Manchester Jazz Festival has set up pianos around the city - here are 5 events you won’t want to miss

If you’ve spotted a piano or two in unusual places, here’s the reason why.

Music is coming to the streets of Manchester this month, as pianos have been placed around the city for passers-by to play for free and win prizes.

Manchester Jazz Festival has teamed up with Forsyth’s Music shop on Deansgate and stationed 13 pianos around the city centre for a competition to promote the festival taking place later this month.

Anyone can take part in the competition until 29 May and you can find the pianos at: The Arndale Centre, The Corn Exchange, Forsyth’s Music shop, Great Northern, Harvey Nichols, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Central Library, Manchester Piccadilly Station, Quayside Media City UK, Royal Exchange Arcade, Spinningfields, The Trafford Centre, and Manchester Victoria Station.

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    One of the jazz festival pianos at Forsyths music shop in Manchester Credit: Emma Higgins

    Prizes will be awarded by the music shop to the nine contenders who showed the most creativity, ingenuity and gave the best performances.

    More information about the competition and how to get involved can be found here.If you’re not a piano maestro but looking for ways to get involved in the Manchester Jazz Festival, here are five great events you won’t want to miss out on between May 20 and May 29.


    Baiana The band inspired by Brazilian jazz and pop music are set to take the stage at Matt & Phreds at 9.30pm on Friday 20 May, kickstarting the nine-day-long festivities.Baiana will be playing an array of Latin-inspired arrangements that are bound to bring a tropical twist to the evening. The front woman Laura Doyle is often seen showcasing colourful costumes and is a natural entertainer, so this is set to be a night of beautiful performance.

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    Escape to Freight Island: On Saturday 21 May, Escape to Freight Island will be hosting seven acts throughout the day from 12pm to 10.30pm.These include: NGUVU, Kara, Mamilah, Dilettante, Emma Johnson’s Gravy Boat, Timeline, and Intergalactic Basstronauts.The variety of music ranges from 70s groove-based jazz fusion and old-school soul, to contemporary cinematic jazz and hip hop.

    Sara Colman and Rebecca Nash: Sarah Colman and Rebecca Nash will be showcasing their collection of new works inspired by friendship and musical partnership at St Ann’s Church on Monday 23 May.The event kicks off at 1pm and attendees won’t be charged, as it is a ‘pay what you feel’ gig. Manchester Jazz Festival is a charity and all donated money will be used to continue supporting artists, so people are encouraged to donate what they feel is right.

    Nubya Garcia: Multi-award winning Nubya Garcia will be performing at Band on the Wall on Thursday 26 May from 7.30pm until 10pm.The tenor-saxophonist and composer’s first album SOURCE was critically acclaimed and the music reflects her own Caribbean and West African musical heritage.

    The Ronnie Scott’s Trio featuring James Pearson: Forsyth Music shop will be hosting an intimate gig in memory of Oscar Peterson, arguably the most successful jazz pianist of all time.The Artistic Director James Pearson has often been compared to Peterson, and as he was lucky enough to meet the jazz legend himself, this performance includes personal anecdotes and some of Peterson’s compositions.The gig will take place Friday 27 May.