Woody Allen's jazz band to play the Royal Albert Hall in July

Guardian music
At home in Manhattan … Woody Allen. Photograph: AP

Woody Allen and the New Orleans Jazz Band will perform a one-off show at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on 2 July.

According to the venue’s website, the performance will be “an energetic collection of improvisations”, adding that there is no “playlist, nor do the musicians know what song Allen, in collaboration with band director Eddy Davis, will call out next”.

The seven-piece formed more than 35 years ago, playing music that draws on jazz greats such as Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, George Lewis, Johnny Dodds and Jimmie Noone.

While the director-musician plays regular slots with the group in New York, visits to the UK are rare; this is their first since 2004. According to a Guardian review of their show at the Hammersmith Apollo that year, the band ran through a repertoire of “hymns, funeral marches, bluesy laments and arrangements of popular songs”, but added that “as foot-tappingly nimble as the interplay can be between Allen, trumpeter Simon Wettenhall and trombonist Jerry Zigmont, their strictly-dixieland formula can grow monotonous, especially in the instrumental pieces”.

Although best known for his work as a director, Allen’s passion for music has often converged with film. He documented the group’s 1996 European tour for the film and album Wild Man Blues, and he famously missed accepting his Academy Award for best original screenplay (for Midnight in Paris) in 2012 because he was performing a concert on the same evening.

Tickets for the Royal Albert Hall gig go on sale on 5 May.

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