EFG London Jazz Festival at the Barbican 

Friday 12 – Sunday 21 November 2021

Featured artists across the festival at the Barbican include Archie Shepp & Jason Moran + Shirley Tetteh; Aynur + Melisa Yildirim; Marcel Khalifé & Bachar Mar-Khalifé; Avishai Cohen + Nikki Yeoh; London Symphony Orchestra & Soweto Kinch; Charles Lloyd + Nérija; and [pictured] Brad Mehldau

Following an exceptional digital edition last year, the annual EFG London Jazz Festival returns in November 2021, produced by Barbican Associate Producer Serious. The programme of live performances features an electrifying line-up of global stars, jazz masters, cutting edge bands, special collaborations, and the finest and freshest music. Festival events at the Barbican include concerts in the hall, a FreeStage programme as well as a season in our cinemas. Full listings details below and here.  

BARBICAN HALL – FULL PROGRAMME DETAILS

Archie Shepp & Jason Moran: Let My People Go
+ Shirley Tetteh  Part of EFG London Jazz Festival 2021
Fri 12 Nov 2021, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm 
Tickets £25 – 40 plus booking fee

The EFG London Jazz Festival at the Barbican kicks off with a musical dialogue between two jazz visionaries from different generations: Saxophone player, composer, pianist, singer, musical and political mastermind Archie Shepp and modern jazz icon, pianist, composer and multidisciplinary artist Jason Moran, will be performing music from their 2021 live duo album Let My People Go. Guitarist Shirley Tetteh of Nérija and Maisha opens the show with a solo set.

Bringing their shared devotion for African American culture, identity and history into this musical conversation, the duo carves their sound with their own contemporary angles.

After playing together at festivals across Europe, Archie Shepp and Jason Moran nurtured a friendship shaped by their common inspirations such as Duke Ellington, Fats Waller and Thelonius Monk, leading to the release of a collection of live recordings on Let My People Go.

Produced by the Barbican in association with EFG London Jazz Festival
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Aynur + Melisa Yildirim
Part of EFG London Jazz Festival 2021
Sun 14 Nov 2021, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm
Tickets £25 – 32.50 plus booking fee

This special date is a rare London solo show from perhaps the most prominent Kurdish singer of our times, Aynur, whose impressive voice and extraordinary musical narration represent the music heritage of her cultural roots to the world.

Having collaborated with a wide range of acclaimed artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Kayhan Kalhor, Javier Limón, Kinan Azmeh and the NDR Big Band, she has appeared in several documentaries including Fatih Akın’s documentary Crossing the Bridge / The Sound of Istanbul and Morgan Neville’s documentary about Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, The Music of Strangers.

Multi award-winning kamancha (spiked fiddle) player and composer, Melisa Yıldırım opens the concert with a solo set full of rich melodies, maqam improvisations and hypnotic timbre.

Produced by the EFG London Jazz Festival 
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Marcel Khalifé & Bachar Mar-Khalifé
Part of EFG London Jazz Festival 2021
Mon 15 Nov 2021, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm
Tickets £25 – 40 plus booking fee

Lebanese oud master Marcel Khalifé returns to the Barbican in Mahmoud, Marcel and I – a show created by his son, French Lebanese singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Bachar Mar-Khalifé, to celebrate his musical legacy.

Honouring the music of his father, Marcel Khalifé, and accompanied by him on stage, Bachar Mar-Khalifé weaves the words of Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish through this iconic oud music. He says, ‘I’m crafting a music that will recompose the universe that Mahmoud and Marcel once shared; it’s these two men that I will showcase on stage.’

Bachar Khalifé grew up in a war-torn Lebanon sound-tracked by his father’s music. Now a respected musician in his own right, he has collaborated with artists as diverse as techno producer Carl Craig, jazz pianists Bojan Z and Francesco Tristano and electronic musician Murcof, bringing traditional Arab music into exciting new settings.

