Edinburgh Festival 1994: Jazz

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The Independent Culture
Edinburgh International Jazz Festival (Festival Theatre and Queen's Hall, 031-529 6000, tonight-Sat). The appearance of George Shearing (Festival Theatre, Wed), the London-born pianist whose distinctive quintet achieved popularity to rival that of Dave Brubeck and the Modern Jazz Quartet in the late Fifties, is by way of a celebration of his 75th birthday, for which he has re-crossed the Atlantic. These days he avoids the piano-vibes-guitar sound of his old combo in favour of solos, duos and trios which provide a clearer sight of his smooth, melodic, untroubled approach to improvisation. The festival also features Kenny Davern and the veteran trumpeter Doc Cheatham (Queen's Hall, Thurs), and the Ted Heath memorial band (Festival Theatre, Mon).

Round Midnight (Queen's Hall, 031-668 2019, 031-667 7776, 29 Aug-3 Sept). A deceptive title, since most of the concerts this year take place during regular evening hours. The admirable singer Carol Kidd kicks off the TDK-sponsored mini-festival on 29 Aug. She is followed by saxophonist Andy Sheppard (30 Aug); Exile's Gate, led by New York tenorist Gary Thomas and featuring organist Joey DeFrancesco and the superb drummer Terri Lynne Carrington (31 Aug); the ageless Georgie Fame with the Blue Flames (1 Sept); and the marvellous Mulgrew Miller, a former Jazz Messenger who is probably the most in-demand post-bop pianist since Tommy Flanagan (3 Sept). The late-night highlights are the appearance of the popular South African pianist-tenorist-singer Bheki Mseleku (2 Sept, 10.30pm) and the closing jazz-funk party, with the bands of singer Omar and guitarist Tony Remy (3 Sept, 10.30pm).