City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

And so it begins...

By Edinburghs Festivals - Posted on 28 July 2007

The streets are filling with more people, the Fringe banners going up, and gangs of men can be seen throughout the city hauling scaffolding and equipment off big trucks. Even the seagulls, whose cries form part of the soundtrack of this city, seem more numerous, no doubt drawn by the wealth of easy tourist pickings.

As is now customary, jazz kicks off the season of Edinburgh Festivals. Edinburgh's Jazz and Blues festival started yesterday.

It's the 29th year and the biggest to date with over 100 events in venues around Edinburgh ranging from the Queens Hall to the Spiegel Garden.

Although it covers the spectrum of what can be called jazz, and blues as well, Edinburgh has a reputation for having a fairly old school, trad jazz bias.

So for longtime Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival director Mike Hart this year more than most years seems to be a vindication of his past struggles with limited means. He's been credited with producing the best festival programme yet by local jazz buffs, with classic, mainstream, and Dixie continuing to be well represented alongside more contemporary stuff.

Top of the bill is local boy and jazz innovator Tommy Smith, who'll be
playing tonight for the first time with hugely talented sax player and jazz star Courtney
Pine in a concert at the Queen's Hall. They'll be marking the 40th
anniversary of John Coltrane's death by playing his music together.

We also have 77-year-old classic jazz trombonist Chris Barber and EJBF stalwart Humph Lyttleton (still very popular in his Eighties) alongside newcomers like 33-year-old, Long Beach clarinettist Evan Christopher coming to town.

Another curiousity is Bad Plus trio who are a kind of rock-to-jazz crossover group who have recorded jazz versions of songs by groups as unlikely as Black Sabbath and Tears of Fears. Black Sabbath's Paranoid on saxophones? Let's hope so.

Check out's coverage of the Edinburgh and Jazz and Blue Festival.