Cambridge International Jazz Festival

Sax sounds and cool vibes will be just around every corner in November

Jazz fans are in for a huge treat this month as the city welcomes back its exuberant annual celebration of the genre. Running 11-26 November, Cambridge International Jazz Festival was founded in 2014 and brings together the local jazz community, showcasing both up-and-coming talent and established names and offering a huge showcase of jazz in all its diversity. 

Delivering more than 80 events in total, this year’s programme is busier than ever and features a galaxy of stars from the world of jazz, some of the UK’s finest female instrumentalists, emerging and boundary-pushing talent, workshops, tributes and more.

Opening this year’s festival is saxophonist Andy Shepherd, who’ll perform his new work Beyond the Dancing Sun at the beautiful Stapleford Granary. 

Other highlights of this year’s programme include Roy Ayers, a legend in the world of funk and soul and one of the most sampled artists in history. His calling card, the immortal Everybody Loves the Sunshine, is a floor-filler to this day, and continues to get reworked by artists from across the musical spectrum. 

Elsewhere at St Catherine’s College Chapel, Zoe Rahman, one of the brightest contemporary jazz stars, performs music from her album Dreamland

Internationally acclaimed percussion impresario Dame Evelyn Glennie will be giving a master class open to all, while guiding five young musicians through their musical journeys at Fitzwilliam College Auditorium.

There’s also a gypsy jazz jamboree to look forward to, plus a visit from the sensational London Gay Big Band, who’ll be performing at the Emmanuel United Reformed Church. Get there early for a chance to learn how to swing dance with the Cambridge Lindy Hoppers. 

Another must-see gig is the Corn Exchange’s NewGenJazz: an all-day event featuring some of the most exciting young musicians in UK jazz.

Eleven bands, including the MOBO award-winning sax and drum duo Binker & Moses, will perform across two stages during the day, closing with brilliantly energetic eight-piece The Brass Funkeys.

The Museum of Zoology, meanwhile, will be opening late for a unique gig where guests will be treated to performances from Entropi and Phil Meadows Project, together with an interactive sound and light installation – in the company of a giant whale skeleton! 

For the full programme, with all the venues, artists and prices, visit the festival website.