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Not a Whisky Riot, but a Smooth Jazz Experience!

Those who are fans of Islay whiskies may be familiar with the Feis Ile (also know as the Islay Whisky Festival).  An annual whisky festival in May, which dedicates individual days over the space of a week to the distilleries of Islay, Jura and Arran.

However, you might not be as familiar with the Lavavulin™ Islay Jazz Festival. Currently in it's 13th year it looks like it won't disappoint! 

Although the festival started in 1999, Lagavulin only started sponsoring the event last year (2010). Over it's thirteen years the festival has grown to become a staple in the UK Jazz scene. I guess the combination of fantastic whiskies and amazing musicians can't but help draw people from all over the UK and Globe.

The Festival covers the weekend of Friday 16th September to Sunday 18th September. It will be opened by vocalist Viktoria Tolstoy. She’ll sing her own special arrangements of many great standards along with interpretations of pop tunes.

The Festival also features the world premiere of the sensational Scottish Drummer Tom Bancroft ‘s Red Triowith English piano star, Tom Cawley, and Norwegian bass sensation Mats Eilertsen, while Brian Kellock and Jacob Karlzon front two piano trios at different edges of the jazz spectrum.

As a huge music and jazz fan, especially of the sax and blues guitar, I think "Brass Jaw" & "Otis Grand with Sandy Tweedale Trio" look to be top highlights, but there's a lot great Scottish and international Jazz artist on the bill. On top of the music there is also a limited edition bottling for the week which is mentioned below.


The Line Up for this Year

To buy tickets visit There is a weekend ticket priced at £65 - only available from 0845 111 0302 (0131 467 3660) (plus £1 premium for Viktoria Tolstoy on Friday)

The weekender ticket guarantees the holder a seat, but only if they arrive 15 minutes prior to the concert. If you arrive later they cannot guarantee entry.

Friday 16th September, 2011

Viktoria Tolstoy

19:30, Lagavulin Distillery, £12

One of Europe’s major singing stars, Tolstoy sounds totally natural and yet exudes charisma and star quality. She sings jazz standards, takes rock and folk tunes into jazz settings and balances art and enjoyment in a wonderful tension. 

Otis Grand with Sandy Tweedale Trio

20:00, Bruichladdich Hall, £12

From West CoastR’n’B to Big City Blues, guitarist, Otis Grand has been the leading light of classic blues playing for the last twenty years. Voted best British blues guitarist for seven consecutive years, he’s a giant of the blues.

Brass Jaw

20:00, Ionad Chalium Chille Ile, £10

With magnificent musicality, tongue in cheek humour and an unbridled musical imagination Brass Jaw are a free spirited, big swinging brass quartet featuring Ryan Quigley (trumpet) and saxophonists Paul Towndrow, Konrad Wisniewski and Allon Beauvoisin.


Tom Bancroft Trio Red

21:30, Lagavulin Distillery, £10

Drummer, Tom Bancroft’s new trio features the spellbinding piano of Tom Cawley and Norwegian bass sensation Mats Eilertson. Expect fiery solos, melodic tunes from whispers to roars, some great chemistry creating state of the art modern jazz.

Saturday 17th Saptember, 2011 

Boteco Trio

12:00, Lagavulin Distillery, £10

Mario Caribe fronts a new trio exploring the music of his native Brazil: rhythmic Sambas, languid Bossa Novas songs and bouncy Baiões. Plying the Nylon Strung Guitar, Cavaquinho and bass, he is joined by Stuart Brown playing Brazillian percussion and Brian Molley on horns. 

Brass Jaw

12:00, Outback Gallery, £8

See Fridays listing for more info. 

Viktoria Tolstoy

16:00, Rhinns Hall, Portnahaven, £10

See Fridays listing for more info. 

Tom Cawley solo, Mackenzie, Caribe, Bancroft Trio

19:00, Lagavulin Distillery, £10

A solo set from pianist Tom Cawley ranging from blistering energy to gentle whimsy - Fantastic, fluent and romantic” (Time Out). Kevin Mackenzie’s attractive, original tunes are peppered with intriguing twists and meticulous lyricism as he debuts a new trio featuring Mario Caribe and Tom Bancroft. 

