In March 2013 the very first Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival, exploded onto the city’s music scene with over 6000 attendees. The follow up promises to be every bit as spectacular with a jam packed programme taking over Colston Hall for three days from March 7 to 9, 2014.
So what does the 2014 line-up have to offer? Highlights include world famous funksters Pee Wee Ellis & Fred Wesley with their Funk All Stars, godfathers of World Music, Osibisa, Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste of The Meters fame, Bristol’s own jazz superstars Get the Blessing, Andy Sheppard, Iain Ballamy, Alan Barnes & Howard Alden Quintet, New Orleans living legend Lillian Boutté and former Steely Dan guitarist Elliot Randall.
Pioneers of World Music, Osibisa paved the way for artists like Bob Marley with three top ten hits including Sunshine Day, Dance the Body Music and Coffee Song. Their highlife rock and soul will provide a foundation shaking start to the festival on Friday March 7.
And the party will continue, on Friday night, with The Big Band Swing Dance when Colston Hall will be transformed into a 1940s style ballroom with Lindy Hopping, Jitterbugging and Jiving courtesy of the 17-piece Bruce/Ilett Big Band.
On Saturday, Pee Wee Ellis and Fred Wesley will take Colston Hall back to time when soul reigned supreme, with their Funk All Stars. Ellis and Wesley were part of the greatest ever horn section, The JB’s, who toured, recorded and wrote for James Brown in the 60s and 70s.
Founding member of The Meters, Zigaboo Modeliste – the “King of the Funky Drummers” – will perform with his Big Chiefs on Saturday. Zigaboo set the beat that New Orleans grooved to for over a decade so the audience can expect floor fillers from The Meters’ song book and a party New Orleans would be proud of.
The BIJ & BF has also commissioned two special projects centred on the talents of Bristol based ensembles. For The Gershwin Spectacular, the dazzling Big Buzzard Big Band will be joined on stage by three choirs with one of the UK’s leading jazz vocalists, Jacqui Dankworth, for new arrangements of some of Gershwin’s best-loved songs.
In another of the Festival’s commissions, celebrated pianist Kate Williams and her trio, backed by the Bristol Ensemble, will perform new orchestral arrangements of Bill Evans’ compositions and works by Ravel, Debussy and Satie.
Lilian Boutte, makes a most welcome return to the BIJ & BF, this time with her glorious New Orleans’ Gospel Project. Inheriting the mantel of New Orleans’ Official Music Ambassador from Louis Armstrong, BIJ & BF patron Lillian Boutté, blew the audience away with her standout performance at last year’s festival.
And Bristol’s own jazz stars stand their own amongst this international line up. The storming rock and avant jazz outfit, Get the Blessing, will close the festival with the launch of their new album while fellow Bristolian Andy Sheppard hosts two concerts with guitarist John Parricelli and Italian percussionist Michele Rabbia.
The only question now, is how to fit it all in?