017 has also seen the release of The Ecstatic Music Of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda on the Luaka Bop label, a compilation of recordings previously only available on cassette tape to members of her Los Angeles ashram. This new edition has captured the imagination of another generation.
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Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita
Sunday 19 November 2017 / Milton Court Concert Hall / 15:00 & 19:30
Tickets £15 – 27.50 plus booking fee

Two celebrated and acclaimed musicians with a rich global heritage that spans jazz, Latin and African influences; Cuban jazz pianist/composer Omar Sosa and Senegalese kora player and singer Seckou Keita perform music from their first collaborative album, Transparent Water (WorldVillage).

The record brings together influences from across five continents, having grown from a chance musical encounter when Sosa was an impromptu addition to the line-up at a 2012 gig at CLF Art Café. Transparent Water is an album born largely out of improvisation – unlocking a profoundly spiritual brand of music.

It is the latest example of Sosa’s determination to seek new combinations, a manifestation of improvisatory freedom and the joy of shared artistic expression with Keita, who recently won the Songlines Best Album Award 2016 for his last solo album 22 Strings alongside a nomination for Best Artist.

Sosa and Keita are joined for these two festival performances by the percussionist Gustavo Ovalles.
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Terence Blanchard Quintet
Joe Zawinul’s Stories of the Danube
BBC Concert Orchestra and conductor Kristjan Järvi

Sunday 19 November 2017 / Barbican Hall / 19:30
Tickets £20 – 35 plus booking fee

This EFG London Jazz Festival double-bill at the Barbican sees a rare performance of Joe Zawinul’s Stories of the Danube – his grand orchestral vision of one of the world’s great rivers, conducted by his friend Kristjan Järvi and featuring the BBC Concert Orchestra and Terence Blanchard Quintet, with featured soloist Django Bates. Järvi was a close collaborator with Zawinul in the years before his untimely passing a decade ago* and tonight pays tribute to this seminal figure in Jazz as composer, keyboard virtuoso and co-founder of Weather Report.

Also featured in tonight’s concert will be American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer Terence Blanchard’s own new music, performed by his quintet and the BBC Concert Orchestra, featuring the UK premiere performance of the new extended piece Herbie Hancock: By Himself, which is inspired by Hancock’s iconic and impressionistic piano solos, and complemented by music drawn from Blanchard’s score for the recent Robert de Niro movie The Comedians, resonating with the classic Blue Note sound of the 1960s. Herbie Hancock: By Himself is a joint commission between the EFG London Jazz Festival, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Jazztopad Festival in Wroclaw.

*Joe Zawinul was scheduled to play the London Jazz Festival in 2007 at the Barbican (with the BBC Big Band) but sadly died a few months before the concert, which went ahead as a tribute.
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Four screenings add a cinematic element to the 25th EFG London Jazz Festival beginning with Les Liaisons Dangereuses, a tribute to Thelonious Monk’s centenary and the recent passing of the actress Jeanne Moreau. Further tributes are paid to mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of John Coltrane with a screening of Director Roger Vadim’s documentary Chasing Trane. Archive and rare footage features in Cool Cats - a documentary following saxophonists Ben Webster and Dexter Gordon’s mid 1960s trip to Copenhagen, meanwhile Together will be screened alongside a newly commissioned score performed live.


Les Liaisons Dangereuses (15)
Saturday 11 November 2017 / Cinema 3 / 16:00
Tickets £10.50 plus booking fee
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Together (PG) + Live Score + ScreenTalk*
Enhanced with BSL interpretation and electronic note-taking
Sunday 12 November 2017 / Cinema 3 / 16:00
Tickets £12.50 plus booking fee
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Chasing Trane (PG*)
Saturday 18 November 2017 / Cinema 3 / 14:00
Tickets £10.50 plus booking fee
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Cool Cats (PG*)
Sunday 19 November 2017 / Cinema 3 / 14:00
Tickets £10.50 plus booking fee
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Throughout the festival there will be free talks and live performances at the Barbican presented on the FreeStage.

Friday 10 November

5:30pm, Weekend Guitar Trio
Beguiling soundscapes that encompass jazz, traditional music and striking electronic textures feed into this trio from Estonia.

Saturday 11 November

5pm, Bilal Karaman
An adventurous show on the EFG London Jazz Festival FreeStage, reflecting the individual qualities in today’s Turkish jazz scene.

Sunday 12 November

2pm, Next Generation Takes Over
An afternoon celebrating what could be the future of Jazz, with some of the capital's finest young ensembles – Youthsayers, the National Youth Jazz Collective, (Im)Possibilities and the Trinity Laban Contemporary Jazz Ensemble.

Saturday 18 November

3:30pm, Way In To The Way Out
Two musicians – guitarists Heidi Heidelberg and Shirley Tetteh – guide us through their inspirations and illuminate their way in to the jazz world.

6pm, Christoph Irniger - Pilgrim
Swiss five-piece, whose enthusiasm and pulsating group dynamic is driven by the meticulous writing of leading Irniger.

Sunday 19 November

2pm, Efterglow + Heavy Beauty + Momentum
A triple-bill on the EFG London Jazz Festival FreeStage, highlighting the versatility of music currently emanating from Estonia.

6pm, Laura Perrudin
Taking the harp into a rich harmonic language, and using her expressive voice to the full, Perrudin gives free rein to the sinuous harmonies of her unclassifiable compositions.