Five of the best at the 2017 Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Fest

As the Jazz Festival celebrates 100 years of jazz with more than 170 concerts over 10 days, here is our pick of the five best concerts not to be missed.

Friday, 30th June 2017, 12:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 7:52 am
Lead singer of Ibibio Sound Machine, Eno Williams


West Princes Street Gardens Spiegeltent, Friday 14 July, 10pm, £16.50

LEAD singer of Ibibio Sound Machine, Eno Williams has been compared to Grace Jones with her unique style and hi-energy performances

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Ibibio’s sound meshes African and American funk, with scrubbing guitars and a snappy horn section they have toured from Thailand to Iceland and become darlings of the Festival scene.


Festival Theatre, Saturday 15 July, 8pm, £17.50-£27.50

NOBODY in the history of jazz has ever sounded anything like Ella Fitzgerald. Peerless. But when it’s Ella’s centenary year, you can’t ignore it. So what is it about Ella? First, it’s the unbelievable musical quality to hit every note perfectly, with the right pitch; while inhabiting the lyrics, sounding like she means it, with superbly clear diction; and then really, really, swinging, almost to the point where she doesn’t need the great bands and arrangers she worked with.

Then it’s the music, it was the great American songbook that established her as a mainstream great. Who, in the panoply of current singers has the musicianship, the sense of swing, the clarity of diction, the love of the American songbook, and the effervescence, the joie de vivre that it takes to even start to say something about Ella? Seonaid Aitken epitomises all the qualities that Ella Fitzgerald brought to the world.


Festival Theatre, Friday 21 July, 8pm, £25-£35

THIS iconic group has been singing gospel music for seven decades and amazingly is still fronted by Jimmy Carter, who has been there since the start in 1944, playing to segregated audiences. The group sets the gold standard in soulful gospel music – we’re talking multiple shows at the White House, multiple Grammys, collaborations with major stars from Peter Gabriel to Willie Nelson; from Bon Iver to Jackson Browne to Prince.


George Square Spiegeltent, Sunday 16 July, 5.30pm, £17.50

THIS is where you hear the authentic sound of blues from the South, tinged with soul and gospel music, brought from the juke joints and back-street bars into an international touring group that loves to party.


Festival Theatre, Wednesday 19 July, 8pm, £22.50-£32.50

A joyous celebration of jazz from a host of musicians from New Orleans including The New Orleans Classic Big Band, plus special guests.