jazz & blues in the summer in the city

Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival 2014
I can’t believe it’s been a year since I wrote my very first blog for the DM Audio website. It seems to have flown by, but a year it has been and here at DM Audio we are gearing up for a hectic few weeks supplying backline to the fabulous acts performing at this year’s Edinburgh Jazz Festival which runs from 18th to 27th July at various venues in and around Edinburgh.  As usual we are supplying backline to most venues and PA systems to the 3 stages at the Mardi Gras in the Grassmarket.  This always seems to me when summer starts and with (hopefully) good weather and a great buzz about the city. Nothing beats it, with the knowledge that the Fringe Festival and International Festival are also on the way very soon.
There are 5 themes for this year’s festival;
Cross the Tracks brings edgy, contemporary acts crossing in and out of blues and jazz with a focus on the club scene from hip-hop and electronica to soul and funk.
Edinburgh Firsts is a showcase of rising stars never-before-seen in the city, with some fantastic Festival coups.
Free Events including the colourful and exuberant Mardi Gras held in the Grassmarket in conjunction with The Greater Grassmarket Business Improvement District.  Check out the programme for other free events as well.
Scottish Jazz Expo presents intriguing and distinctive collaborations between Scottish and international musicians. This is supported by the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland.
The Blues there is a great line-up of Blues this year with sessions most days at the Tron Kirk and also several blues related concerts.
A few highlights for the start of the festival include of course the Mardi Gras held on Saturday 19th July starting at 1pm in the Grassmarket.  With a party atmosphere and a multitude of bands performing on 3 stages you can relax and enjoy some Swing, Dixieland, Boogie Blues and New Orleans jazz in the heart of the city.
Then there is Mike Stern/Bill Evans Band, featuring Dennis Chamber and Tom Kennedy, who are performing on Sunday 20th July at 8pm in The Queen’s Hall.  Six-time GRAMMY nominee Mike Stern has established himself as one of the premier jazz and jazz-fusion guitarists and composers of his generation and both he and Evans played together in the Miles Davis 1980s band. Passion, dynamism, and excitement were the hallmarks of that group, and the same can be said for their band today. Stern is a force to be reckoned with, his guitar playing is always musical and alive with interest. At the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal in June 2007 Stern was honoured with the Miles Davis Award, which was created to recognise internationally acclaimed jazz artists whose body of work has contributed significantly to the renewal of the genre. Evans is a world class, Grammy Award winning saxophonist and producer. He made his debut on the international music scene in the 1980′s, at the tender age of 21 when he joined Miles Davis 80’s band. He has been prolific in the recording studio, with 19 solo albums to date. He has performed with the among others Miles Davis, Gregg Allman, Willie Nelson, Herbie Hancock, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks that’s some pedigree.
Drummer Dennis Chambers has performed and recorded with the likes of John Scofield, Santana, Parliament/Funkadelic and John McLaughlin and many more. Chambers is known among drummers for his technique and speed and is particularly regarded for his ability to play “in the pocket” but can also stretch very far out of the pocket which is also a hallmark of his technique. He can play in a wide variety of musical genres, but is perhaps most notable for his jazz-fusion, funk, and Latin music playing. He is known for his fast hands and triplets on the bass drum. John Bonham’s son was asked in an interview that if he himself were to pass up the opportunity, which drummer he would recommend to fill the coveted drum throne. His reply was ‘If I were to choose, I would probably want a jazz drummer with a strong swing feel. You know what – Dennis Chambers. I think he would “get it”, whereas other rock drummers wouldn’t.’
Expect to be blown away!
Zara McFarlane is another act not to miss. This classy and charismatic singer is making waves across Europe performing to sell out Festival audiences and with a MOBO nomination under her belt she is a star act.  With a combination of jazz sophistication and a deep soulfulness her voice is comparable with the great Nina Simone and Roberta Flack.
She is performing on Monday 21st July at 8.30pm in the Palazzo Spiegeltent.
I hope you all get out there and soak up some of the great music and easy atmosphere.