Jazzing up the city as festival returns

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Jazz band, Atom String Quartet. Pic © Nadia Breen JMU Journalism

The Liverpool International Jazz Festival made a comeback at the weekend for its seventh annual celebration, featuring a variety of unique acts.

It was established in 2013 by Liverpool Hope University and has previously included performances from leading artists such as Courtney Pine and Denys Baptiste.

The emphasis of this year’s festival was on contemporary instrumental jazz in a variety of styles, taking audience members on a musical journey.

Headliners over the weekend included David Helbock’s Random Control, Strobes, Vein featuring Andy Sheppard and Kit Downes.

Director Neil Campbell told JMU Journalism that audiences got to experience fresh international-level artists alongside exciting locals.

Twitter: Nadia Breen

He said: “It is important to champion all forms of artistic expression and jazz is no exception.

“Each year the festival has a different lineup of artists, including innovative bands and musicians from the North West, along with the international artists.

“I have enjoyed every aspect of the weekend. Putting it together and actually seeing it happen in front of your eyes is brilliant.”

Atom String Quartet performing at The Capstone Theatre. Pic © Nadia Breen JMU Journalism

Neil believes there are so many opportunities in Liverpool for musicians to present their work in nights at The Everyman, Studio 2, The Grapes, The Cali and Frederiks.

Atom String Quartet, a Polish jazz band that was established in Warsaw in 2010, performed on Sunday.

The quartet has attended most of the world’s major jazz festivals and they pride themselves of improvisation in its broad sense.

Band member, Mateusz Smoczyński, told JMU Journalism: “We love to perform and having the chance to travel everywhere, so we are glad to be here playing in Liverpool.

“Jazz music is a universal language. If you play it, you can tour all over the world. If you play pop in Poland, you are restricted to staying inside the country.

“For our concert we mixed up jazz with classical music, folk and pop because we combine all types music with our own style. There are only a few string quartets in the world that are able to improvise.”