Jazz Festival is going large

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‘Bigger, bolder and better than ever’ is the boast of the 18th annual Manchester Jazz Festival, which starts tomorrow.

The event has become one of the biggest highlights on the city’s ever-busier entertainment calendar, appealing not only to jazz fans but attracting a wide audience from Manchester, the UK and beyond.

There’s a huge programme of music, featuring more than 70 bands and spanning 10 days.

Artistic director Steve Mead explains: “It’s all about celebrating good music with great company in relaxing surroundings.”

More than 20 gigs are free and the festival also boasts four bespoke strands.

These include MJF international, which is bringing the most applauded jazz acts from France, Spain and Luxembourg, with some sought after debut UK appearances

There is also MJF introduces, which features the very best of young talent from the North West, and there is MJF afternoon tea – showing off sophisticated jazz in the elegant surroundings of the city’s iconic rock star hangout, the Midland Hotel.

And finally, there will be MJF originals, where every year a new work is unveiled.

This year holds a particular treat with the premiere of The Felonious Monks, which is the brainchild of saxophonist Mike Hall and early music specialist Debbie Rogers, and fuses jazz with Renaissance music.

Other festival highlights will include: The BBC Big Band with Claire Martin, who will be exploring the Great American Songbook; US sax legend Pharoah Sanders Quartet; Manchester’s Stuart McCallum; BBC New Generation artist Trish Clowes with Tangent; magical Mancunian songstress Kirsty Almeida & The Troubadours; Gilles 
Peterson favourites GoGo Penguin; and the Matthew Halsall Sextet.

For box office, visit www.manchesterjazz.com.