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Friday, 9 November, 2001, 17:18 GMT
Jazz stars gather for festival
Michael Brecker
Brecker: One of the big jazz names taking part
By BBC News Online's Alex Webb

The London Jazz Festival, which opens on Friday, is the first to be staged in partnership with BBC Radio 3.

The festival takes place over 10 days, mostly at London's South Bank arts complex, and the line-up demonstrates what a broad church jazz has become.

Radio 3 has broadcast the festival in the past but this year it has gone a stage further by also becoming the event's official "media partner".

As well as the US giants well-known to the festival circuit - including saxophonists Michael Brecker, Wayne Shorter and Joshua Redman - there are representatives of African, Latin and folk music as well as acts that define most of the usual labels.

UK jazz acts are also well-represented.

Pianist Robert Mitchell's remarkable international group Panacea will be playing music from their recent album Voyager.

Jamaica All Stars
Jazz Jamaica All Stars: Aim to satisfy all tastes

The Scottish saxophonist Tommy Smith will perform alone - but using an arsenal of electronics and pre-recorded digital tapes to create stirring and emotive soundscapes.

And bassist Gary Crosby will bring his joyous big band Jazz Jamaica All Stars to the festival.

The Jazz Jamaica All Stars features star soloists Guy Barker - on trumpet - and Andy Sheppard - on saxophone.

It also includes trombonist Ashley Slater, better known to many for working with Norman Cook in dance act Freakpower, and R&B singer Juliet Roberts.

Success

"We aim to satisfy the head and the feet," Crosby told BBC News Online.

"What we've deliberately done with the All Stars is represent all sides of British jazz - from groups like Loose Tubes and the Jazz Warriors to new, young jazz stars."

But the more adventurous corners of music are also covered.

Diana Krall
Diana Krall: A rising star

African singer Angelique Kidjo teams up with Indian percussionist Trilok Gurtu for a concert, while other shows feature Portuguese Fado, North African Rai and Cuban violinist Omar Puente.

Most popular of all are likely to be the two shows by Canadian singer and pianist Diana Krall.

The multi-talented Krall has quickly become one of jazz's most popular stars and is riding on the success of her latest album The Look Of Love.

"The profile of this festival is bigger than ever," said Gary Crosby.

"This festival makes an important contribution to the hipness of London."

See also:

21 May 01 | Music
Humph: Still swinging at 80
26 Jul 01 | Music
Mercury judge upsets jazz boss
28 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Jazz legend joins Radiohead
01 Aug 01 | Music
Awards honour best in jazz
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