Now that the full line-up has been revealed, I think it’s even stronger than previous years and covers every genre of music you can possibly connect to this festival, from Blues to Jazz, to Soul and Funk, along with the exciting collaborations that Cheltenham is famous for. Ian has gone down the familiar route, with the return of Jamie Cullum as Guest Director, Friday Night is Music Night and an extra-special collaboration of Laura Mvula and Gregory Porter, featuring the music of Gershwin.
Some say ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ but I’d argue, in this case, familiarity brings ticket sales. In fact, I’m pretty sure that both Friday Night is Music Night and Gershwin Rediscovered will be sell-outs. The younger, hip crowds have not been forgotten either; they’ll be enticed by the return of the famous Club Nights with Giles Peterson and Go Go Penguin appearing on the Saturday, and Squarepusher on the Sunday. Cutting edge, traditional and ground breaking, Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2015 has it ALL on the menu for music lovers this May.
In terms of the Programme, here is my mini-selection of the must-see acts this year:
· Phronesis Pitch Black – the band will be performing music from their album Life to Everything (which is superb) in darkness. This is in tribute to band member Jasper Holby’s sister, who sadly lost her sight.
· In Bed With – a collaboration between Sylvain Darrifourcq with Julien Desprez on guitar and Kit Downes on keys. The show has already been performed with good reviews.
· Go Go Penguin – Mercury Prize nominated Go Go Penguin are appearing with Giles Peterson as part of the Saturday Night Club Night. This band is on the cutting edge of the new wave of free improvisation jazz bands and are not to be missed!
· The Edge Project – Alexander Hawkins and Elaine Mitchener come together to produce an unusual and creative encounter with Jazz Standards, while the Impermanence Trio will let the audience decide what they play in their set. A thrilling end to Saturday.
· Medeski Martin & Wood, featuring Jamie Cullum – a rare appearance on these shores for John Medeski and his band. This, along with the fact that they are a superb band, live and recorded, is a great reason to make a point of seeing them.
To be honest, whatever your selection, you will not be disappointed. The entire line-up is pure quality and I know that all performances will showcase huge talent. Full details of the Programme, along with booking procedures, can be found at: www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/jazz. Also check out all the additional events that add to this great festival.
THE PROGRAMME IN FULL
Wednesday 29 April 2015
Alice Zawadzki THE DAFFODIL
Thursday 30 April 2015
Beth Hart THE JAZZ ARENA
Caro Emerald THE BIG TOP
Nina Ferro THE DAFFODIL
Friday 1 May 2015
Alice Russell JAZZ ARENA
Phronesis: Pitch Black PARABOLA ARTS CENTRE
Friday Night is Music Night – The Sinatra Legacy THE BIG TOP
Andrea Motis & Joan Chamorro Group THE DAFFODIL
Late night jazz club: Soul Family & Festival Friends THE DAFFODIL
Saturday 2 May 2015
Trondheim Jazz Exchange PARABOLA ARTS CENTRE
Kizzy Crawford JAZZ ARENA
Ben Cox & Jamie Safiruddin HOTEL DU VIN
Sun Ra Arkestra THE BIG TOP
Jonathan Silk Sextet PARABOLA ARTS CENTRE
Lee Konitz and Dave Douglas Quintet TOWN HALL
Tony Allen THE JAZZ ARENA
Wilko Johnson THE BIG TOP
Samuel Blaser Trio PARABOLA ARTS CENTRE
Clare Teal TOWN HALL
Joe Lovano’s Village Rhythms Band THE JAZZ ARENA
Sugar Sisters THE DAFFODIL
The Edge Project PARABOLA ARTS CENTRE
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas THE BIG TOP
The Speakeasy THE DAFFODIL
Gilles Peterson and GoGo Penguin TOWN HALL
Sunday 3 May 2015
Surnatural Orchestra PARABOLA ARTS CENTRE
Natalie Williams THE JAZZ ARENA
Double bill: Si Cranstoun & Purdy THE BIG TOP
In Bed With... PARABOLA ARTS CENTRE
John Scofield meets Pablo Held Trio THE JAZZ ARENA
Medeski Martin & Wood with special guest Jamie Cullum THE BIG TOP
Rachael Cohen Quartet featuring Phil Robson PARABOLA ARTS CENTRE
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba THE JAZZ ARENA
Average White Band Plus The Staxs TOWN HALL
Rumer THE BIG TOP
Julian Arguelles Septet PARABOLA ARTS CENTRE
Squarepusher Live TOWN HALL
Monday 4 May 2015
Family Show: Supersonics JAZZ ARENA
Hackney Colliery Band THE BIG TOP
FRINGE SHOWCASE: Melissa James & Hattie Briggs THE JAZZ ARENA
Neil Cowley Trio JAZZ ARENA
Gershwin Rediscovered feat. Gregory Porter and Laura Mvula created by Ignite THE BIG TOP