Six years on from her last studio album, The House Carpenter’s Daughter, and goodness knows how many since she last played to her loyal English fans on home turf, Natalie Merchant has announced that she will be taking part in this year’s opening gala of the London Jazz Festival, an event that never fails to be anything other than spectacular. Last year’s star-studded show featured the likes of Melody Gardot, Courtney Pine and Carleen Anderson in a celebration of the 75th birthdays of Nina Simone and Quincy Jones. The intention this year is to mark the 50th anniversary of the classic jazz records of 1959, as well as to explore “a century of song”, with echoes of Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and Johnny Mercer.
Other artists appearing at the November 13th gala, to be held at the Barbican for the second year running, include Cibelle, Kirsty Almeida, Kurt Elling, Natalie Williams, Roachford, Sarah Jane Morris and Sheila Jordan, with more to be announced. Tickets for the opening gala are available direct from the Barbican website, priced £15–£30 plus booking fee. In the meantime, Natalie continues to work on an as-yet-untitled new album, due for release next year.