Produced by the EFG London Jazz Festival 
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Avishai Cohen + Nikki Yeoh’s Café Oran
Part of EFG London Jazz Festival 2021
Tue 16 Nov 2021, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm
Tickets £25 – 40 plus booking fee

Acclaimed bassist and jazz composer Avishai Cohen performs with his trio, with support from Nikki Yeoh’s Café Oran project.

Over the past two decades Avishai Cohen has developed a vital blend of traditions, cultures, languages and styles – from Hebrew and Ladino folk songs alongside pulsating contemporary jazz in his original compositions. With this new trio line-up featuring pianist Elchin Shirinov and drummer Roni Kaspi, they will perform music from the trio albums as well as new compositions yet to be released.

Nikki Yeohs Café Oran project opens the evening’s performance, celebrating the music of Maurice El Médioni. A self-taught pianist, Médioni frequented Oran‘s American bars in the 1940s, where he played boogie-woogie and Cuban music fused with the distinct influences with Arabic music. Nikki Yeoh’s trio combine his music with her own compositions.

Produced by Serious. Part of the EFG London Jazz Festival 
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Soweto Kinch/London Symphony Orchestra: White Juju

Part of EFG London Jazz Festival 2021
Fri 19 Nov 2021, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm
Tickets £18 – 35 plus booking fee & £12.50 (livestream)

Lee Reynolds conductor

Soweto Kinch saxophone & vocals

London Symphony Orchestra

The Barbican’s Resident Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, collaborates with Soweto Kinch, one of the most exciting and versatile young musicians in British jazz and hip hop. This concert will also be livestreamed from the Barbican Hall.

The programme features the world premiere of Soweto Kinch’s new work for orchestra, written in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Black British history and the past eighteen months of lockdown. 

Commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra and Serious, White Juju is made up of six new works for jazz quintet and chamber orchestra. Beginning with the deafening silence of quarantine in 2020, it conjures sounds such as a bird call in Central Park, and the statue of a slaver crashing into Bristol’s River Avon, interwoven with Kinch’s barbed lyrics. The piece is deliberately danceable and intentionally seeks to subvert expectations of orchestral music. 

Kinch’s music melds his distinct approach to jazz and hip hop with Classical music: drawing broad inspiration from European folklore, the African Diaspora and myth to create a contemporary tone poem. 

Produced by the LSO
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Charles Lloyd + Nérija
Part of EFG London Jazz Festival 2021
Sat 20 Nov 2021, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm
Tickets £25 – 40 plus booking fee

Spiritual jazz saxophone legend Charles Lloyd takes audiences on a journey that explores the realms of wonder and beauty.

Accompanied by a powerful band featuring Gerald Clayton on piano, Reuben Rogers on double-bass and Kendrick Scott on drums, he performs music from a career spanning over six decades.

Cemented as one of the greats of our time, Charles Lloyd has worked with jazz, blues and rock giants including B.B. King, Ornette Coleman, The Byrds, The Grateful Dead and many more. From his early albums for Atlantic through his great recordings for ECM and now Blue Note Records, he has never stopped experimenting with new sounds, new techniques and new collaborations.

Support comes from septet Nérija, made up of stars of the London jazz scene Nubya Garcia, Sheila Maurice-GreyCassie KinoshiRosie TurtonShirley TettehLizy Exell and Rio Kai.

Produced by the Barbican in association with EFG London Jazz Festival
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Brad Mehldau
Part of EFG London Jazz Festival 2021
Sun 21 Nov 2021, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm
Tickets £25 – 40 plus booking fee

Pianist Brad Mehldau, alongside his longtime trio featuring bassist Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard on drums, continues to push the paradigms of jazz and classical performance.

Over the last two decades, Brad Mehldau has forged a unique path through jazz exploration, classical romanticism, and pop allure. Across notable collaborations with Pat Metheny, Anne Sofie von Otter, Renée Fleming, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and more, he has inspired a range of expression and intensity and cultivated an undeniable voice in contemporary jazz.

