Revisiting Six Decades of British Jazz

Evan Parker, a saxophonist from Bristol, England, who helped shape the improv-heavy sound of European free jazz through the ’60s and ’70s, told an interviewer in 2003 that “you can make just as bad a mistake when you think you are doing absolutely the right thing as you can when you just make a mistake.”

Mr. Parker will put this ideology to the test during a July 19 performance in the Purcell Room at London’s Southbank Centre (Belvedere Road; 44-207-960-4200; southbankcentre.co.uk) during the upcoming “Great British Jazz: Six Decades of Tributes, Stories and Improv” festival, which runs through July 26 and will also feature Tomorrow’s Warriors Jazz Orchestra, a tribute to John Dankworth, and the musician Soweto Kinch.

This four-part jazz “mini-series” is just one small part of Southbank’s massive 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain, which features months of events and performances across many genres. The four jazz concerts are presented as a celebration of key moments in the evolution of jazz in Great Britain and the musicians that helped defined British jazz since the first Festival of Britain took place in 1951.

On July 23, Gary Crosby will lead the Tomorrow’s Warriors Jazz Orchestra as they debut new arrangements by the tenor and soprano saxophonist Steve Williamson, known for his albums that incorporate various American, African and Jamaican influence.

On July 25, “What The Dickens: A Tribute to John Dankworth and the Big Band,” will recount the formation of the Dankworth Seven in 1950 and perform one of the late John Dankworth’s ’60s-era suites. The band is led by Dankworth’s bass-playing son, Alec, and will include artists closely associated with Dankworth bands over the years, including Henry Lowther, Mark Nightingale, Andy Panayi, Tim Garland and Jim Hart.

Lastly, Soweto Kinch, a rapper and saxophonist whose fast, bop-style playing is truly a force to see, will perform a tribute to the alto saxophonist Joe Harriott on July 26 at Queen Elizabeth Hall. Harriott, originally from Jamaica, was a prominent Caribbean British jazz player whose career spanned bebop, free jazz, and fusions of jazz and Indian music.

The full story is at the NEW YORK TIMES

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