One by one the Edinburgh festivals are returning to in-person affairs, with the Edinburgh International Jazz Festival the latest to announce a packed programme of gigs, galas, blues afternoons, and outreach events across the city in July.
The festival programme, released yesterday, sees the return of two mainstay free public events on the first weekend of the festival, which runs from 15th to 24th July.
The Mardi Gras, with its traditional New Orleans and trad-jazz infused music stages down in the Grassmarket, will be back on the first Saturday of the festival. And the Festival Carnival, which is as much a marker of the start of Edinburgh’s festival season at large, returns on the first Sunday of the Jazz Festival with a parade and multicultural celebration of music and dance in West Princes Street Gardens.
Both events were cancelled the past two years (online versions did go ahead) due to Covid-19 restrictions.
On the concert front, the opening night at Assembly Hall sees a celebration of Ella Fitzgerald, with the Seonaid Aitken Big Band and guests.
Other Festival highlights include American guitarist John Scofield, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and his quartet, Chicago electric blues from the eldest son of Muddy Waters, Mud Morganfield and, making her first appearance at the Festival, British jazz saxophonist Nubya Garcia, who is featured on the cover of the 2022 brochure.
Jools Holland and Curtis Stigers, whose concerts were postponed last year due to the pandemic, are lined up to play the Festival Theatre.
Also returning to the festival are old-school blues picker Blind Boy Paxton and the soulful rhythm and blues singer Davina and her Vagabonds (pictured above).
In SPARK, a celebration of Italian Jazz delivered with I-Jazz and the Italian institute, Edinburgh audiences can hear musicians Sade Mangiaracina, Francesco Zampini, and international artist in residence Daniele Raimondi.
Other international artists at this year's Festival include Belgian piano trio De Beren Gieren and a double bill of gypsy jazz from Les Violons de Bruxelles and Scotland’s Rose Room.
Soweto Kinch, Xhosa Cole, Blue Lab Beats, Rosie Frater Taylor, and Scotland’s Anoushka Nanguy, are others to look out for.
In the Scottish Jazz Expo strand you can find pianist Fergus McCreadie, Ali Affleck, Colin Steele, and Martin Kershaw, with gigs under the new wave banner from Richard Glassby, Conor Smith and Matthew Kilner.
While this year live gigs are the big attraction, the festival is continuing with an online component.
The Jazz Festival Digital Pass costs £10, and gives you 20 online concerts, including “digital exclusives” and behind-the-scenes content. The pass includes a concert from the festival’s San Francisco partner SFJazz Collective.
The concerts will be available to watch until 14th August.
Tickets for the Jazz Festival are available via the web site at the Fringe Box Office, by phone or in person, until 6pm or up to 45 mins before the start of each show.