November is an odd time of year in London. Skies that darken quicker ally themselves with dipping temperatures; outdoor spaces of the city’s bars and clubs are the reserves of smokers and hypothermic drinkers crowded out of the warmth. Sometimes it can seem like the capital has pressed pause on merriment, storing up good-will for the festive season.
However, for the artistically intrepid and culturally aware, this is also the month of one of the most varied and glorious musical events of the calendar: the EFG London Jazz Festival. 2017 marks 25 years of the city-wide jazz celebration that grew from Camden Jazz Week and now fills London with one of the most broad showcases of the genre as 10 consecutive days swell with over 300 shows across more than 50 venues of all shapes and sizes.
Anyone who’s been near the organisation of the festival (or just consistently in the mood for good music and good chat) over the past 25 years will know the seismic impact that John Cumming has had on the London (and UK) jazz scene in that period. His hand has guided the festival from its inception and as we look forward to this landmark edition, Gilles Peterson had the good sense to sit down with John to have a bit of a chinwag with a time limit (brave man).
We’ve got our top picks for the festival (Brad Mehldau and Chris Thile, Knower and Justin Kauflin to name a few) but for a real expert’s eye on November, go to 1 hour 4 minutes in the link below to hear Gilles and John doing their thing: talking about music, the festival and the London scene as only they can.
The EFG London Jazz Festival runs from Friday 10 – Sunday 19 of November. You can browse the full listings here and find out about the ever-popular free programme here.