An intimate atmosphere and a cool cocktail of musicians is why the Rye International Jazz & Blues Festival is so eagerly anticipated. This year’s event, from Thursday August 21 to Monday August 25 – encompassing the August Bank Holiday weekend – brings four days and five nights of the best in jazz, blues, soul, funk, swing, Latin, fusion and world music.
The festival, now in its third year, is gaining a fantastic reputation. Boutique and compact by design it offers both variety and intimacy, with live performances taking place at an array of venues.
Headline acts feature Jason Rebello, one of the most respected pianists and composers of our generation, who has worked extensively with Sting, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and many other big names in the music industry. Other concerts include Claire Martin, the first lady of British jazz, performing with jazz singer, composer and pianist Joe Stilgoe, who is hot footing it to Rye straight from a four-week run at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Julia Biel opens the event at The George Jazz Club on Friday August 22. Julia is making a massive impression on the UK and international music scene and is a truly rising talent. We are thrilled to have her perform at the festival.
A “world-class” and “breathtaking” duo, Italian jazz guitarist Antonio Forcione and Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale also perform on the Friday at St Mary’s Church.
A huge festival highlight is likely to be the new jazz lounge at Rye Community Centre. Picture the coolest New York jazz club, candlelit tables, a bar and the best live music available. Many of the programmed professional ticketed concerts will take place here as well as late-night jazz sessions taking you through to the wee small hours.
On the Sunday, in true festival tradition, the wonderful bass player Herbie Flowers returns with his Jazz All Stars, entertaining guests at a special jazz breakfast or afternoon tea at The George.
Adding to the growing list of acts is award-winning British saxophonist Simon Spillett and his quartet, which includes acclaimed bassist Alec Dankworth and legendary jazz pianist John Critchison
Jazz diva Kitty Laroar purrs into Rye performing her distinctive and mesmerising style of jazz with the outrageously brilliant The Lucky Victims. Sex symbol and jazz virtuoso Earl Okin makes a return appearance with his one-man cabaret jazz and comedy show.
A full programme and tickets are available through the festival website and from Rye Tourist Information Centre and Grammar School Records. Below some of the top artists at this year’s festival.
Ian Bowden is the festival’s director