Produced by Serious. Part of the EFG London Jazz Festival.

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CINEMA PROGRAMME

Jazz and The City
EFG London Jazz Festival
Sat 13 Nov – Thu 18 Nov
Barbican Cinema 1
This programme brings together a selection of films which, in their own unique way, capture the relationship between jazz and the city.

From providing a sonic accompaniment to questions of inequality, racial discrimination and urban ennui of London’s black community in the Black Audio Film Collective’s Who Needs A Heart (UK 1991), to its role in community building in South Central LA in When It Rains (US 1995, Dir Charles Burnett), each film positions jazz music as emanating from the experiences of those occupying the city.
Further highlights also include: Paris Blues (US 1961 Dir Martin Ritt 98 min 35 mm presentation), a portrait of 1960s Paris which centres around two jazz musicians (played by Sidney Poitier and Paul Newman) living in self-imposed exile from the US; and Young Man with a Horn (US 1949, Dir Michael Curtis), starring Hollywood legends Kirk Douglas, Doris Day and Lauren Bacall, in a fictionalised account about the life of the jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke.

Paris Blues (12A) (35mm)
US 1961, Dir Martin Ritt, 98 min
Part of EFG London Jazz Fest: Jazz and the City
Sat 13 Nov 2021, Barbican Cinema 1, 4pm
Tickets £12 plus booking fee

A portrait of 1960s Paris, Paris Blues centres around two jazz musicians (Sidney Poitier and Paul Newman) living in self-imposed exile from the US.

The iconic leads are magnificent, supported by Joanne Woodward and Diahann Carroll, and the film benefits from a superb soundtrack composed by the great Duke Ellington, featuring a notable supporting performance from the legendary Louis Armstrong as well as an appearance by jazz pianist Aaron Bridgers.

Screening from a 35mm print, the film serves as a snapshot to a particular period where Paris provided a refuse for artists and would become an important site for African American jazz musicians across the 1920s and the ensuing decades. Through the figures of Poitier, Armstrong, Bridgers and Carroll, these legacies are channelled as the film alludes to the racism of the United States they had sought to leave behind.

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No Maps on My Taps (PG)*US 1979, Dir George NierenbergAbout Tap (PG)*
US 1985, Dir George Nierenberg
Part of EFG London Jazz Fest: Jazz and the City
Sun 14 Nov 2021,  Barbican Cinema 1, 4pm
Tickets £12 plus booking fee

These two documentaries, No Maps on My Taps and About Tap, shine a light onto the pioneers of tap dancing. 

The recently restored No Maps on My Taps provides a portrait of the dancers Bunny BriggsChuck Green, and Harold “Sandman” Sims, capturing their relationship to tap and their continued commitment to dancing. When released in 1979, the documentary helped to kick start a revival of sorts, leading to renewed interest in the films three performers and generating a stream of concerts and international tours.

The two films reflect the integral role of jazz music and Broadway to tap dancing, and the decline in popularity in both, led to the decrease of relevance and attention tap. Both films also document the centrality of the city to the creation and popularity of tap, highlighting the role of the urban space through its nightlife and clubs as providing a spectacle and temporary escape from the inequality and social instability of the period.

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Young Man with a Horn (PG) (35mm)
US 1949, Dir Michael Curtis
 + Jazz of Lights (PG) (16mm)
US 1954, Dir Ian Hugo, 16 mins
Part of EFG London Jazz Fest: Jazz and the City
Wed 17 Nov 2021, Barbican Cinema 1, 6pm
Tickets £12 plus booking fee

Screening from a 35mm print, Michael Curtis’ Young Man with a Horn, starring Hollywood legends Kirk DouglasDoris Day and Lauren Bacall, is a fictionalised account of jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke.

