Funding hits the right notes


By Cara Sulieman

THE Scottish Government was blowing its own trumpet yesterday unveiling an extra special line up for this year’s Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival to coincide with Homecoming 2009.

Funding of £100,000 has been given to the organizers to help pay for a raft of special events, including a specially commissioned arrangement celebrating Robert Burns by David Milligan.

There will also be an Edinburgh Jazz Festival Orchestra where musicians from Scotland, Europe and America will come together and play for the first time.

The 16 musicians will play two concerts to celebrate Scotland during the year of Homecoming.

The first will be led by Joe Temperley, a saxophonist from Cowdenbeath who has been the only non-American member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra in New York for the last 20 years.

And the second will feature the tribute to Burns and will be accompanied by folk singers Annie Grace, Corrina Hewat and Karine Polwart.

Yesterday, the culture minister Michael Russell announced the funding with a musical accompaniment.

He said: “Scottish jazz musicians are playing some great music right now and the Scottish Jazz Expo raises the profile of our jazz and blues music throughout the world.

“Exciting project”

“The Edinburgh Jazz Festival Orchestra will present both new pieces and classic arrangements in this ambitious and exciting project that can only strengthen the interest in Scotland’s vibrant music scene from international fans, venue bookers and artists.

“It is wonderfully fitting that Scotland’s greatest jazz export, Joe Temperley, is making a true Homecoming journey this year as he returns to mark his 80th birthday and perform the arrangements of Duke Ellington, who he had the privilege of playing with.”

And the organisers of the festival are delighted to be achieving the dream of combining musicians from all over the world.

Brian Fallon, Chair of the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, said: “The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival is delighted to announce the launch of the Edinburgh Jazz Festival Orchestra – a long cherished ambition of the Festival.

“Highest level”

“The funding from the Scottish Government via the Expo Fund means that the Orchestra will perform at the highest level.”

The Scottish Government Edinburgh Festival’s Expo Fund was set up to provide funding to all of the city’s 12 festivals and aims to support the development of Scottish-based work.

More information about this year’s Jazz Festival can be found at