With Manchester Jazz Festival 2015 about to start, we decided to take a look at some of the highlights which we can expect from one of Manchester’s leading annual events.

Spread across ten venues throughout the city centre and northern quarter, MJF 2015 has something for fans of all types of jazz, with world premieres, collaborations, commissions, big bands, smooth jazz, soulful vocals and more, and we’ve picked out a handful of the leading events.

New York Brass Band – Friday 31 July 5.30pm and 6.30pm – Thwaites Festival Pavilion

Kicking off Manchester Jazz Festival 2015, the New York Brass Band bring their boundless energy to the Thwaites Festival Pavilion Stage to launch MJF2015 at 5.30pm, before they head off to Matt & Phred’s for a roof raising finale to the opening night festivities.  Free.

Terri Shaltiel and the Soultroopers – Saturday 1 August 8.00pm – Thwaites Festival Pavilion

With inspirations as diverse as the ‘60s and ‘70s sounds of Etta James and Aretha Franklin, Israeli-Spanish-Turkish heritage and an upbringing in a British Jamaican area in the North, Terri Shaltiel premieres songs from her debut album in a journey which takes in jazz, gospel, reggae, blues and soul.  Tickets £12.

Charlie Cooper and The CCs – Saturday 1 August 9.30pm – Matt & Phreds

Performing three sets at Matt and Phreds is local Live Manchester favourite, the hugely talented singer Charlie Cooper, who wowed at last year’s Jazz Festival.  Accompanied by her band The CC’s, Charlie Cooper delivers a classic timeless performance, mixing dusty vocals, ballads, a touch of rock and motown.  Tickets £5.

Living Story Music Ensemble: I Have a Duck Who Can Roar – Sunday 2 August 3.00pm – Thwaites Festival Pavilion

A quirky story about the world’s strangest duck, wonderful illustrations by Ann Gilligan and a jaunty musical score performed by an amazing ensemble. Expect some very silly activities, super storytelling and improvisations that will entertain all ages.  Tickets £4.

Bugalu Foundation – Monday 3 August 9.45pm – Thwaites Festival Pavilion

Following 2014’s impressive MJF performance, Bugalu Foundation return to the Thwaites Pavilion with their fusion of jazz, funk and soul, and will no doubt perform another blistering set certain to bring the audience to its feet.  Free.

Stuart McCallum and Alice Zawadzki – Tuesday 4 August 8.00pm – Royal Northern College of Music

Two rising stars of the UK contemporary jazz scene bring their strong Manchester connections to MJF 2015, showcasing their incredible ability in a concert of two halves.  First Alice Zawadzki performs her love song to Manchester, China Lane, filled with fairtales, obsession and love before Stuart McCallum launches his new album in the second half.  Tickets £15.

Iain Ballamy: The Pepper Street Orchestra with Matthew Sweeney and Dave McKean present ‘An Ape’s Progress’ – Thursday 6 August 8.00pm – Royal Northern College of Music

Saxophonist and composer Iain Ballamy presents the world premiere of his new commission created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Manchester Jazz Festival and the tenth Manchester Literature Festival.  The music is brought to life by an exceptional international group of musicians, including the dazzling Norwegian virtuoso Carstensen, the pure-toned Swedish vocalist Mårtensson and the young British Mercury contender and keyboard maestro Downes.  Tickets £17.

John Ellis and Antony Barkworth-Knight Evolution: Seeds and Streams – Friday 7 August 10pm – Manchester Town Hall

Another world premiere, this time the Irwin Mitchell mjf originals new commission for Manchester Jazz Festival 2015, sees John Ellis working in collaboration with renowned moving-image artist Antony Barkworth-Knight, presenting a bold new audiovisual work in Manchester’s Town Hall.   The performances peers at evolution through history.  Tickets £10.  Performance contains flashing images.

Robert Glasper Trio – Saturday 8 August 8.00pm – Royal Northern College of Music

MJF International series presents the Robert Glasper trio, Robert Glasper (piano), Vincente Archer (double bass) and Damion Reid (drums).  Increasingly influential, Glasper, has found fame as a pianist, bandleader, composer, producer and Grammy-winner, fusing mainstream jazz with urban music, a technique which has brought him into collaborations with the likes of Emeli Sande and Snoop Dogg.   Tickets £20.

Shama Rahman Band – Sunday 9 August – Thwaites Festival Pavilion

Bringing multiculturalism and Bangladeshi roots to MJF 2015, Shama Rahman weaves sitar, stories and song together, drawing on childhood memories of Middle Eastern landscapes and London’s vibrant characters.  Jazz-improvision, classically-inspired melodies and folk inspirations all come to the fore with a side of swing, funk, bossa nova, drum’n’bass and hip-hop.  Tickets £4.

You may also be interested in:

Manchester Jazz Festival 2015 – where’s it all taking place?
In Review: Charlie Cooper at Manchester Jazz Festival 2014
In Review: Arun Ghosh Sextet at Manchester Jazz Festival 2014