If you’re looking for something to warm your cockles on cold November nights you could do much worse than head over to King’s Landing….uh….you know what I mean.
What to expect
London Jazz Festival 2012 runs from Friday 9th to Sunday 18th November – that’s over a week of scatting, blowing, clicking and tapping in which to immerse yourself. Venues far and wide host a range of events under the Jazz Fest banner; you can herd yourself in with the hoi polloi at concert halls or fill an exclusive slot in an underground music cafe in Slough. The choice is entirely yours.
And what a choice it is – Just as the venues vary, the range of entertainment is staggering. Established bands, individual artists, quartets and more-tets, full-scale reviews and everything in between is spread out like a gorgeous Jazz buffet for you to finger.
An internationally-renowned event, London Jazz Festival attracts a mix of talent from around the world, along with an audience to match. Around 30 gigs per night are held throughout the capital – alright, so you can’t see everything, but it’s all about the bigger picture.
There are many Greater London venues within the M25 that take part in the festival. That said, most events take place in Central London, with major venues including the Barbican, BBC Maida Vale studios, Kings Cross St. Pancras, London Southbank Centre and the National Maritime Museum, to name a few. The festival is of great benefit for everyone; from small jazz clubs to major artists and large venues.
Besides the musical performances, London Jazz Week also presents a wide range of workshops, masterclasses and talks. The programme is pitched at all ages and abilities.
London Jazz Festival has its roots in Camden Jazz Week, which was held in the 1970s. The popularity and support saw it grow into the international spectacle it is today. Major supporters of the festival include Serious (from Arts Council England) and BBC Radio 3, which help the organisers attract the world-class talent fitting for its reputation.
If you’ve been involved with the festival before, you’ll know it can be the catalyst for some groundbreaking phenomena:
- The first ever concerts by the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra at the Hackney Empire.
- The best British jazz musicians collaborating with international stars on specially-commissioned and produced performances by the top contemporary jazz composers.
- Jazz Jamaica All Stars rocking the Festival Hall, with everyone on their feet for a good skank.
Top tips for this year:
The Robert Glasper Experiment featuring MF Doom:
Impressive Midlands talent Natalie Duncan:
Hotel tips for London Jazz Festival:
If you have the cash to splash, try base2stay Kensington. This 4-star hotel has an outstanding TripAdvisor rating and an excellent location close to major attractions and venues such as Earl’s Court, the Royal Albert Hall, the Natural History Museum and many more.
On the Northern side of Hyde Park is The Caesar Hotel. This hotel puts you close to Bayswater and Paddington Station. The Caesar occupies a renovated Victorian property and offers boutique-style accommodation.
How about a view of the Houses of Parliament? Book your room at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge. Here you’ll be close to the London Eye and Waterloo Station. This is another 4-star hotel with an outstanding TripAdvisor rating. Enjoy a dip in the 15-metre indoor pool or get steamy in the Mandara Spa.
Something a bit more affordable is Meininger Hyde Park. Also close to the world-famous attractions of Knightsbridge, Meininger Hotel is set in Baden-Powell House and features a permanent exhibition about the Scout Association. What does this have to do with Jazz, you ask? Well, that’s entirely up to you.
If you prefer something a bit closer to Heathrow, Ramada Encore West is for you. North Acton tube station is just a few minutes away, taking you straight into Central London. The hotel has several in-house eating and drinking options as well as a gym.
If self-catering accommodation is more your thing, have a look at Grand Plaza Apartments. These 4-star apartments are located a short walk from Queensway, on the northern side of Hyde Park. Grand Plaza Apartments combine the convenience of a four star hotel with the independence of a personal living space.
If you miss this year’s Jazz Festival, don’t despair. There are many more Jazz festivals in cities throughout the world, with many major European cities hosting their own festivals. London Jazz Festival is an annual event, so bear in mind that you can always have another crack next year.