In the swing of it - Jazz, Blues and Folk venues
Boasting some of the finest new names and most exciting stalwarts of the jazz, blues and folks scene, Edinburgh and Glasgow have long set an impressive stall with some of the most diverse festivals and year round line-ups.
Although jazz, blues and folk events can be found regularly around Edinburgh and Glasgow, dedicated festivals for each genre also occur throughout the year. The closest of these to the start of term is Celtic Connections (www.celticconnections.com), a celebration of primarily folk and country acts, but also music by other artists who have their roots in the Scots tradition. It’s a Glasgow-based event, and runs throughout late January.
For the jazz and blues festivals, however, you’ll have to wait until summer. Glasgow International Jazz Festival (www.jazzfest.co.uk) runs through late June, and this year featured such big names as Buddy Guy and Andy Fairweather Low. Meanwhile, the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (www.edinburghjazzfestival.co.uk) is timed to coincide with the start of the Edinburgh Fringe, running through late July and early August.
In terms of individual, year-round venues, perhaps the best for regular jazz programming in Scotland is The Jazz Bar (1 Chambers Street, Edinburgh, 220 4298), an intimate basement which features up to three separate shows at the weekend, and generally one a day during the week. Also recommended is the Jam House (5 Queen Street, 226 4380), which is part of Jools Holland’s chain. Glasgow is less well-served in this respect, although Brel (39-43 Ashton Lane, 342 4966) and Mama San (190 Bath Street, 352 8800) both run infrequent shows.
One particularly fine Glasgow venue for cross-genre music programming is Oran Mor (Byres Road, 357 6200), which dabbles in jazz, blues and folk. Traditionalists in Edinburgh, meanwhile, will also be pleased to hear there are two prominent folk clubs in the city – the Edinburgh Folk Club (Cabaret Bar, The Pleasance, 650 2458) and Leith Folk Club (The Village, South Fort Street, 478 7810).