Sounds of jazz, Caribbean vibes and soulful tunes will burst from Canary Wharf as the estate again plays host to London’s largest festival of its kind.
Canary Wharf Jazz Festival will play from the outdoor stage at Canada Square Park from Friday, August 14 to Sunday, August 16.
Kicking off with evening setlists from The Rawness and Sons of Kemet the weekend action will begin in the afternoon and run into the evening, with four artists on each day.
To get the lowdown on how he plans to get east London energised and dancing, we get the views of the Sons of Kemet’s Shabaka Hutchings.
Shabaka Hutchings of Sons of Kemet.
Even if you’re not one of the Canary Wharfers boogying to Sons of Kemet’s Carribean-infused beat, chances are you’ll feel pleasantly exhausted after watching their Friday night setlist.
That’s because the band’s clarinettist, saxophonist and composer Shabaka Hutchings promises a high octane night on August 14 combining enchanting on-stage vibes with jazzy sounds.
The four-piece usually pump out a non-stop hour of tracks old and new – and end up rather sweaty in the process.
“The main thing is the music’s energy and giving it to the audience,” said the lively Londoner.
“There’ll be lots of energy – and blood, sweat and tears.
“We’ll be playing really passionately, really hard, for really long without stopping.”
While some prefer their jazz gently swaying, the energetic sounds are more than enough of an invitation for many, who will be familiar with their music after the group’s previous Canary Wharf appearances.
“The audience can expect big beats and memorable melodies but not in a dumbed-down way, in an epic, transcendental way,” said Shabaka.
“We are trying to take the vibe of Caribbean music and add to it the things we have learned from situations in London.
“So it’s got the energy and feel of calypso but we are taking the vibes of London and putting the multicultural influences of living here into it.
“The exciting thing is we can’t put our sound down to anything in particular - we get the energy from different types of music and we’re not trying to play a specific type of genre.”
And although the genre of music might be unspecified, some of the tracks for their gig certainly are.
The 31-year-old said fans’ favourites Inner Babylon and Beware would be on the setlist, as well as new songs from upcoming album Lest We Forget What We Came Here To Do, to be released on September 25.
He said he was excited about this year’s event – which also sees him reunited with former college pals Yazz Ahmed and The Rawness.
And he added the “open vibe” of the stage proved an idea fit for their sound.
“Generally with outside music there’ a big gap between the audience and the stage than in the smaller venues, but Canary Wharf is great and chilled out,” he said.
“People are gathered all around, so it feels intimate – it’s a good cross between a big festival stage and an intimate one.
“It really works – it’s a nice oasis in the middle of the financial centre.”