Carleen Anderson and Soothsayers on the bill as EFG London Jazz Festival kicks off

Carleen Anderson

Carleen Anderson - Credit: Archant

A quarter of century since its roots in Camden Jazz Week, the Jazz Festival returns to north west London

The EFG London Jazz Festival returns to venues across the capital, with upwards of 2,000 artists playing 300 gigs at more than 50 venues.

Having been going for nearly a quarter of a century, the annual festival showcases a mix of talent from around the world, both established and emerging. There are concert hall fillers round the corner from basement jazz club performers, making the festival appeal to enthusiasts of all ages and levels of expertise.

Originating from Camden Jazz Week, which is no more, the LJF still sees Camden at the heart of the jazz scene, with The Forge, Jazz Café, Green Note and the Con Cellar Bar leading the way.

At The Forge, Soothsayers’ afro-reggae-dub-funk joins up with producer and bassist Wu-Lu on Friday November 11. Having performed at Glastonbury, WOMAD and all over the world, Soothsayers have been praised for their unique and yet universally alluring sound. They will also perform tracks from their latest studio album and DJ sets will follow.

Singer songwriter Carleen Anderson comes to the Jazz Café for two nights on November 18 and 19. The vocalist has been tipped by Gilles Peterson as one of the most powerful voices of her generation and won Best UK Vocalist Award from Jazz FM in 2013. Beloved by many a big name, she has performed with the likes of Courtney Pine, Paul Weller, Ramsey Lewis and Nigel Kennedy.

“For live performances you have to see Carleen Anderson at least three times in your life,” said the late Amy Winehouse. “She’s someone I’d hang around all day just to hear her sound check.”

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For something a little more intimate, Green Note presents saxophonist Ben van Gelder and his Quintet. Hailed as playing with the expertise of a seasoned performer, the 27 year old is joined by Peter Schlamb on vibraphone, Rick Rosato on bass, Craig Weinrib on drums and Sam Harris on piano on November 13.

And It isn’t just Camden taking all the talent: Artsdepot are hosting a number of performers. Sunday Buzz presents Adam Ben Ezra on November 20, who brings his modern jazz, rock and world music sound on the double bass. He garnered attention online with his multi-instrumental YouTube videos, able to play piano, clarinet, oud, flute and cajon, reaching nearly 10 million views.

Hampstead’s Rabbit Hole in The Duke of Hamilton pub continues its involvement with the festival with performances from Atila Huseyin and Emilia Mårtensson, bringing some variety to their bill. While Huseyin’s set is Nelson Riddle inspired, Mårtensson’s is made up of original music and northern European folk. They perform on Thursday November 17.

For a full programme and list of venues, visit