Beiderbecke’s whose life and career has become one of the key legends of jazz, defined as it was by tragedy, and the eternal struggle between artistic expression and commerce. Playing fast and loose with the real life of Beiderbecke, the film takes on a melancholic look at the figure of the musician and is notable for the performance of Bacall whose character of Amy is subtlety coded as a lesbian, despite the conservative restrictions imposed by Hays Code at that period.

Adding a layer of authenticity to the jazz world, environment is the presence of famed musician Hoagy Carmichael, who plays a supporting role with trumpeter Harry James dubbing the trumpet solos.

Jazz of Lights, showing on 16mm, is a jazz inspired psychedelic city symphony, featuring appearances by famed musician Moondog, shot along Times Square.

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Who Needs a Heart (12A)*UK 1991, Dir Black Audio Film Collective
When It Rains 
(12A)*
US 1995, Dir Charles Burnett
Part of EFG London Jazz Fest: Jazz and the City
Thu 18 Nov 2021, Barbican Cinema 1, 6pm
Tickets £12 plus booking fee

Two films where jazz functions as part of the social and emotional fabric of the city. 

Charles Burnett’s short is shot in South Central LA and elegantly captures the potential for jazz to build and sustain a community, as he depicts a musician trying to raise money to halt a mother being evicted from her apartment.  

Featuring music from Albert AylerJohn ColtraneEric Dolphy and a whole host of jazz luminaries, this fascinating film by the Black Audio Film Collective paints a portrait of London in the 1960s and 1970s, depicting a multitude of experiences of the British Black Power organisation and those touched by the impact of the group. The soundtrack, composed by Trevor Matheson, is an impressionistic wonder, seeking to capture the political, social complexities of the time and their impact on the emotional psyche of the individuals effected.

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FREESTAGE EVENTS

As part of the Festival there will be free live performances presented on the Barbican FreeStage.

J to Z Presents  

Part of EFG London Jazz Festival 2021

Sun 14 Nov 2021, Barbican Level G, 2-6pm  

Admission Free

J to Z, BBC Radio 3’s prime time jazz programme, celebrating the best in jazz – past present and future present a day of free performances from some of London’s most exciting musicians, broadcast live from the Barbican FreeStage. J to Z Presents, hosted by Kevin Le Gendre is joined by saxophonist and member of mercury nominated SEED ensemble, Chelsea Carmichael, The Banger Factory’s Mark Kavuma and his quartet, a solo performance from piano virtuoso Nikki Yeoh and drummer, Myele Manazana as they present ground-breaking jazz.  

Produced by EFG London Jazz Festival

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Now Here We Are with NoJo Airlines

Part of EFG London Jazz Festival 2021

Sat 20 Nov 2021, Barbican Level G, 5.30 – 6.45pm   

Admission Free

NoJo Airlines, a team of passengers and pilots from New York, Naples and Lithuania, take over the Barbican FreeStage at this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival.

Founded by D. Naujokaitis-Naujo, member of Butch Morris’ Nublu Orchestra and solo artist in 2020, the Nojo Airlines crew began as a virtual collaboration of over 40 musicians, poets and friends from Japan, the USA, France, Italy, Spain, England and Lithuania. It is now a changeable line-up of performers; for this London show, they bring a 20-strong ensemble onto the stage, including Italian artist, philosopher and poet, Giuseppe Zevola; saxophonist Jonathon Haffner; pianist and composer Gintė Preisaitė; contemporary artist Eugenijus Varkulevičius-Varkalis and a collection of young Lithuanian musicians.

Produced by the EFG London Jazz Festival

Presented with Vilnius Jazz Festival

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Noemi Nuti

Part of EFG London Jazz Festival 2021

Sun 21 Nov 2021, Barbican Level G, 6-7pm   

Admission Free

New York-born, London-based singer and harpist Noemi Nuti presents pieces from her second album, Venus Eye, a celebration of the female perspective in song form. Joined by Chris Eldred (piano), Jason Reyes (bass) and Ben Brown (drums), Noemi’s powerful voice, lyrics and harp playing is one not to be missed.

Produced by the EFG London Jazz Festival

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