The first major jazz festival in the UK of 2009, the Gateshead Jazz Festival, is to take place on 20-22 March at the Sage with a line-up including early bookings Guy Barker’s Jazz Orchestra, Courtney Pine, Ian Shaw, Sheila Jordan, Cleveland Watkiss, Joshua Redman Trio, John Warren’s Splinter Group, Marcin Wasilewski, Alan Barnes and Jambone, plus The Jazz Lounge, Jam Sessions, DJ sets, free Concourse performances, workshops and masterclasses.

Take Five – the Jerwood Charitable Foundation and the PRS Foundation for New Music-backed scheme – has just announced the line-up of participants for the next edition of the scheme. The artist development scheme for emerging jazz musicians is designed to give some of the UK’s most talented young jazz musicians the unique opportunity to take ‘time out’ to develop their craft. The musicians selected are John Burton (Leafcutter John) (electronics); Neil Charles (double bass), Nathaniel Facey (alto saxophone), Robin Fincker (clarinets and saxophones), Jim Hart (vibraphone and drums), Jasper Høiby (double bass), Chris Mapp (double bass) and Natalie Williams (vocals).

Having enjoyed a 700% increase in album sales of their Mercury-nominated debut album 'Knee Deep In The North Sea', London-based Portico Quartet capitalise on their new found household name status with their first ever national tour of the UK. Launching this with their now sold-out gig at the Purcell Room as part of this year's London Jazz Festival on November 19th, they visit venues across the UK.

Blues musicians Charlie Musselwhite and Dave Peabody will unite for a UK tour from 11-20 November. Mississippi and Chicago blues legend Musselwhite, widely considered as an indispensable part of the blues and UK virtuoso blues guitarist Peabody, a mainstay of the UK blues scene since the 1960s, will play solo sets each before coming together for a final set of songs and stories.

Courtney Pine’s Destin-e records is holding a special series of gigs at the Stables venue in Wavendon this weekend. Featuring pianist Nikki Yeoh tomorrow with her band Infinitum, the weekend also includes Cuban violinist and Courtney Pine Band member Omar Puente on Friday night followed by Empirical, the band that won Jazzwise’s album of the year award in 2007, on Saturday.

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