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London Jazz Festival

The EFG London Jazz Festival 2015 gets underway from this Friday with many venues taking part.

A major fixture on London’s musical calendar, the EFG London Jazz Festival is 23 years old this year. This year’s festival (Friday 13th – Sunday 22nd November 2015) has more than 300 gigs at over 50 venues throughout the city.

The 2015 London Jazz Festival features some of the biggest names in jazz (Keith Jarrett, Kurt Elling, Jamie Cullum) as well as some of the more avant garde players mining the cutting edge of free jazz and improvisation. If you’re unsure where to start, here are five great gigs taking place in the first five days of the festival:

Friday 13th November
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA

A double drum attack from Sebastian Rochford (Polar Bear) and Tom Skinner (The Grip) complimented by the bass-substitute tuba of Theon Cross. Add to that the saxophone/clarinet playing of Shabaka Hutchings and you have no excuse not to go and see a fiery, percussive monster putting jazz, dub, reggae and punk through their unique musical filter.

Saturday 14th November
Café Oto, 18-22 Ashwin Street, Dalston, E8 3DL

Day 2 of a 4-day residency at Café Oto, this is the perfect venue to see the Australian improvising trio in action. They have gained an impressive reputation and loyal fanbase around the world for their hour-long, hypnotic sets of minimalist jazz. Also recommended to fans of Steve Reich and the Aphex Twin.

Sunday 15th November
Bull’s Head, 373 Lonsdale Road, Barnes, SW13 9PY

Partikel are a young trio comprising of bass, drums and the wonderful tenor saxophone of Duncan Eagles. In the short space of 5 years and 3 albums they have managed to create their own distinctive style combining African and Latin influences to contemporary jazz. For this show they will be augmented by Benet McLean on violin to play tracks from their new album String Theory.

Monday 16th November
Ray’s Jazz at Foyles, Level 6, 107 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0DT

As well as releasing their critically acclaimed debut album, Dreamland, 2014 saw this band awarded the European Young Jazz Artist of the Year prize. Galvin is a prodigiously talented pianist and composer who incorporates classical and improvisational elements into the band’s sound. Get along to Foyles to see what the fuss is all about. Only £5!

Tuesday 17th November
Barbican, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS

Born in Beirut and raised in Paris, Maalouf manages to infuse his music with an Arabic flavour even when playing straight-ahead jazz, like on his wonderful 2012 album, Wind. Expect a heady fusion of jazz, classical and World Music from a master trumpeter. As an added bonus, this is double-header with renowned drummer Manu Katché.

These are just five personal picks but there are many, many more gigs to choose from. Go to the London Jazz Festival website to investigate.