First names announced for EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Following on from last year’s phenomenal 25th Anniversary of the EFG London Jazz Festival we’re back with a line up to match its success, bringing the best and freshest music to the streets, clubs and concert halls of the capital.

Our first announcement delivers a wealth of international stars to London’s concert halls, with new music and emerging British stars all added into the mix.

The first raft of concerts sets the Festival line up off in a very strong direction; from Madeleine Peyroux’s new Anthem tour, to a welcome return for Bobby McFerrin, a rare London show from Lea DeLaria – most recently recognised as Boo from Orange Is The New Black, but with a decade-spanning jazz career behind her.

We see Orphy Robinson’s reinterpretation of the classic Van Morrison album Astral Weeks, with Zara McFarlane and Sarah Jane Morris to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the album’s release, and Snarky Puppy’s Bill Laurance in a new collaboration with the WDR Big Band. We also announce a new partnership with the BBC Young Jazz Musician 2018, this year we will host the Final – showcasing the work of the next generation.

From jazz shows for toddlers to large-scale mass participation events, our Learning & Participation programme will be launched later in the spring – and will bring high profile artists together with people of all ages and abilities for inspirational opportunities to engage with music. Do join our e-list, or check out for updates through the year. Follow and tag the Festival on Twitter @LondonJazzfest, Instagram @londonjazzfest and Facebook @londonjazzfestival.
Jazz Voice
Royal Festival Hall, Friday 16 November
'It would be difficult to imagine a more impressive curtain-raiser' (The ArtsDesk)
The Festival’s signature opening-night gala showcases a stellar cast of voices performing incredible tunes in this celebration of singing and song. The list of past guests stretches from Seal, Jacob Collier and Paloma Faith to Gregory Porter, Angélique Kidjo and Natalie Merchant.
Guy Barker
’s 42-piece orchestra will provide the setting for a star-studded clutch of vocalists, yet to be announced, in a spectacular celebration of the singer and the song, playing Guy’s arrangements that continue to thrill and surprise.
This show forms part of the EFG Excellence Series.

Tord Gustavsen Trio
Cadogan Hall, Friday 16 November
Pianist Tord Gustavsen’s music continues to enchant and evolve, reaching out to an ever-growing audience with a blend of memorable melody, subtle groove, and a gentle depth of purpose.
His latest CD – due for late summer release on ECM Records – returns to his long-established trio format, embracing the full-sounding simplicity of the pianist’s concept of 'Nordic blues', with a series of new compositions in dialogue with ancient Scandinavian hymns and a strikingly original response to Bach’s Chorales. He will be joined by bassist Sigurd Hole and drummer Jarle Vespestad.
‘Nothing less than magical’ (Downbeat)

Lea DeLaria
Bridge Theatre, Sunday 18 November
Lea DeLaria
seems to have achieved overnight stardom with her stand-out role as ‘Big Boo’ in the Netflix hit series Orange is the New Black. However, DeLaria’s multi- faceted career as a comedian, actress and jazz musician has in fact spanned decades.
Lea has five records on the Warner Jazz label and her sixth record, House Of David: delaria+bowie=jazz, was released to critical acclaim. 

Bobby McFerrin - Circlesongs
Barbican, Sunday 18 November
Bobby McFerrin’s exhilarating vocal vocabulary - call and response, global rhythms, soaring melodies, lush harmonies, funny noises, invented language, silence, prayers, and laughter - reminds us all of how much fun it is to be alive. Bobby will take the stage with trusted members of his ground-breaking a cappella group Voicestra, to perform Circlesongs, choral pieces based on irresistible grooves, spontaneously composed each night and sung with a 12-voice ensemble of local singers - and sometimes by the whole audience
‘I want to bring audiences into the incredible feeling of freedom that I get when I sing,’ says Bobby, ‘I want everyone to leave the theatre and sing in their own kitchens the next morning.’
A cappella singers, beatboxers, and vocalists of all genres claim Bobby McFerrin as an inspiration. The jazz and classical worlds celebrate his innovative technique and spirit. His solo performances and collaborations - with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianists Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, the Vienna and New York Philharmonic Orchestras, and eager volunteers from audiences all over the world - are legendary.

Ten Grammy Awards and his #1 global hit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy" are pretty impressive, but ‘Bobby McFerrin's greatest gift to his audience may be changing them from spectators into celebrants,’ says the Los Angeles Times, ‘transforming a concert hall into a playground, a village center, a joyous space.’

Elina Duni & Rob Luft
Clapham Omnibus, Sunday 18 November
With Partir - Songs of Love and Exile, Swiss/Albanian singer Elina Duni’s latest project – and ECM recording – ranges through traditional music from Albania, Kosovo, Armenia, Macedonia, Switzerland and Arab-Andalusia as well as songs by Jacques Brel and her own music - a fiercely individual voice, infused by jazz as well as her own cultural roots. She is joined by guitarist Rob Luft, a rising star of today’s UK scene, whose acclaimed debut recording last year combined West African joie de vivre with English folk music and independent rock.