Brian Kellock Trio

20:00, Ionad Chalium Chille Ile, £10

A rare opportunity to hear the great piano trio present their thundering takes on the history of jazz piano from Oscar Petrson to Lennie Tristano; from Duke Ellington to Cecil Taylor. Kellock’s mercurial playing is rooted in brilliant pianism, deep jazz knowledge and a love of exciting audiences with suprise ...

Subie Coleman Band

21:30, Bowmore Hall, £10

Soul/jazz diva, Coleman whips up a storm of Philadelphia and New York tipped raw soul vibes. Driven by the powerful groove machines of Allen Mckeown and Paul Harrison, this is music for partying and having a good time... Grab your dancing shoes. 


Sunday 18th September 2011

Subie Coleman Duo

12:00, RSPB Centre, £8 

Hear Subie in laid back mode – measured, but ebullient, delivering the nuance of every lyric. Hervoice is rich and smoky, heard to best effect in this pared down setting with Mackenzie or McKeown on guitar. 

Konrad Wiszniewski Quartet, Brian Palmer Trio

12:00, Ardbeg Distillery, £10

Drummer, Brian Palmer’s Trio with Mario Caribe and Paul Harrison play a short opening set. 

Jazz at full throttle as saxophonist Wiszniewski, backed by Brian Kellock on piano, plays great standards and romantic ballads, plus, hopefully, some of Konrad’s attractive tunes.

Jacob Karlzon Trio

15:30, Ionad Chalium Chille Ile, £10

One of the most celebrated pianists on today's European jazz scene can be percussive, intense, and exciting, yet capable of soft beauty and great lyricism. He blew us all away last time he was in Islay. Now with a Swedish trio, expect musical sparks. 

Graeme Stephen and Fraser Fifield

17:30, Laphroaig Distillery, £8

An intriguing meeting between guitarist Graeme Stephen and piper / whistle player / saxophonist Fraser Fifield conjure beautiful and beguiling sounds from their jazz and traditional roots. 

Mario Caribe Jazz Crusaders Timemachine

20:30, Bruichladdich Hall, £12

A thrilling end to the Festival – Mario has assembled an all-star band to recreate the unmistakable sounds of The Crusaders – from hardbop to funk. The band features John Burgess (saxophone), Chris Grieve (trombone), Neil Warden (guitar), Paul Harrison (keys), Mario Caribe (bass) and Stuart Brown (drums). 

Jazz Festival Bottling

Fo the festival there will be a limited-edition single malt distillery bottling, but you'll have to be a Festival ticket holder and up on Islay during the Festival to get your hands on it.

The bottling is a Lagavulin aged in a single bodega sherry wood cask, filled in February 1993 and matured at the Caol Ila distillery warehousing.

This will be priced at £79.95 UK RRP per bottle


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References (3)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Source
    Source: Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival
    Welcome to the 2011 Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival - Fresh Hebridean air and sophisticated jazz may be strange bedfellows, but we love the blend. And we love welcoming audiences and musicians, old and new, to share this wonderful little jewel that we’ve polished over the last thirteen years. Thanks to Lagavulin’s support we can once again present a programme of the highest quality.
  • Source
    Source: Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival
    The programme has been announced for this year’s Lagavulin™ Islay Jazz Festival, and tickets have gone on sale via the website and direct from promoters Jazz Scotland. The 13th Lagavulin™ Islay Jazz Festival, which this year will take place from 16-18 September, is again expected to attract hundreds of jazz lovers to the world-famous whisky island on Scotland’s west coast. And the BBC have announced that they will be recording some sessions at Lagavulin Distillery for BBC Radio 3‘s Jazz Line U
  • Source
    Source: Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival 2011
    Since its commencement, the Festival has presented an uncompromisingly high quality artistic programme – a showcase of everything that is new and exciting in the Scottish jazz scene, with some very special international guests.

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