High-quality jazz next to the dodgems - Brighton Jazz Festival 2023

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Serious music in a fun situation, high-quality jazz next to the dodgems is the promise as Brighton Jazz Festival 2023 returns after sell-out success last year.

Taking place on Brighton’s Palace Pier, it will offer four days of world-class music featuring an array of international jazz artists from the deep tradition to the cutting edge (October 5-8).

The line-up features the star of PostModern Jukebox, US trumpeter and vocalist Benny Benack III alongside some of the most exciting acts on the UK jazz scene. All concerts take place in Horatio’s Bar at the end of the pier, with sweeping views across the coast. Additional workshops and after-parties will be at The Verdict Jazz Club on Edward Street. The line-up includes four ticketed double-headliner evening events starting at 8pm plus exclusive workshops and a host of daytime events from the vibrant Brighton jazz community. www.brightonjazzfestival.co.uk.

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Co-director of the whole thing is Eddie Myer: “This is our third year. 2021 was our first one amazingly which must have been still in the depths of Covid, but it was a new idea that came out of us getting together with an organisation called Latest TV and they were putting on a festival of all sorts of arts and music on Brighton Palace Pier. I run an organisation called New Generation Jazz and we got involved and then we just thought let's call this thing the Brighton Jazz Festival. There was a Brighton Jazz Festival many years ago back in the 80s and they had some great performers coming down. I think they actually even had Nina Simone play here but for whatever reason it stopped. Maybe they didn't get the funding or perhaps just people moved away but we thought it'd be a great idea to start a Brighton Jazz Festival again particularly as there is such a big upsurge in jazz interest these days with so many new and exciting players. British jazz and particularly young British jazz is really on the up and it just seemed a great thing to do.

Benny Benack III joins the festival (contributed pic)Benny Benack III joins the festival (contributed pic)
Benny Benack III joins the festival (contributed pic)

“It was brave or maybe mad to do it as we were coming out of the pandemic but we just thought let's give it a go and we pulled together our resources and put it on on the Palace Pier. The first year was absolutely great. People really loved the venue because it's an iconic part of Brighton and Horatio’s Bar has amazing views. Every year we have at least one night where there is a massive storm and you can feel the whole pier shaking as the waves hit it. We thought that people wouldn't be wanting to come out at all because it was blowing up a gale but everybody came and it was just fantastic

“The first year was really enjoyable and then we got more ambitious in the second year because we got some more support from Arts Council England for which we are eternally grateful, and that enabled us to cast the net a bit wider and get some fantastic internationally known acts and we've continued with that this year.”

Thursday, October 5: Emma Rawicz – young saxophonist/composer unveils her latest all-star band project playing powerhouse fusion. Colectiva – hotly-tipped sisterhood mix deep Latin grooves with new wave of jazz.

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Friday, October 6th - New Generation Jazz Presents: Beyond The Blue – genre-crossing seven-piece band present a high-energy mix of forward-looking dance beats and arrangements; Brown Penny – new project from the multi-award winning saxist/composer; Cassie Kinoshi.

Saturday, October 7: Maddy Coombs – new tenor sax star from the Tomorrow’s Warriors organisation. Sara Oschlag – featured vocalist with the Ronnie Scott’s Orchestra. Benny Benack III – US star of Postmodern Jukebox reinvigorates the swinging jazz tradition.

Sunday, October 8: Jas Kayser – Afrobeat and fusion grooves, uplifting themes and blazing solos from a band of young musicians. Eliane Correa and La Evolución Orchestra – Cuban/Argentinian piano.

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