Cambridge International Jazz Festival 2017 celebrates 100 years of Jazz

Blue Lab Beats and The ElecTrio will perform at the Cambridge International Jazz Festival.

Blue Lab Beats and The ElecTrio will perform at the Cambridge International Jazz Festival. - Credit: Archant

Cambridge International Jazz Festival returns to the city this month to celebrate 100 years of jazz.

The centenary of some of its biggest stars, including Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk, the Brewin Dolphin Cambridge International Jazz Festival takes place from November 11 to 26 at venues across the city. There’s plenty of action to help celebrate the #jazz100 campaign and many other notable anniversaries with some of the big names of jazz.

Thelonious Monk is remembered at a ‘Monk Movie Night’ on November 12 (5-8pm) at Anglia Ruskin University, with screenings of ‘Straight No Chaser’ and ‘The Jazz Baroness’. After the screenings, there will be live tribute music at the Tram Depot across the road from Cambridge’s Andy Bowie Quartet featuring young UK saxophonist and composer Sam Miles.

Jazz poet, musician, spoken word performer, author and seen by many as ‘the Godfather of Rap’, Gil Scott Heron features in four tribute projects. On November 17, performance poet Malik Al Nasir will be giving a talk ‘Artists as Activists’ at the Centre of Latin American Studies (Judith E Wilson Drama Studio, 5-7pm).

Malik reprises his music with ‘Malik and the OGs’ at the University Centre Wine Bar with some of the UK’s finest Jazz musicians on 18 November. The following day he will be joined by Gil’s son, Rumal Rackley, for Q&As and Classic Album Sundays high-end presentation of ‘Pieces of a Man’ screens at Hidden Rooms (2:00pm) with showings of ‘Word Up – From Ghetto to Mecca’ and ‘Who is Gil Scott Heron’ at the Arts Picturehouse from 8:00pm.

On 18 November, ‘Stan Tracey’s Hexad’ celebrates the 90th Birthday of ‘The Godfather of British Jazz’ with a band put together in celebratory mode by drummer son Clark Tracey, who played in Stan’s band from the age of 18. Clark has chosen some of today’s best musicians from a new generation to represent Stan Tracey’s music: Sean Payne, Chris Maddock, Daniel Casimir, Ashley Henry and Alex Ridout (winner of BBC Young Musician Jazz Award 2016).

Ahead of their Royal Albert Hall performance, Blues & Roots Ensemble will be presenting The Music of Charles Mingus with a concert and workshop at Anglia Ruskin University’s Music Recital Room on 19 November. The band perform original and creative arrangements of Mingus’ music, from his earliest blues pieces to his advanced, socially-inspired compositions from the 60s and 70s.

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Ella Fitzgerald is celebrated in two affectionate tributes, Ella: Queen of Jazz on 19 November at Hotel Felix, with author/illustrator Helen Hancocks and award-winning vocal/piano duo, Miriam Ast & Victor Gutierrez. Featuring a selection of Ella’s famous songs, live illustration, plus a short reading and chat about Helen’s latest book and its themes. The inspiring, true story of how a remarkable friendship between Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe was born, and how they worked together to overcome prejudice and adversity. Embraceable Ella, follows on 20 November at Hot Number coffee, with local legends, Joanna Eden & Chris Ingham duo.

To celebrate a century of jazz, community big band the sensational London Gay Big Band will blast off a Big Band Bonanza from 4.30pm on 19 November. With support from the Cambridge Groove Orchestra this is sure to be one big, lovely, lively #jazz100 day to remember.

Full listings and tickets can be found at