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Barbican announces second wave of artists for EFG London Jazz Festival 2023

Makaya McCraven

Today (7 June) the Barbican announces the second wave of artists and performances as part of this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival in collaboration with Barbican Associate Producer Serious. Now in its 31st year, the annual festival will take place in November at multiple Barbican spaces as well as over 60 venues across the city to showcase some of the best in local and international jazz talent.

The Barbican's live performance programme will feature an electrifying line-up of jazz masters, emerging stars, and fresh new talent including the artists announced today:

  • Makaya McCraven + LCO: In These Times (Sat 11 Nov 2023, Barbican Hall, 7:30pm)
  • Joshua Redman Group featuring Gabrielle Cavassa (Sun 12 Nov 2023, Barbican Hall, 7:30pm)
  • Joep Beving (Sun 12 Nov 2023, Milton Court Concert Hall, 7:30pm)
  • Sam Gendel (Tues 14 Nov 2023, Milton Court Concert Hall, 7;30pm) 

Full listing details below and here.


Makaya McCraven + London Contemporary Orchestra: In These Times

Renowned American drummer and producer Makaya McCraven presents an evening of musical exploration at the Barbican, joined by the London Contemporary Orchestra, conducted by Robert Ames on Saturday 11 November 2023. This special performance will see McCraven perform his boundary-pushing album In These Times in the Barbican Hall.

One of Chicago's most sought-after artists, McCraven defies categorisation with his inventive process and intuitive style, constantly pushing the boundaries of jazz, composition, and rhythm.

McCraven's breakthrough album, In the Moment, released in January 2015 under International Anthem, was hailed as a dramatic statement. With this release, McCraven introduced his unique brand of ‘organic beat music’ propelling him to the forefront of internationally known jazz artists and the next-wave of composer-producers blurring the lines between jazz and electronic music. His subsequent releases, including the widely popular Universal Beings (2018) and the reimagining of Gil Scott-Heron's final album, We're New Again for XL Recordings, further solidified his reputation as a boundary-pushing artist.

McCraven's album, Deciphering the Message, released in October 2021 on Blue Note Records, showcases his exceptional talent in rearranging and remixing 13 pieces from the label's extensive catalogue, breathing new life into classic compositions.

In These Times is McCraven’s latest and seventh album, released on 23 September 2022 via the three-label collaboration between International Anthem, Nonesuch, and XL Recordings. The record features a host of notable guest performances, including guitarist Jeff Parker, harpist Brandee Younger, and Macie Stewart from Ohmme. The album seamlessly weaves together hip-hop breakouts, machine music, and sumptuous strings with breathtakingly jazz brilliance.

Produced by the Barbican in association with Serious.


Joshua Redman Group featuring Gabrielle Cavassa

Globally-acclaimed saxophonist Joshua Redman returns to the Barbican to lead a remarkable new group in an evening of captivating jazz. Following the success of MoodSwing in 2022, Redman now turns his attention to his latest project WHERE ARE WE.

WHERE ARE WE brings together musicians who perfectly complement Redman's vision. It marks the first time that Redman has included a vocalist, Gabrielle Cavassa, on a record and feature, and the first time that Aaron Parks on piano, Joe Sanders on bass, and Brian Blade on drums will have performed together. These artists’ collective prowess creates a seamless blend of intricate melodies and soulful improvisations with a repertoire built around Redman’s new WHERE ARE WE project – an album of songs about specific places in the USA. The project is “about” America, both a celebration and a critique, as much as it is also a project of ballads, standards, romance, social reflection, melodic invention, improvisation, and even tribute. Above all, it is a meditation on power and the importance of place. For this special performance, Joshua Redman will also be joined by special guests Nicholas Payton (trumpet), Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar), Peter Bernstein (guitar), and Joel Ross (vibraphone).

On WHERE ARE WE, Redman says: “It was a dream come true to finally have a chance to connect Aaron, Joe, and Brian—three of the most sublimely lyrical and deeply grooving musicians on the planet, who, somehow, had never before played together as a rhythm section. And it was a transformative experience to collaborate with Gabrielle—a vocalist of uncommon style, sincerity, and soul.”

Produced by the Barbican in association with Serious.


Joep Beving

Contemporary classical composer and pianist Joep Beving returns to his piano solo roots with Hermetism Light Sculpture, a live audio-visual performance in collaboration with contemporary artists Boris Acket and Merijn Versnel in Milton Court Concert Hall.

Both Beving and Acket share a fascination for the spiritual and the unknown – things hidden in our perception of time, of now, and of the inner self. Joined by Versnel, Beving and Acket will transform the narrative of the classical piano concert in a performance of Beving’s latest record, Hermetism (Deutsche Grammophon 2022), which blends poignant melancholy with an offer of hope, across twelve new tracks all recorded on Beving’s cherished Schimmel piano.

In this special performance as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival 2023 at the Barbican, the music of Beving will come together with two visual installations, The Source, and The Balance, and seven gigantic scales, designed to appear to measure the unmeasurable things around us. Alongside Beving, the installations will move continuously - looking for new shapes to portray within the space drawing the audience into a single synergic experience.

Produced by the Barbican in association with Serious and Bird on the Wire


Sam Gendel

American saxophonist and music producer Sam Gendel will take to the stage at Milton Court Concert Hall on Tuesday 14 November 2023, bringing his unique approach to jazz and experimental music together in a one-of-a-kind performance.

Known for a distinctive blend of ambient and experimental jazz, Gendel has become a prominent figure in Los Angeles’ ambient jazz scene. Primarily a saxophonist, Gendel is also proficient with multiple instruments, creating diverse work and also significant collaborations with a wide range of artists including: Ry Cooder, Blake Mills, Sam Amidon, Laurie Anderson, Perfume Genius, Pino Palladino, Moses Sumney, Knower, Mach-Hommy, Vampire Weekend, and inc. no world.

For this performance Gendel will be joined by Philippe Melanson on electronic percussion

Praise for Gendel’s albums:

“[blueblue, Leaving Records 2022] feels like a purposeful statement, a concentration of his strengths as an instrumentalist in service of one sharpened, sustained mood”

“Gendel’s Fresh Bread [Leaving Records 2021] is a vast, endlessly fascinating project that not only underscores his skill on virtually any instrument he picks up but also outlines the sheer volume of melodic and structural ideas he can generate.”
LA Times

Produced by the Barbican in association with Serious.