Five of the best at Leith music festival

Freddie King, Leith Jazz . Pic: Compand Blues Festival
Freddie King, Leith Jazz . Pic: Compand Blues Festival
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ALL roads lead to Leith over the next couple of weeks as excitement mounts for the annual Pageant and Gala Day later this month.

Before all that, however, there are three days of free entertainment on offer across the Port as The Leith Jazz and Blues Festival tranforms the Capital’s docklands into a swinging musical haven.

With more than 40 gigs in 20 venues, the big question is what to see? Here’s five highlights we have on very good authority are worth checking out.

FREDDIE KING & LACHLAN MACCOLL, Malmaison, Tower Place, today, 5pm

BEBOP, ballads and blues, all spun afresh with impeccable timing and consummate ease, Freddie is a singer’s singer and a jazzman through and through. He can be off the wall with his scat singing, boplicity and penchant for all-out vocal mayhem, but is equally happy using his quintessentially rich timbre, astonishing range and masterly control to bring timeless ballads to life.

TRIO AAB, Courtyard outside Anfora and the Malt Whisky Society, Giles Street, tomorrow, 3pm

A POWERHOUSE live act featuring three giants of the Scottish jazz scene in the shape of twin brothers Phil and Tom Bancroft plus Kevin Mackenzie. Determined to have great fun whilst exploring a whole range of influences – from post Ornette bop, ECM jazz, Celtic folk, drum and bass, house, the Sound of Music, and indie rock – Trio AAB are living, breathing proof that jazz can go to the edge and still keep a smile on its face.

JENSEN INTERCEPTORS, Constitution Bar, Constitution Street, tomorrow, 10.30pm

FRONTED by harmonica ace and effervescent showman Gary Martin, this is one of the most authentic and exciting Blues bands to hit the UK scene in recent years. Playing in the classic blues style, the band tear through a mix of covers by the likes of Slim Harpo, Little Walter, T’Bone Walker and Muddy Waters as well as their own originals which are all delivered with the authentic Jensen spin.

SOPHIE BANCROFT TRIO, Café Tartine, Commercial Street, Sunday, 5pm

FEATURING phenomenal American composer and pianist Louis Durra, as well as Tom Lyne on bass, the audience will be taken on a journey of love and loss, intertwined with the spirit of Scotland’s natural beauty, which is an inspiration for much of Sophie’s writing.

PAUL MILLS BAND, Wolf and Water, Commercial Street, Sunday, 10.30pm

THE funkiest drummer in town, Paul Mills (formerly of Average White Band, Hue & Cry and many more great bands), brings his band to the Shore’s newest drinking den for a session which is certain to bring the curtain down on this year’s festival in real style.

Leith Jazz and Blues Festival, today-Sunday, free, various times and venues, for full details of programme visit www.leithjazz.com/