Van Morrison, Imelda May, Kamasi Washington, Courtney Pine & Omar, Corinne Bailey Rae, Rick Astley, Caro Emerald, Jordan Rakei, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Bill Frisell & Thomas Morgan, Andy Sheppard, Portico Quartet, Eric Gales, Jay Rayner are some of the top names scheduled for the 2018 Cheltenham Jazz Festival, which takes place across the town from May 2-7.
This year will also see the festival’s first curated concert series by DJ and broadcaster Gilles Peterson, which will feature shows from neo-soul frontrunner Jordan Rakei, MOBO and Jazz FM Award-winning drummer Moses Boyd’s Exodus, and Echoes favourite Zara McFarlane.
Artistic Curator Jamie Cullum has once again selected some of his standout 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 six-day event include 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 and Empirical with previously unheard material. Kansas Smitty’s House Band return to the Daffodil following their sold-out takeover last year. Also back by popular demand are electronic musicians Iain Chambers and Dan Nicholls with their Recomposed series, which this year will see performances from Swiss vocalist Lucia Cadotsch and Kit Downes’ fierce piano trio ENEMY, who launch their new album at the festival.
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 which will see the BBC Concert Orchestra and Guy Barker Big Band plus a host of acclaimed guest vocalists including Shaun Escoffery and Vanessa Haynes 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.
The Festival is hosted in a tented festival village in the town centre’s picturesque Montpellier Gardens, featuring the Henry Westons Big Top stage, Jazz Arena, Free Stage, Yamaha Discovery Space, a programme of family activities and events and a food, drink and market area. It also reaches beyond the festival village into Cheltenham, bringing jazz to venues throughout the day until late into the night. These include Cheltenham Town Hall, Cheltenham Ladies’ College Parabola Arts Centre, Hotel du Vin, Malmaison and The Daffodil, as well as a dynamic free fringe line-up around town.
Tickets go on sale to members from February 28 and on general sale from March 7.
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