Orphy Robinson’s Astral Weeks featuring Zara McFarlane and Sarah Jane Morris
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Monday 19 November
50 years ago, a group of leading jazz musicians entered a studio in New York with Van Morrison and produced Astral Weeks. With its magical combination of jazz, folk and soul influences, Astral Weeks is widely regarded as one of the most influential recordings of 20th century contemporary music.
Winding forward to 2018, exactly 50 years since the original recording, we see leading UK vibes player & multi-instrumentalist and 2017 Jazz FM ‘Live Experience of the Year’ Award winner, Orphy Robinson, present his exclusive jazz and soul interpretation of this 1968 masterpiece in celebration of the 50th anniversary of its release.

Orphy brings together some of the UK top jazz players including John Etheridge to reinterpret the transcendental arrangements of Astral Weeks in this - his most ambitious project yet.
Orphy’s ensemble will be joined by vocalists Sarah Jane Morris and Zara McFarlane.
Youn Sun Nah
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Tuesday 20 November
One of Korea’s great voices plays a rare London concert. Youn Sun Nah first made her name in France, where Le Monde enthused about her ‘magnificent voice and passionate originality.’ There’s a clear influence of chanson in her performance – whether she’s singing Johnny Cash, Nine Inch Nails, a jazz standard or one of her own terrific songs, she’s always telling a story. 
A unique and refreshing approach to jazz singing – her voice is pure gold.’ (Jazz Journal)
Produced by the EFG London Jazz Festival in association with the K-Music Festival.
Eddie Parker’s Debussy Mirrored Ensemble, with Brigitte Beraha & James GIlchrist
Purcell Room, Tuesday 20 November
Loose Tubes flautist and composer Eddie Parker has a life-long passion for the music of Claude Debussy. To celebrate the composer in his centenary year Eddie and the ensemble have created a repertoire which takes Debussy’s music as a starting point and leads our ears on a fascinating journey. This unique new ensemble combines the forces of twelve outstanding jazz and classical performers, and features at centre stage the vocal virtuosity of Brigitte Beraha and James Gilchrist.
Myra Melford – Snowy Egret
Kings Place, Hall 1, Thursday 22 November
Pianist and composer Myra Melford is one of the most distinctive voices in today’s jazz, drawing from American vernacular musics to create music that is ‘lean, lithe and appealing’ (Wall Street Journal). A serial award-winner, she makes a long-awaited foray into the UK with a band that displays her ability to write music that draws out the very best from an awesomely talented line-up of trumpeter Ron Miles, guitarist Liberty Ellman, Stomu Takeishi on bass, and drummer Gerald Cleaver.
BBC Young Jazz Musician 2018
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Saturday 24 November
We are delighted that the EFG London Jazz Festival will host the BBC Young Jazz Musician 2018 Final. The Festival is the perfect place to see new talent in action as we are renowned for showcasing the work of the next generation of British jazz. The inclusion of the BBC Young Jazz Musician 2018 Final into our programme will help us continue to raise the profile of jazz and provide our audiences with the opportunity to be the first to hear the rising stars of tomorrow.
Madeleine Peyroux - the ‘Anthem’ tour
Royal Festival Hall, Saturday 24 November
Madeleine Peyroux returns to London with a new album Anthem and a full band. The Guardian called her 'a great interpreter of a poetic lyric' – with a title song by Leonard Cohen, and the rest of the album written by Madeleine with a string of major co-writers, she creates what she describes as a 'cast of Raymond Carver-esque characters'.
This show forms part of the EFG Excellence Series.

The World Gone Mad - 1899-1919 Jass, Ragtime, Tin Pan Alley and the Blues
Cadogan Hall, Saturday 24 November
Richard Pite & The Jazz Repertory Company present the music of British composers and bands responding to the new musical influences coming from over the Atlantic. They end in 1919 as this was the year when the first American jazz bands visited Great Britain – the extraordinarily successful Original Dixieland Jazz Band and The Southern Syncopators featuring the great Sidney Bechet.
The music of this time is now largely unknown. African-American and European traditions were blended to create something new which has dominated our musical lives ever since. Come and discover how it began.
Bill Laurance & WDR Big Band
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Sunday 25 November
A brand new collaboration between Snarky Puppy’s keyboard virtuoso and the mighty WDR Big Band, led by Bob Mintzer
Alongside his Grammy-winning achievements with Snarky Puppy, Bill Laurance has been pursuing a fascinating solo career, marked by a highly-rated debut album Flint and his most recent release, recorded live at Union Chapel. Widely travelled as a soloist and producer, his solo projects demonstrate an intensely individual approach to both acoustic and electric keyboards and - his talent as composer evidenced in collaborations with dance companies worldwide as well as his own projects - will provide the platform for his new adventures with one of the world’s leading jazz big bands and Grammy award winners, the WDR Big Band, whose own Grammy-winning milestones include albums with the Brecker Brother and Patti Austin.