Scotland's jazz

Scotland's Jazz - Bringing homegrown talent to the international stage

30 April is UNESCO International Jazz Day. This year, 20 of Scotland’s finest jazz artists will celebrate the occasion at jazzahead!, the industry’s leading international tradefair event.

Normally held annually in Bremen, Germany, this year’s jazzahead! will be presented digitally, with conference sessions, showcases and networking events taking place from 29 April – 2 May.

Scotland’s presence at jazzahead! gives our jazz and improvised music a profile and recognisable name in front of one of the industry’s most important international gatherings.

It encourages and enables people working in Scotland’s jazz scene to develop international connections that can enhance careers in the long-term by building connections with others.

In 2021, Creative Scotland is aiming to represent the full depth, breadth and diversity of Scotland’s jazz and improvising talent at the event.  Being at jazzahead! digitally will be different from being there in person, but we wanted to give as many musicians as possible a chance to start or continue developing their international connections, through a bursary scheme managed by Glasgow Jazz Festival.

Get to know the artists

Seonaid Aitken

Seonaid Aitken is a versatile violinist, singer, BBC broadcaster and composer/orchestrator who performs extensively with her award-winning band Rose Room.

Sophie Bancroft

Bancroft & Lyne’s repertoire includes a mix of original contemporary jazz-based songs alongside re-imagined jazz classics and works by songwriters such as Tom Waits and Joni Mitchell.

Tom Bancroft

Drummer/composer Tom Bancroft co-leads the Playtime collective that have – since 2020 – innovated a way of improvising live online with international guests.

Stuart Brown

Stuart Brown is a drummer, composer and audiovisual artist whose current solo project, MNDMTH, fuses improvised electroacoustic drumming with audio-reactive visual projections.

Marco Cafolla

Scottish artist, composer and producer CAFOLLA launched his debut solo project in 2018, for the last 10 years led multi-award winning band Federation of the Disco Pimp, as well as producing & MDing for many other international artists.

Mario Caribé

Since moving to Scotland from his native Brazil in 1996, double-bassist Mario Caribé has become an indispensable part of the Scottish music scene as a composer, arranger and educator.

Georgia Cécile

Voted ‘Best Vocalist’ at the 2019 Scottish Jazz Awards, and a nominee for the prestigious JazzFM Vocalist of the Year 2020, Georgia Cécile releases her forthcoming debut album, supported by Creative Scotland, in 2021.

Dorian Cloudsley

Guitarist and composer Dorian Cloudsley is the bandleader and founding member of award-winning fusion collective Fat-Suit, which brings together multi-disciplined musicians from the jazz, folk, rock and electronic worlds.

Joshua Elcock

Glasgow-based trumpeter, composer and arranger Joshua Elcock runs the Joshua Elcock Big Band who have just released a debut EP, The Space Between.

Brodie Jarvie

Bassist Brodie Jarvie has worked with many esteemed musicians over the years and currently fronts his own project, Fine Men With Foul Tongues.


Glaswegian singer/songwriter kitti was named Best Vocalist at the 2020 Scottish Jazz Awards, with a debut EP set to be released in 2021.

Marianne McGregor

Marianne McGregor is a prominent new voice in the Scottish Jazz Scene. Her new EP titled Paint it Gold is due for release Summer 2021.

Kevin Mackenzie

Guitarist and composer Kevin Mackenzie is an experienced and versatile collaborator who has developed his own individual and influential accompaniment style. Prime, his most recent release, features pianist Pete Johnstone and drummer Doug Hough.

Malcolm MacFarlane

Guitarist Malcolm MacFarlane has released over 20 albums featuring original artwork. 2020 brought a new collaborative project with Ross Milligan, recording two albums (Two Tall Trees and Two Rivers Meet) and an EP (Silent Hope).

Sue McKenzie

Sue McKenzie performs internationally with her trio Multifarious as well as Salsa Celtica, Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra and Hot Dub Time Machine, and her “Give it a go!” jazz workshops for children have been presented at leading UK festivals.

Dave Milligan

Dave Milligan is a highly versatile improvising musician whose musical imagination flows freely between multiple genres, most notably in the worlds of jazz and Celtic music. His latest album, Momento, is a piano trio album with Danila Gallo and UT Gandhi, released in 2020.

Brian Molley

Saxophonist Brian Molley has toured and collaborated extensively across in the UK and internationally. Brian Molley Quartet’s third release Modern Traditions is set for late 2021.

Joe Nichols

Pianist Joe Nichols is leader of Scottish jazz group Nimbus Sextet and their debut album Dreams Fulfilled (Acid Jazz Records, 2020) has received international acclaim.

Simon Thacker

Simon Thacker is a composer, classical guitarist, improviser and ensemble leader. His ever-expanding musical world develops new possibilities through a deep immersion in diverse cultures with his ensembles Simon Thacker’s Svara-Kanti, Simon Thacker’s Ritmata and Songs of the Roma.

Rebecca Vasmant

DJ-Producer Rebecca Vasmant brings a fresh new twist to dance music with her love of jazz through touring and production projects, composing, and a monthly radio show on Worldwide FM.

Playlist - Scotland at jazzahead! 2021 – curated by Seonaid Aitken

A selection of tracks from Scottish artists attending jazzahead! 2021:

Missing live jazz?

Experience live performances from Scotland’s top jazz festivals and promoters online, who have been finding ways to keep the music flowing through lockdown.  While venues and festivals have been able to carry out some filming, musicians collectives Playtime and Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra have innovated ways of improvising live online with international guests from their living-rooms.

More to explore

From iconic figures like Tommy Smith and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, to new acts bursting out of Glasgow’s thriving jazz life, Scotland has a wealth of new sounds and creativity to share with the world.

Latest projects and releases from leading musicians include saxophonist Paul Towndrow’s Deepening the River, which draws together artists from jazz, folk, Indian and classical traditions, while trumpeter Colin Steele pays tribute to Joni Mitchell.

New approaches to Scotland’s traditional music and landscape are envisaged in pianist Fergus McCreadie’s new release, Cairn (Edition Records), James Lindsay’s TORUS and saxophonist Matt Carmichael’s Where Will The River Flow.

For the thrilling energy that typifies the Glasgow jazz sound, check out Graham Costello’s STRATA (forthcoming release Second Lives, Gearbox Records), Blue Boar Brasscorto.altoAKU!Mezcla and rising star trombonist, Anoushka Nanguy.

Playlist - Scottish Jazz Cuts - curated by Rebecca Vasmant

A selection of Scottish jazz and jazz-influenced cuts from some of our finest artists from past, present and future.

This article was published on 26 Apr 2021