With Manchester Jazz Festival 2016 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 nine venues throughout the city centre and northern quarter, MJF 2016has something for fans of all types of jazz, with world premières, collaborations, commissions, big bands, smooth jazz, soulful vocals and more.

The event which is jam packed  launches on Friday 22 July at 5.30pm with the excellent Mr Wilson’s Second Liners and runs through until 31 July.  As ever the programme contains a wide variety of events, and MJF2016 looking like being another stunning event.

Irwin Mitchell mjf originals 2016 Ben Cottrell New Seeing, RNCM Wednesday 27 July: world première of a specially commissioned work by Beats and Pieces composer/bandleader, Ben Cottrell.  Orchestrated for trumpet, twelve-piece string ensemble and double rhythm section, New Seeing is inspired by the classic Stan Getz album Focus.  Ben has brought together his own Manchester supergroup ensemble with players from the RNCM, Manchester Camerata, Hallé and BBC Philharmonic.

Connie Lush and Kyla Brox (23 July 7.30pm at Band on the Wall) – two 60 minute sets from the outstanding Connie Lush and Kyla Brox.  Powerful vocals, blues and soul are set to make for a sensational evening at Band on the Wall.

Kit Downes & Tom Challenger – Vyamanikal, 10pm St Ann’s Church Thursday 28 July: one-off, late night concert featuring saxophone and the magnificent pipe organ of St Ann’s Church and enhanced with evocative visual projections;

Dr Graeme Wilson, Adam Fairhall & Tom Ward: What happens in our brain when we improvise? Portico Library (Friday 28 July)interactive debate with performances at the Portico Library, tie-in with the European City of Science Week Celebrations

Headliners in the Festival Pavilion – Tim Garland Electric Quartet, MOBO award-winning Empirical, Graham Massey’s Toolshed, Jeremy Sassoon’s Ray Charles Project and the final night double bill of Perhaps Contraption + Abstract Orchestra.

Global Grooves: Creating Carnival (2.15pm on Sunday 24 July)- a 70-strong posses of unstoppable energy and colour takes over the Hobgoblin Festival Square featuring percussion, music, dance and spectacular costumes.

mjf international highlights:

  • The UK debuts of two larger than life characters – De La Puríssima (tales of sensuality and excess from Madrid) Hobgoblin Festival Pavilion, Saturday 23 Juland French jazz star Thomas de Pourquery gives the UK debut of his Supersonic project, exploring the music of Sun Ra, RNCM, Saturday 23 July.
  • Must-see from Poland the amazing Atom String Quartet proving that strings swing, St Ann’s Church, Thursday 28 July

Free gig highlights:

  • Leeds College of Music: The B-Side, Hobgoblin Festival Pavilion Tuesday 26 JulyIn celebration of 50 years of LCoM, two of the conservatoire’s large ensembles, plus a set by their tutors and DJ sets from Graham Massey and Kelvin Brown

Full details of the Manchester Jazz Festival 2016 programme at the MJF2016 website.