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The 26th Birmingham International Jazz & Blues Festival

Subscribe to RSS RSSMonday, 5th July, 2010

Birmingham?s annual Jazz celebration is back with a bang this year; taking on a new Blues element as it enters its second quarter of a century.

In 10 jazz and blues packed days from July 16th to 25th, Birmingham and its legions of jazz visitors will enjoy more than 200 performances and events, in 60 venues across the city and beyond, and over 90% of events are absolutely free to the public.

After 25 years, the festival has taken on a significant new blues element with performances by internationally renowned blues artists from the USA, Canada, Italy and Germany, as well as a strong UK contingent headed. Boss of the Blues Chick Willis [Macon, Georgia] will headline, appearing in no less than 10 shows during the festival ? as well as holding the sway in a Q&A session in Waterstones Bookstore.

Naturally the jazz fans will not be neglected, and can welcome first-time UK appearances from The Village Lizards from Budapest, Valery Kiselyov from Moscow, Drake University Big Band from the USA and Jazz band Velke Losiny from the Czech Republic, as well as many other returning acts.

The swing contingent is headed by King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys, and includes The Fabulous Lounge Swingers, The Dirty Robbers and The Jive Romeros.

Britain?s Got Talent runner up Julian Smith will play a special open air concert in the Botanical Gardens, which will make a nice footnote to his first Birmingham Jazz Festival performance some 10 years ago, when he played in shopping areas.

Other outdoor events are being held at leading tourist destinations throughout the region including visiting Dudley Zoo & Castle, The Black Country Living Museum and Warwick Castle and many more.

More than ever the festival is going out onto the streets this year, with performances throughout the City Centre; in bars, cafes, restaurants, stores, hotels, museums and art galleries, and most importantly on the streets of the city. The festival will also be set on the move with performances on canals boats, buses and train stations.

Jazz and blues fans will also be able to enjoy a series of talks and interviews called ?Hear Me Talking To You?, which will be hosted in Waterstones Bookstore and PMT music store. This will be complimented by an interactive photography project, two photographic exhibitions, a daily photo seminar and a vocal workshop ? free and open to all ? entitled ?Everybody Has A Voice?. All of this, combined with a swing band master-class and a brand new vinyl album release, is set to bring Birmingham to life with the sound of jazz and blues music.