“A contact hit of jazz as an approachable, positive force… The hum of pleasure as the crowd left was constant in this corner of the Cotswolds”
★★★★★ – The Independent
Stars from all corners of the globe will descend on Cheltenham for the return of the Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
Packed with UK debuts, one-off performances and exclusively curated concerts, this year’s Festival is set to deliver its trademark mix of the best classic and contemporary jazz, soul, blues, and pop on offer from an array of international powerhouse acts, and the brightest emerging talent.
Joining an impressive raft of high-profile names already announced for this year’s festival, including the likes of Kamasi Washington, Donny McCaslin, Beth Hart and Nigel Kennedy, visionary singer-songwriter Van Morrison, multi-million-selling Corinne Bailey Rae, award-winning pop-jazz singer Caro Emerald and chart-topping Irish vocalist Imelda May. DJ and broadcaster Gilles Peterson, will showcase gigs from neo-soul frontrunner Jordan Rakei, MOBO and Jazz FM Award-winning drummer Moses Boyd’s Exodus, and the hotly-tipped UK singer-songwriter Zara McFarlane.
Artistic Curator Jamie Cullum has once again selected some of his stand-out acts for the festival, with Mercury-nominated prog jazzers Dinosaur, cinematic nu-jazz outfit Portico Quartet, and the first ever UK performance from Christian McBride’s Big Band among his top picks.
Other heavyweight names confirmed for the 6-day event are British jazz giant and multiple MOBO winner Courtney Pine’s celebrated collaboration with soul singer Omar, legendary funk crew Tower of Power, Roller Trio with an exclusive set premiering new material, inimitable US jazz vocalist China Moses, boundary-pushing sounds from venerable British saxophonist Evan Parker’s Trance Map+ for what will be their second ever performance, Seun Kuti, the son of the legendary Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, with his late father’s band Egypt 80, and previously unheard material from Empirical.
Tickets go on sale to Members from February 28th and on general sale from March 7th.
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Kansas Smitty’s House Band play Cheltenham Town Hall following their sold-out takeover of the Daffodil last year, and they have curated the best of the programme from their East London bar at The Daffodil. Electronic musicians Iain Chambers and Dan Nicholls return with their Recomposed series, remixing performances from Swiss vocalist Lucia Cadotsch and Kit Downes’ fierce piano trio ENEMY, who launch their new album at the festival. Birmingham-based band Hansu-Tori with dancers from Birmingham Royal Ballet will perform excerpts from their show Wolves Are People Too, inspired by the iconic Japanese animation film Wolf Children.
Long-standing festival partner BBC Radio 2 will host live onsite broadcasts across the weekend, including a Rollin’ On The River themed Friday Night Is Music Night on a musical journey along the Mississippi River. There will also be live broadcasts from Clare Teal and Jo Whiley, as well as from Cerys Matthews and Gilles Peterson on BBC Radio 6Music.
Representing the younger generation are London-based contemporary jazz guitarist Rob Luft, the breathtaking vocals of Jazzmeia Horn, US soul singer Jalen N’Gonda, Jamie Cullum’s festival pick vocalist Anoushka Lucas, and a double bill from 24-year-old rising star vocalist Hannah Grace, and last year’s winner of Glastonbury’s ‘Emerging Talent’ competition Josh Barry.
As well as providing a platform for a new generation of artists, the festival offers a range of inspirational opportunities for young people: from introducing jazz to preschoolers in the Yamaha Discovery Space to one-to-one career advice from industry professionals, which will be available for the first time this year by appointment. The winner of the inaugural LetterOne ‘RISING STARS’ Jazz Award, 19-year-old guitarist Tom Ibarra, will start his tour of the seven major jazz festivals in Europe at Cheltenham.