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Edinburgh Jazz Festival

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Edinburgh Jazz Festival (20 - 29 July 2012)

Leading us into the main summer festival season, the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival promises great concerts, free outdoor gigs and a carnival atmosphere - including, in fact, an actual carnival.

Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival

It's now 34 years since the Jazz Festival was set up by a local jazz fan and musician, Mike Hart. It started as a small scale affair, scattered around a few of the city's pubs, but in the following decades it has grown to attain international recognition in the jazz world and has become a popular part of Edinburgh's festival calendar. No other jazz festival in the UK has such a long history.

Since its inception, it's grown beyond its roots in traditional jazz. Expect a varied programme, with talent from around the world across a range of sub-genres, but with a keen eye for quality throughout. "All killer, no filler", as the saying goes.

If you usually associate jazz and blues music with moody basement clubs, think again. The festival brings music out of the venues and into the streets. This year, there will be a carnival on Princes Street and around Princes Street Gardens on 22 July. The historic Grassmarket area, home to the Apex International Hotel and the Apex City Hotel, will host a free street party with samba bands and performances on several jazz and blues stages - an event that's always popular with visitors and Edinburgh locals alike.

It's still too early to reveal any details of the programme - watch this space - but one event has been announced: Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. The diminutive piano man can call on some top notch musicians when he puts a band together, including some outstanding vocalists, and he knows how to put on a show. This will be entertaining, crowd-pleasing stuff.

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