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Manchester Jazz Festival to bring ‘the sound of surprise’ to the city in May

Tickets have gone on sale today for Manchester's Jazz Festival with an eclectic roster of artists for you to enjoy.

Manchester’s biggest Jazz event is set to take place between the 19th – 28th of May 2023 at Venues across Manchester.

Manchester Jazz Festival (mjf) is set to showcase the latest up-and-coming talent from Manchester and the North of England, and also some amazing performers from across the globe.

Just some of the great musicians set to be featured are Hot 8 Brass Band, Buena Vista Social Club’s Eliades Ochoa, Mica Millar, Billy Cobham, Arun Ghosh, Fred Wesley and the New J.B.’s, Yemi Bolatiwa alongside many, many more amazing performers.

We spoke to mjf’s CEO and Artistic Director, Steve Mead, who said: ” “We can’t wait to welcome you back to our 10-day festival – the 28th mjf – to share some hugely inspiring artists with a host of venues and partners across the city.

“mjf is acknowledged for championing northern talent, under-the-radar artists and debuts of new music, as well as bringing some big names to Manchester, and of course for celebrating the diversity of our music and its artists.

“For many, mjf is the sound of surprise – it’s the sound we love and we hope you will too.

“We can’t wait for you to join us.”

The festival begins with a spectacular FREE opening weekend at the new vibrant neighbourhood: First Street (mjf @ First Street) from 19 – 21 May 2023.

There will be three event stages: Main Stage, Garden Stage and HOME stage, each celebrating the breadth and individuality of Manchester’s home-grown scene: bands from, or with a strong connection to, the North.

There are weekday gigs at St Ann’s Church, nightly gigs at Matt & Phreds, events at Forsyth Music Shop and The Yard with partners NQ Jazz, with a couple of cheeky additions at The Blues Kitchen. The festival closes with an extended weekend-long party at Band on the Wall.

mjf are also hosting a new commission *THEMORY taking place at The International Anthony Burgess Foundation – an immersive audiovisual installation, drawing from the subjective and fluid forces of family and history, place and time.

Ticket prices range from free to £35 but there’s plenty of free-to-access music and activities taking place at locations across the city centre, including the whole opening weekender: mjf @ First Street.

Highlights of the festival programme are as follows:  

mjf @ First Street, 19 – 21 May

Wizards of Twiddly, Yemi Bolatiwa, Good Habits, Ni Maxine, Charlotte Keeffe’s Right Here Right Now Quartet, Nick Walters, Ferg’s Imaginary Big Band, Apollo House, Nasa Parka, Moby Dickless, Aaron Wood & James Girling, Gary Washington Quartet, Rory A. Green, Paint or Pollen, J2oh and Moore & Fairhall.

As well as some of the North’s leading artists gracing the Main Stage on Friday and Saturday (19 – 20 May), some of Greater Manchester’s 18-25-year-old bands from mjf’s soundcheck talent development programme, and a selection of mjf hothouse alumni artists, will perform on the Garden Stage and on Sunday (21 May) mjf partners with Jazz North to celebrate 10 years of the northern line touring support scheme: showcasing five acts selected by industry leaders.

The Yard, presented in association with NQ Jazz, 22 – 24 May

Donovan Haffer, Alina Bzhezhinska’s HipHarp Collective ft. Tony Kofi and Nathaniel Facey Trio

St Ann’s Church, 24 – 26 May

Freight Train featuring Paul Clavis, Liam Noble & Cathy Jordan, Robert Mitchell and Stan Sulzmann & Nikki Iles

Matt and Phreds, 19 – 27 May

Alligator Gumbo, Henry Botham’s New Orleans Piano Gumbo, Los Chichanos, Arun Ghosh, M&P x mjf Open Jam, Cuba Vida Salsa Band, The Chanteuse, Jim Wallace, Baiana, Dan Burnett and Deadbeat Brass.

Band on the Wall, 25 – 28 May

Mica Millar, Rosie Frater-Taylor, Band on the Wall triple-bill: Robocobra, Romarna Campbell & Marcus Joseph, Hot 8 Brass Band (*at Albert Hall, promoted by Band on the Wall and mjf), Julie Campiche Quartet, Hannabiell & The Midnight Blue Collective and Buena Vista Social Club’s Eliades Ochoa.

Forsyths, 25 – 26 May

Nishla Smith – The Beast, The James Pearson Trio (Ronnie Scott’s) – 100 Years of Jazz Piano

The Blue’s Kitchen, 23 – 24 May

Fred Wesley & The New J.B.’s and Miles Davis: Kind of Blue with Olivia Cuttill Quintet

You can see the full line up and buy tickets by clicking here.

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