News - Glasgow Jazz Festival

Glasgow Jazz Festival has unveiled its programme for 2023, with jazz lovers from across the city, Scotland and beyond set to be spoiled for musical choice this June for the five-day festival...

Press Release

There will be performances from some of the biggest names in jazz, blues, soul, funk, R&B and world music taking place across the city’s stages for the 37th edition of the much-loved annual event, with 30 events being staged between Wednesday 14th – Sunday 18th June 2023.

This year will see Glasgow Jazz Festival grow towards its pre-pandemic capacity, taking in venues the breadth of the city and beyond. From St. Luke’s and Drygate in the east to The Griffin, Nice n Sleazy and The Old Hairdresser’s in the city centre, and from The Glad Café and The Rum Shack in the southside and Frets in Strathaven, to the west end’s Òran Mór and The Hug & Pint, and for the first time, The Mackintosh Church.

Scottish talent will stand shoulder to shoulder with jazz names from around the globe – from European nations including Spain, Iceland and Norway, to the US and Nigeria.

Not one, but two, incredibly talented pianists in the form of Scottish musical force Fergus McCreadie and Iceland’s breathtaking talent Sunna Gunnlaugs, will perform a double headline show for audiences at Mackintosh Church on the Friday night.

Icelandic pianist Sunna Gunnlaugs has released a total of 11 albums to critical acclaim, building a global fanbase and jazz chart success in the process. An ex-patriot of Brooklyn, Sunna gracefully combines the elegance of the European approach with a New York attitude.

Fergus McCreadie’s unique blend of jazz and folk music has captured the hearts and minds of audiences worldwide. Following the release of his incredible album Forest Floor, Fergus’ raft of accolades last year alone included winning Scottish Album of the Year Award, making the coveted Mercury Prize shortlist, being crowned Jazz FM Instrumentalist of the Year, and being the only non-classical musician to be selected as a BBC New Generation Artist.

Fergus said, “I’ve loved coming to Glasgow Jazz Festival since I was a teenager and it’s always been amazing to see how the scene unifies around this event, especially at the Late Night Jam Sessions – it’s particularly great to see those able to return this year. The festival is a great event in the calendar and I’m really excited to be doing a solo show at Mackintosh Church this year, which will be completely improvised. The space is amazing, acoustically it’s great, so I’m looking forward to improvising and seeing what comes out on the night.”

The international musical flair on show in Glasgow continues with the Marco Mezquida Trio who, fronted by award-winning Spanish pianist and composer Marco Mezquida, alongside Martín Meléndez and Aleix Tobias, will perform at St Luke’s on Thursday 15th June. Marco has toured the world extensively and has recorded more than 50 albums in his illustrious career, but this year marks his Glasgow Jazz Festival debut, giving Scottish fans a rare chance to catch him live.

Friday night will see visionary Nigerian-born, London-based nu-jazz saxophonist, composer, bandleader and innovator Camilla George take to the stage at St Luke’s. Known for her unique sound inspired by African, Western, hip hop and jazz music, Camilla’s third studio album Ibio Ibio was released to critical acclaim in September 2022. The album is inspired by her powerful connection to her Nigerian identity, lineage and heritage, and reflects African history, culture and slavery.

Audiences can expect an unforgettable finish to the festival with a performance from the Steve Turre Sextet. American master trombonist and seashellist Steve has worked with a diverse list of musicians including Dizzy Gillespie, who he performed with at the 1990 Glasgow Jazz Festival as part of his United Nations Orchestra. He will perform tracks from the 2022 album Generations to fans at St. Luke’s, celebrating jazz geniuses and influential elders in the scene, and bringing the eras together.

Elsewhere, acclaimed Scottish funk outfit Federation of the Disco Pimp will bring their energetic live set to Òran Mór on Friday night. After a five-year hiatus, the group – led by Marco Cafolla – are currently recording their third album, working with funk royalty including Fred Wesley.

On Saturday evening, the iconic American soul legend Geno Washington and The Ram Jam Band will play a barnstorming live show. Geno has delighted audiences around the world since the 1960s, and will be joined by Geoff Hemsley on drums, Steve Bingham on bass and Greg Lester on guitar at Òran Mór.

Meanwhile, winner of the 2018 BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year Award Xhosa Cole will bring his unique sound to Drygate. The Birmingham-based saxophonist released his much-anticipated debut album last summer, celebrating the works of great African-American composers and improvisers.

