Legendary jazz festival is back

by | May 14, 2024 | Swansea Today

Swansea International Jazz Festival is set to return and celebrate 75 years of live jazz music in the city with a line-up packed with legendary musicians, special performances, and familiar favourites.

Swansea Council has once again joined forces with Swansea Jazz Club, now in its 75th year, to present this year’s jazz festival, which will be held at venues across Swansea’s Maritime Quarter from Thursday 13 to Monday 17 June 2024.

The festival opens with a special gala dinner at Morgans Hotel on the Thursday evening, which will start the celebrations for the 75th anniversary of Swansea Jazz Club and the 80th birthday of festival patron, Sir Karl Jenkins, who will be the guest of honour.

The celebrations continue Friday when the Laurence Cottle All-star 16-piece Big Band go ‘Back, Down the Road’ to play special arrangements of Sir Karl’s jazz music in two concerts. These will take place in the Festival Pavillion, outside the National Waterfront Museum at 6pm and 8.30pm, with an introduction at the start of each show by the composer himself.

The Festival Pavilion is the setting for the festival’s further five ticketed concerts, featuring Denny Illet’s Electric Lady Big Band playing funky jazz arrangements of Jimmy Hendrix’s music.

Swansea Council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, said: “We are delighted to be presenting Swansea International Jazz Festival once more, especially as it celebrates 75 years of live jazz music in the city and the incredible virtuosity of Sir Karl Jenkins in the year of his 80th birthday.

“The festival continues to attract some of the best musicians from the UK jazz scene playing a range of styles across the jazz music genre, which we’re sure will draw not only a local audience but also jazz lovers from further afield.

“Our thanks to Dave Cottle and Swansea Jazz Club for their input and support in programming the festival, which really has now become a popular and regular fixture in the city’s event calendar.”

Completing the line-up of ticketed gigs are the Power of Gower Festival Big Band, the Adrian Cox Quartet, Moscow Drug Club, and The Stacey Brothers’ Big Band Steely Dan project: The Royal Scammers who pay tribute to the iconic, multi award-winning American rock band Steely Dan.

This year’s festival also sees the return of a musical workshop for young instrumentalists, supported by Swansea Music and the National Music Service of Wales  and led by Pete Long and the Eddie Gripper Trio. Plus an engaging ‘First Steps’ musical workshop for children from 4-7 years old.

If that’s not enough jazz to keep your toes tapping, Swansea International Jazz Festival also features a stroller programme.  There’s no need to book tickets as the pubs and bars in the Maritime Quarter and surrounding areas will be packed with free smaller and intimate gigs, with some recognisable faces.

Swansea International Jazz Festival’s artistic advisor, Dave Cottle, said: “The festival presents an excellent and varied jazz programme again this year. There are great concerts to look forward to and some firm favourites are returning on the stroller programme – Swansea will be buzzing again to the sound of live jazz!”

People wishing to find out more or book tickets should go online and visit www.enjoyswanseabay.com.