Liam Rudden: Catch stars of the future at the Jazz & Blues Festival

Fergus McCreadie
Fergus McCreadie
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ARE you ready to get into the swing? The fact that the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year is testament to the popularity of ‘all that jazz’. And there is a lot of it about, in all its many varieties and styles.

From Acid to Avant-Garde, Big Band to Dixieland, Fusion to Ragtime and Trad... to be honest, I couldn’t tell you one from the other but, like art, I do know what I like.

That’s one reason I would never call myself a jazz aficionado, yet I have, over the years, spent many a laid back night as a guest of the festival.

It was the late great Pat Quinn, the Evening News jazz critic, himself a musician, who first got me along to one of his impromptu jams sessions at The Overseas League.

Asked to describe the styles that have captivated me since, I’d simply say smoky, which covers just about any style.

And if there’s a trumpet involved, I’m in heaven, probably a throwback to my own aborted attempts to learn the instrument as a teenager.

Still I’m always happy to take advice when it comes to widening my knowledge of the genre, which these days often comes in the form of insider tips from Jazz and Blues Festival producer Fiona Alexander.

One of the things I enjoy most about the festival is finding the new kids on the block first, so I was delighted when an email entitled 10 Young Jazz Musicians to Watch in this Year of Young People arrived.

Of could mean an opportunity to discover a legend of the future. So who are the acts currently proving ‘just how bold, fresh and undeniably alive jazz is in 2018.’

They are...

Graham Costello’s Strata: Drummer, Graham Costello has become just as involved in the Scottish jazz scene as the independent/underground scene. See him on 18 July, 9pm, at The Jazz Bar.

Fat-Suit: Fresh from playing to thousands at the Love Supreme Festival, they launch the new late night Festival Club at Teviot during the Jazz Festival.

Mark Hendry: 20-year-old Mark Hendry creates absorbing, impactful, and exciting new music. See him play Teviot, 20 July.

Rachel Lightbody: At the Jazz Bar, 10pm, 20 July, Rachel is joined by a superb band featuring Tom Gibbs (piano) and top young saxophonist, Matthew Herd.

Fergus McCreadie Trio: 20 year old Fergus McCreadie, leads a Trio mixing Scottish traditional music and American jazz. Hear them at Piccolo, 21 July.

Others worth checking out Luca Manning, Ben MacDonald and Joe Williamson Play Wes (Montgomery), Mezcla and Fraser Urquhart.

The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival runs until 22 July, for the full programme and details of performance times and ticket prices, check out the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival website at www.edinburghjazzfestival.com