Preview: Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival 2019

(Josh Smith)

Now in its seventh year and experiencing an annual 50% increase in audience numbers, the Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival has gradually announced itself as one of the city’s biggest music events. With Colston Hall currently in the midst of its huge £48.8 million rejuvenation project, the hosting of this year’s festival – which features some of the best jazz and blues from the UK, Europe and the United States – will be shared between St George’s, O2 Academy and the Anson Rooms.

A stacked programme running from the evening of Friday 22nd until late on Sunday 24th March will feature a bona fide feast of musical excellence. Much lauded American singer China Moss is sure to maximize the glorious acoustics of St George as she fronts a project especially commisioned by the festival to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Billie Holiday’s final album Lady in Satin. Former James Brown and Van Morrison cohort Pee-Wee Ellis returns to the city to premiere a new project which features performances of his favourite ballads, blues and bossa nova compositions alongside a string orchestra and rhythm section.

(Pee Wee Ellis)

The jazz side of the programme also includes world leading accordianist Richard Galliano, Moscow Drug Club performing their heady blend of Berlin cabaret, hot club de Paris and Tango and some local representation in the form of Bristol born composer Keith Tippett who makes a welcome return to the stage with exciting pianist Matthew Bourne.

The blues element of the festival is extremely well represented, particularly with the arrival into the city of virtuoso guitarists Kirk Fletcher and Josh Smith, the former a hit at 2016’s festival and the latter heralded as one of the greatest blues guitarists of today’s scene. The Fix will be on hand with full reviews of both musician’s hotly anticipated performances at the Anson Rooms.

Festival favourites Aynsley Lister, Ian Siegel and The Bristol Bluesmen make a welcome return while the blues programme is topped off by American contemporary blues legend Lucky Peterson.

Workshops and conversations will also take place at the Winston & Pegg Theatres at the Bristol Students’ Union building and there is a programme of free performances in the Colston Hall foyer and Anson Rooms.

The 2019 incarnation of the festival is sure to be another fantastic exhibition of live music so be sure to purchase tickets now.

For tickets and full line up details, visit the festival’s offical website

Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival takes place on 22-24 March 2019