Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival: 12 of the hottest acts to catch at this year’s Festival

With more than 130 concerts featuring top Scottish bands, international stars and festival favourites alongside new names, there's a lot to see at this year's Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, here are 12 gigs not to miss.

Curtis Stigers

Curtis Stigers has had several Top 10 hits as a long-haired, blue-eyed soul singer. He’s featured one of the biggest-selling pop albums of all time and has released nine critically-acclaimed, award-winning jazz albums. Having played for presidents and Princes, his characterful voice, dynamic stage presentation and dynamite song choice as well as his compelling saxophone sound have garnered him critical and popular acclaim. Catch Curtis at the Festival Theatre on July 16th at 7.30pm.

Davina & The Vagabonds

James Brown in Annie

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    Bluesy, blustery, bawdy and irresistibly fun, Davina is a unique musical personality in a world of copyists. Her barrelhouse piano and gutsy, sweet vocals have roots in Fats Domino, Etta James, and Amy Winehouse, but she’s one of a kind - eclectic, engaging and instilled with a deep respect for the Great American Songbook. Catch her at George Square Spiegeltent from July 20 to 24, at various times.

    Mud Morganfield

    The eldest son of the undisputed king of the Blues, Muddy Waters, is on a mission to keep Chicago blues alive, playing to audiences from around the world, Sweden, Australia, Denmark, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Mexico and the UK. Blessed with a big and powerful voice he can manage to convey deep emotional resonance on the slow numbers and good old fashioned testosterone laden strut on those classic shuffles. Catch him on Sunday July 17 at 8pm at the Assembly Hall.

    Les Violons De Bruxelles / Rose Room

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    Sade Mangiaracina with Marco Bardoscia and Gianluca Brugnano Pic: Roberto Cifarelli

    This thrilling five-star international Gypsy jazz line-up brings violin superstar Tcha Limberger and Les Violons de Bruxelles, an all-string swing orchestra that turn the standard Hot Club ensemble on its head with two violins, viola, double bass and just one guitar, to Edinburgh. Caressing the strings at the fiercest tempos they deliver virtuosity, verve and panache. Rose Room combines brilliant musicianship and warm personality. Fronted by fiddle player and sophisticated songstress Seonaid Aitken they recreate the excitement of Rive Gauche Paris of the 30s and 40s with Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. See both bands, Wednesday July 20, 8pm, at the Assembly Hall.

    Hamish Stuart Band / James Brown is Annie

    He is a founder member of the Average White Band and guitarist with Diana Ross, George Benson, Chaka Khan and for six years, Paul McCartney. Today Hamish Stuart is touring with Ringo Starr and bringing his band to the Festival. Hamish Stuart will deliver classic AWB hits and loads of great funk and soul music. James Brown Is Annie meanwhile, deliver a potent mixture of uncut funk and sweet soul, their sophisticated sound is reminiscent of everyone from Stevie Wonder to Steely Dan and of course the Average White Band. See both on Saturday July 23 at 8pm, in the Assembly Hall.

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    Blues Gala with Maggie Bell

    Blue Lab Beats

    The Queen of Scottish Blues, Maggie Bell has assembled a stellar line-up of blues talent including American harmonica master Brandon Santini and, from the UK, new star in the making guitarist Krissy Matthew as well of some of Edinburgh's most loved blues bands including Safehouse, Jed Potts and Sandy Tweeddale. The Gala takes place at the Assembly Hall on Sunday, July 24 at 8pm.

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    Blue Lab Beats

    If you want to see the future of jazz, look no further than production duo Blue Lab Beats. Straight from Glastonbury they present their blistering futuristic musical melting pot fuelled by hip-hop, Afrobeat and electronica. MOBO and GRAMMY recognised, their boom-bap groove and jazz funk hooks have to be experienced live. Catch them at the George Square Spiegeltent on Friday July 22, at 10.30pm.

    Davina and the Vagabonds

    Fergus McCreadie

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    The Scottish wunderkind of jazz, presents a new octet playing new music specially composed for the Festival. A passionate communicator and consummate performer, a composer of elegant, nuanced and captivating music as well as a pianist and improviser of exceptional ability and originality, Fergus combines jazz tinged with folk influences into a melting pot of originality, freshness of sound and vitality. Catch him on Saturday July 16, at 8pm in theAssembly Hall.

    Blind Boy Paxton

    If your idea of blues is a guitarist sitting on a porch in the deep south, then Blind Boy Paxton is for you. Playing the traditional, pre-World War II blues on the fiddle, banjo, guitar, harmonica, and piano, his performances are filled with ballads (both sung and played), blues tunes, banjo tunes, fiddle tunes, rags, and more. You have four chances to catch him at this year's Festival. On July 21 at 6pm at Piccolo, July 22, 7.30pm, George Square Spiegeltent, July 23, 6pm, Pass Theatre and at Assembly Roxy on Sunday July 24 at 6pm.

    Sade Mangiaracina

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    The Festival celebrates Jazz from Italy in 2022 and the final night concert features a compelling piano trio led by pianist Mangiaracina. Her beguiling music blends classical notes with European jazz and Mediterranean influences inspired by the iconic Nelson Mandela. Catch her at Assembly Roxy on Sunday July 24, 8.30pm.

    Blind Boy Paxton

    John Scofield

    Jazz electric guitar legend John Scofield returns to his earliest musical influences reinterpreting tunes by Leonard Bernstein, Neil Young and Buddy Holly to Stevie Wonder and The Grateful Dead. This is a unique opportunity to hear a jazz icon in the intimate surroundings of Assembly Hall on July 19 at 8pm.

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    Nubya Garcia

    One of the icons of the current, thriving jazz scene. Nubya’s hypnotic, free flowing saxophone takes its influences from across the Caribbean and Latin America, drawing deeply from her family’s roots. Dub reggae, cumbia, afrobeat and neo-soul can all clearly be heard alongside more traditional jazz rhythms. In the words of Gilles Peterson, “Brilliant, brilliant saxophonist." Catch her at George Square Spiegeltent on July 21 at 9.30pm.

    For the full 2022 Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival programme click here.

    Fergus McCreadie