The sun was shining down on the 29th Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival as speeches by Michael Hart (Festival Director) and Bruce Fallon (Chairman EJBF) opened proceedings on Saturday.
A large and enthusiastic crowd was present to witness the opening act of New Orleans legend Big Al Carson supported ablely by Ginger Pig.
The 10 piece band hit their groove early and stayed there allowing the soloists to venture out and show off individual skills backed by two wonderful female singers. However the highlight was Big Al's voice. In turns, bluesy, soulful, deep and tender, Big Al's range hit the spot in every song that was played. The man could sing a bank statement and still make it sound soulful and meaningful.
After an all too brief set, next up were the Mark Rodger Manchester Jazz band who kept the party spirit moving with their up-tempo trad jazz and kept the crowd bopping in the Lothian sunshine. Along with the Mike Daly Band and the Louisiana Ragtime Band, the spirit and music of New Orleans Mardi Gras was alive and well an flourishing in the Grassmarket.
One of the final acts to perform were blues band Rev Doc and the Congregation. A four piece form Glasgow, their infectious rhythm and blues kept the large crowd entertained and dancing. The tight rhythm section of JimCox (bass) and Davy B (drums) kept the crowd moving and allowed the guitarist Al Brown to dazzle with his repartee of licks, riffs and solos. However, the star of the show is Rev Doc. With his bluesy voice and superior harmonica skills (and natty dancing!), he led his band through blues standards and original material with humour and passion to a more than appreciative audience.
A great ending to a great day of superb jazz and blues.
Catch many of these bands (and more) on Sunday 29th in Princes Gardens, when Jazz On A Summer's Day will happen (1230pm) or catch the fantastic Al Carson at St. Cuthbert's Church, Lothian Road for a free, fundraising Gospel Concert, from 6.30pm.
The 29th Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival runs from 27 July til 5 August