This year’s festival will also see influential artists from the jazz scene and beyond celebrated. Mackintosh Church will host Grappelli Night, where award-winning violinist Seonaid Aitken will pay tribute to her French jazz violin hero Stéphane Grappelli to mark 25 years since his passing, and 30 years since his last performance at Glasgow Jazz Festival. Seonaid and her piano quintet will celebrate Grappelli’s 60+ year career. Mackintosh Church will also have the Gaia 3D Earth exhibition on display throughout the festival.

Seonaid said, “I live in Glasgow so it’s brilliant to have an event like Glasgow Jazz Festival on my doorstep. What’s so special about the festival is how it really celebrates Scottish talent, while also giving audiences the chance to check out amazing international artists that you rarely get to see in Scotland. Stéphane Grappelli is my all-time violin hero so to be performing a tribute 30 years on from his appearance here, and 25 years since his passing, is very special. It’s going to be a real celebration and we’re planning to bring his music and style to life which is something I’ve wanted to do for many years. I’m ready to channel his unique energy into the show.”

Radiohead Reimagined will see Radiohead’s iconic discography re-imagined, rearranged and performed by a ten-piece band of musicians from Glasgow's own vibrant jazz scene. Musicians from Fat-Suit, Tom MacGuire and the Brassholes, Dreaming of White Horses, and many more, will team up to help pay tribute to their musical influence across the genres at Òran Mór on Thursday 15th June.

The tributes continue on Saturday afternoon when St Luke’s host Brian Kellock's Marty Party – a celebration of the music and spirit of one of the living legends of the jazz scene, the American rhythm guitarist, vocalist and raconteur Marty Grosz. Brian Kellock (piano), Ross Milligan (guitar), and Roy Percy (bass) are all long-time fans who channel Marty’s fun and exciting performance style in this engaging celebration.

That evening will also see English trumpeter Matthew Halsall take to the St. Luke’s stage to perform his elevating, soulful music. Over 15 years and eight studio albums, Matthew has created his own unique sound – expect spiritual, progressive, perfectly crafted, mediative jazz sounds for the 21st century as Matthew and his band perform music from their forthcoming album An Ever Changing View, together with gems from the back catalogue.

The Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra will celebrate their 20th anniversary year with a concert at Drygate on the Friday night. The acclaimed saxophonist leads this talented group of young jazz musicians to develop and perform in an exceptional youth jazz orchestra.

Renowned Glasgow jazz outfit Graham Costello’s STRATA will also perform at Drygate on Saturday night. The group have received nominations for eight Scottish Jazz Awards, as well as the Scottish Album of the Year Award.

Wednesday night sees Scottish composer and producer Andrew Wasylyk bring his compositions, which earned him a nomination for Best Live Act at the 2021 Scottish Alternative Music Awards, to St Luke’s.

On the same night, celebrated guitar and saxophone duo Haftor Medbøe and Konrad Wiszniewski will perform at The Griffin. Norwegian-born Edinburgh-based Medbøe and Scotland’s Wiszniewski released their entirely improvised album Poiesis in February 2023.

As well as these fantastic performances and many more, festival-goers can also enjoy the Late Night Jam Sessions every night of the festival, which will remain free to attend thanks to a successful Crowdfunder campaign. The sessions will take place at Nice n Sleazy and provide a valuable creative space, while making the festival’s music accessible to everyone. The Crowdfunder will continue to raise funds to support emerging Scottish talent and is open until 12 noon on Friday 21st April at

Jill Rodger, Director of Glasgow Jazz Festival, said, “Summer is fast approaching and with the brighter days comes our favourite time of year as we get set to welcome exceptional musical talent from all over the world to Glasgow Jazz Festival. We’ve got some incredible home-grown acts performing alongside legends of the scene, and covering a wide range of genres, all in some of Glasgow’s most iconic venues.

“We’re so excited to be able to bring all of this to the city and to welcome music fans from across Scotland and further afield to celebrate the music that brings us all together. We’re delighted that the Late Night Jam Sessions have been saved and can remain free to attend for all, it’s so important to us that live music remains accessible. This year’s programme is a true international celebration, and we also have some unique showcases taking place paying tribute to some musical inspirations – it’s shaping up to be a fantastic festival.”

Clare Hewitt, Music Officer at Creative Scotland, added,“Spanning Glasgow’s southside, west end and city centre, Glasgow’s 2023 Jazz Festival programme celebrates jazz as an international artform where Scottish musicians are making a stellar contribution.”

The festival is funded by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

Find out more and Buy tickets for Glasgow Jazz Festival 2023 here.

Image - Creative Scotland website - Pianist Fergus McCreadie joins violinist and vocalist Seoniad Aitken and guitarist Conor Smith of the Seonaid Aitken Quintet for the launch of Glasgow Jazz Festival 2023 at Mackintosh Queen’s Cross Church.

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