From this Friday (August 16th), fans of jazz in all its forms will feel right at home in one of London’s biggest business districts. The Canary Wharf Jazz Festival celebrates one of the world’s most exciting and innovative musical genres – and what’s more, it’s absolutely free to attend.
Organisers reckon the festival is London’s single biggest jazz event – a full three days of live music, with a packed programme that comprises both world-renowned ensembles and the genre’s fastest-rising stars.
Whether you’re a fan of ragtime, big band, bebop, free jazz or fusion, there should be plenty of amazing gigs to enjoy. Even those whose tastes typically lean towards genres like rock’n’roll and hip-hop might make a few exciting discoveries at the festival.
Proceedings kick off on Friday evening with Roller Trio – a homegrown British band who combine tenor sax solos with rock riffs and electronic loops. They’re followed by Soweto Kinch, an award-winning saxophonist who’s made a name for himself in both the British jazz and hip-hop scenes.
On Saturday, meanwhile, a proliferation of international talent graces the Canary Wharf Jazz Festival. Acts include the Nathaniel Facey Quartet and Omar Puente – a Cuban violin virtuoso who’s worked with the likes of Nigel Kennedy, Jools Holland and Courtney Pine. Organisers promise Puente’s headline performance will be “eminently danceable” – the Buena Vista Social Club is a major influence.
Finally, topping a bill that includes the Zoe Rahman Quartet, Jason Rebello and Ian Shaw, the festival concludes on Sunday with the Carleen Anderson Soul Trio. Amy Winehouse once claimed that everyone should see Anderson “at least three times in their life”, which gives some indication of the esteem in which this American soul singer is held.
Taking place in Canada Square Park, the Canary Wharf Jazz Festival should prove easy to reach for those staying in luxury London hotels this week. The Canary Wharf tube stop is just around the corner.