Christian McBride Big Band, Kamasi Washington and Randy Crawford for Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2018

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The first names have been announced for the 22nd edition of the 2018 Cheltenham Jazz Festival, which runs from 2 to 7 May next year, and includes some sizable US jazz talents. Chief among these is revered bassist Christian McBride (above left) who will be making a very rare UK appearance with his barnstorming Big Band, who were featured on his most recent album, Bringin' It (Mack Avenue), and are set to appear at Cheltenham Town Hall on 6 May.

Another name announced is LA sax star Kamasi Washington (above centre), who made a huge impact in 2015 with his critically acclaimed triple album, The Epic, who makes his debut at Cheltenham with his powerful band, who will doubtless unleash some of their paint-stripping spiritual-jazz fusion from his new Harmony of Difference EP, when they perform at the Big Top on 6 May. Renowned soul-jazz singer Randy Crawford (top right), known for her work with The Crusaders on their hit 'Street Life' and solo hit 'One day I'll Fly Away', as well as her prolific partnership with their late great keyboardist, Joe Sample, is also set to in her debut appearance at the festival in the Big Top on 2 May. The festival's winning approach to crossover programming, also sees popular blues singer Beth Hart (Big Top, 5 May), also confirmed in this first tranche of names.

The festival takes place in its dedicated 'festival village' in the Spa town's picturesque Montpellier Gardens, where the Big Top and Jazz Arena venues are situated alongside festival site's Free Stage, record shop, food stalls and bars, with participating venues including the Town Hall, Parabola Arts Centre (PAC) and The Daffodil as well as a vibrant fringe line-up and late night events around the town.

– Mike Flynn

For more info and tickets visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/jazz