The Royal Albert Hall’s ever-popular, cutting-edge jazz programme returns in September for eight unmissable shows taking in everything from Hollywood musicals to Gambian Kora music, via Bahraini influences, South London Afrobeat and Quincy Jones’ new protégé.
Late Night Jazz, established in 2010, showcases the best up-and-coming and established names, in the Hall’s intimate Elgar Room.
These eight shows include Hall debuts for explosively-talented young drummer Ollie Howell – fresh from a residency at Quincy Jones’ new Dubai jazz club – West African Kora (harp) player Jally Kebba Susso, and Radiohead and Courtney Pine collaborator, Yazz Ahmed.
Mehdi Aoustin-Sellami, Head of Programming at the Royal Albert Hall, said: “We’re always proud to announce our Late Night Jazz programme, but this season is the most diverse, exciting and adventurous yet, with acclaimed artists from around the world heading to the Elgar Room.
“This new programme has some nods to the past – with tributes to the Golden Age of Hollywood and Charles Mingus – but it also looks ahead, re-interpreting jazz, and showcasing some of the most original and ambitious voices in the genre, the ones who are forging its future.”
The season kicks off on 28 September, with Ollie Howell’s first show at the Hall. This hot young talent was described by no less an authority than Quincy Jones as “An unbelievable drummer. So creative I couldn’t believe it. This kid really is a 360-degree beautiful young cat.” His band will be playing music from new album, ‘Self Identity’, with the jazz taking in cinematic and electronic elements.
Jally Kebba Susso follows on 5 October, his electrifying stage show marrying traditional West African harp music – a heritage stretching back 74 generations – with the experimentation he has pioneered in the London underground scene.
British-Bahraini trumpet and flugelhorn player Yazz Ahmed performs a week later, displaying the accomplished, inimitable sound that has entranced audiences at Ronnie Scott’s and the Museum of Modern Art, and inspired the likes of Lee ‘Scratch’ Parry and Radiohead to enlist her services. She’ll be playing much from her extraordinary new album ‘La Saboteuse’ – a deep exploration of both her British and Bahraini roots.
Other highlights include South London Afrobeat collective Kokoroko making their bow at the Hall – playing music inspired by the likes of Fela Kuti, Ebo Taylor and Tony Allen – a tribute to Charles Mingus from Blues and Roots Ensemble, and jazz-poetry from the legendary Michael Horovitz’s William Blake Klezmatrix Band as part of the London Jazz Festival.
Finally, adding a little Tinseltown magic to the programme, the Hall is presenting two irresistible tributes to the screen musical: award-winning Robert Habermann taking us on a walk through the heyday of Hollywood, and Joanna Eden’s Jazz at the Movies special, ‘A Swinging Christmas’, which closes the season in style on 14 December. Described as “the UK’s answer to Norah Jones and Diana Krall,” by Time Out, she’ll be accompanied by the Chris Ingham Quartet and special guest Mark Crooks – the clarinet and saxophone star of the world-famous John Wilson Orchestra.
Alongside the Michael Horovitz show, the Hall’s four London Jazz Festival shows include the Michele Drees Jazz Tap Project, a spectacular mix of rhythm tap dance and jazz, bassist Daniel Casimir – recently named Young Jazz Musician of the Year by the Musicians’ Company – and a Jazz for Kids extravaganza, delving into the roots of the genre and spotlighting New Orleans, swing, Dixie, and bebop sounds, all for little ears.
After listening to customer feedback over the past few months, the venue has moved the show to an earlier start-time of 9:30pm. Tickets, priced from £8.50, go on sale on Thursday at 9am from www.royalalberthall.com.