9 unmissable acts at The EFG London Jazz Festival 2023

From Swedish psych-soul and percussive stalwarts to West African voices – here are our essential picks over the coming 10 days

This weekend The EFG London Jazz Festival returns to the capital for its 31st instalment, remaining the biggest pan-city festival in Europe. Across 10 days, some of the biggest names in jazz and its adjacent genres, such as Marcus Miller, Norah Jones and Ron Carter, perform across 70 of the city’s venues.

Though those mentioned have unsurprisingly now sold out, there are plenty of essential acts still available. Here are nine of our favourites.

Dina Ögon

Dina Ögon - Docka (Live at Atlantis Studios)

When? Thursday 16 November
Where? Jazz Café

Though they’ve begun garnering respect from the psych rock community recently, the rest of the world has been sleeping on Sweden’s Dina Ögon. Their second full-length, Oas, is one of the best albums of 2023, with its golden and soulful melodies told through a gentle, scintillating production that transcends the need to understand singer Anna Ahlund’s native tongue. Their performance at Camden’s Jazz Café marks their UK debut, but expect to see their name a lot more in 2024.

Makaya McCraven with the London Contemporary Orchestra

Makaya McCraven - Dream Another (Live)

When? Saturday 11 November
Where? Barbican

Part of the festival’s ‘New Creations’ campaign, which connects collaborators for the first time, the esteemed French-American jazz drummer and producer Makaya McCraven will partner with the lush string arrangements of The London Contemporary Orchestra. Conducted by Robert Ames, McCraven’s multi-disciplinary approach to the genre will likely feel even more rich and vivid.

Cécile McLorin Salvant

Cécile McLorin Salvant: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

When? Wednesday 15 November
Where? Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre

One of the most striking voices of the whole festival, Cécile McLorin Salvant sings in both English and French, but her musical approach – and appeal – has strength in multitudes. From the ellegent kind of music you’d want to grace a romantic meal to more challenging and arresting storytelling, Salvant’s live performance is bound to be a journey.

Irreversible Entanglements

Irreversible Entanglements - "Open The Gates" | Music Video

When? Wednesday 15 November
Where? EartH (Theatre)

A contemporary champion of the free jazz form, Irreversible Entanglement’s name is like a disclaimer: once the performance begins, there’s no turning away. Formed in 2015 for a Musicians Against Police Brutality show, vocalist Moor Mother’s poetry is charged and driven by a socio-political force, with songs blending into each other so you don’t know where one ends and another begins.


Hiromi: Tiny Desk Concert

When? Monday 13 November
Where? Barbican

It’s a double bill for Japanese pianist Hiromi, who performs with her piano quartet before revealing her new Sonicwonder project. Expect Herbie Hancock-summoning synths, trumpet masterclasses, meandering improvisations and more surprises.


Resavoir - "Inside Minds"

When? Thursday 16 November
Where? Church of Sound

As Resavoir, Chicago producer Will Miller makes multi-layered productions that swirl through jazz, electronica, hip hop and field recordings to life-affirming affect. It’s the kind of music to listen to staring out of a train window in your own little world. Miller debuts a new live set-up at EFG, featuring fellow Chicago musicians Kenneth Leftridge Jr., Eddie Burns and William Corduroy.

Joshua Idehen

Joshua Idehen - Learn To Swim

When? Friday 17 November
Where? The Lower Third (Outernet)

London-born Nigerian singer and poet Joshua Idehen is gifted with a voice that commands your attention, making him a much-desired collaborator for acts such as Sons of Kemet, Moscoman and Scrimshire. Stylistically his own solo music is fluid, but his love for dance music remains a constant, as seen on this year’s Learn To Swim, A Mixtape.

London Brew

London Brew - London Brew (Official Audio)

When? Saturday 18 November
Where? Barbican

As their name suggests, London Brew is a collective made up of the capital’s finest jazz musicians, including Nubya Garcia, Theon Cross, ESKA and Raven Bush. But their namesake also nods to Miles David’s psychedelic classic Bitches Brew, which inspired their debut album released back in March. Their EFG performance marks London Brew’s live debut, so if you’re into the famed London jazz scene, this should be a priority.

Angelique Kidjo

Angelique Kidjo - "Agolo"

When? Friday 17 November
Where? Royal Albert Hall

Benin’s Angelique Kidjo is considered nothing short of West African music royalty, so it’s only right her EFG performance should take place in such a majestic venue. Expect a 30-year career-spanning set, sung in many different languages, from one of this year’s Polar Music Prize winners.

The EFG London Jazz Festival takes place across various venues from 10–19 November, find tickets here