Young Scottish jazz stars set for Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival

Written by | Concerts, News

Leading young Scottish musicians, pianist Fergus McCreadie and saxophonists Matt Carmichael and Norman Willmore are among the jazz element in Glasgow’s annual winter music festival, Celtic Connections, which runs from 20th January to 6th February and features a solo set by internationally regarded guitarist Martin Taylor.

McCreadie, Carmichael and Willmore all released acclaimed albums during 2021, reaching radio audiences internationally with their jazz styles influenced by Scottish traditional music and in Willmore’s case, his native Shetland and American folk music.

McCreadie’s Cairn, the follow-up to his award-winning debut, Turas, received five stars from Mojo magazine and four stars from Jazzwise as well being “longlisted” (top 20 from over 300 entries) for the cross-genre Scottish Album of the Year Award.

Carmichael’s first album, Where Will the River Flow, also reached the SAY Award longlist and received five stars from BBC Music Magazine while Willmore’s Alive & Well at The Muckle Roe Hall attracted attention for a sound reminiscent of Old and New Dreams. Carmichael, who followed McCreadie in graduating from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland jazz course this summer, also won all three of the awards presented at the end of the academic year at the RCS – for composition, arranging and improvisation – the first student to scoop all three awards.

Matt Carmichael | photo by Chun Wei Kang

Willmore’s quintet features in Schenectady Calling at the Old Fruitmarket on 23rd January, a concert including Martin Taylor and singer-violinist-radio presenter Seonaid Aitken in tribute to the late Shetland guitarist Peerie Willie Johnson. Johnson developed his own distinctive swinging style through listening to Eddie Lang and Django Reinhardt being broadcast from Schenectady in New York on his home-built shortwave radio.

Carmichael’s quintet appears at the Mackintosh Church on Saturday January 29. McCreadie’s trio appears at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall’s New Auditorium on Sunday, January 30 and singer Debra Salem brings her In a Sma Room project, with pianist Paul Harrison, guitarist Kevin Mackenzie and violinist Patsy Reid, to the Strathclyde Suite on 2nd February.

Last modified: December 3, 2021