How to enjoy London Jazz Festival across north London

Jamie Cullum performs with the Roundhouse choir. Picture: David M. Benett

Jamie Cullum performs with the Roundhouse choir. Picture: David M. Benett - Credit: Getty Images for The Roundhouse Trust

Zoe Paskett looks at what’s on the line-up, including Jamie Cullum at the Roundhouse and events at King’s Place, The Rabbit Hole, The Forge, Cecil Sharp House and The Jazz Cafe.

Some Like it Hot - as Tony Curtis once said to Marilyn Monroe - and if you do, the London Jazz Festival is back with events spread across the city, but plenty in north London from King’s Cross to Hampstead.

The Festival has its roots in Camden Jazz Week, which started in 1970 as a regional showcase of outstanding talent. But since 1992 it’s been an annual capital-wide event drawing the best global performers. It’s no surprise that the borough of Camden is spilling over with events from Friday, with jazz drifting onto the streets from venues large and small.

King’s Place, The Roundhouse, The Forge, Cecil Sharp House and The Jazz Cafe are all expecting large crowds, while smaller venues like Green Note and Rabbit Hole are hosting standout musicians.

Jamie Cullum and Call To Create are bringing hundreds of young artists to the Roundhouse from Ukraine, Nigeria, South Africa and London who have been working for months to interpret a piece of music composed for the event.They will join the internationally renowned musician on stage with the Roundhouse Choir and William Ellis Big Band for a collaborative mash-up, which will be live streamed around the globe on November 15.

“It’ll be a pleasure and privilege to share the Roundhouse stage with so many talented young artists from around the world,” says Cullum.

“It’s so important to give young artists the platform to profile their talent as I know they’ll bring their new ideas and energy to create an incredible performance. I cannot wait to hear where the artists have taken the motif I wrote especially for this collaboration.”

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Roundhouse Chief Executive Marcus Davey said the venue launched Call To Create to gather young artists and prove that music transcends borders.

“As well as honing their musical skills it will increase their confidence and celebrate diversity.”

With over 10 events The Forge has one of the biggest line-ups of the festival. This not-for-profit venue is hosting shows on every night but one, from the Angolan Afro-Jazz fusion of Tello Morgado to Rubem Dantas’s Flamenco.

A central player in London’s jazz music scene since opening 25 years ago, The Jazz Cafe on Parkway is welcoming multi-instrumentalist and producer, Cory Henry.

Henry is part of Grammy Award winning group Snarky Puppy and has played with countless big names including Bruce Springsteen, The Roots and Aretha Franklin. He is taking to the stage of The Jazz Cafe on November 16 with his own band, The Funk Apostles, with whom he is currently touring.

Just up the road at Green Note, such British heavyweight jazz musicians as pianist Robert Mitchell and vibraphonist Corey Mwamba are appearing on November 17. Open since 2005, the intimate “London Venue of the Year” is no stranger to famous faces, bringing in Amy Winehouse, Michael Kiwanuka and Leonard Cohen over the years.

Newcomer, Rabbit Hole, below the Duke of Hamilton pub in New End Hampstead, has been hosting live music for some time with a house band headed by Ronnie Scott’s regular Will Bartlett, and bass player Jon Cox who often plays for Ed Sheeran.

But this is the first year the intimate venue has being involved in the London Jazz Festival.

“I’m delighted to be part of it,” says Steve Coxshall, owner of the pub and venue. The little theatre downstairs has earned its spot. Every month we get some of the best jazz singers around London and we’ve built that credibility over the last three years.”

Coxshall is excited to bring attention to the “fantastic” acts he has lined up which include British songwriter Sara Mitra and Swedish vocalist Emilia Mårtensson.

Almost a quarter of a century since its inception, the EFG London Jazz Festival continues to showcase British and international talent in the venues that support these musicians throughout the year.

EFG London Jazz Festival runs Friday 13 – Sunday 22 November. Visit