Tom Ibarra, Stoney Lane Records store and Family shows complete Cheltenham Jazz Fest line-up

The doors are almost open for this year's edition of the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, which runs from 2 to 7 May at venues around the picturesque Cotswold Spa town. With the full programme now confirmed, the line-up will see Los Angeles sax star Kamasi Washington play the final date of his UK tour, following his shows at Roundhouse, London (2 May), Albert Hall, Manchester (4 May), Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow (5 May). The tenor sax firebrand will be playing music from his eagerly anticipated new album Heaven And Earth, which is set for release on UK label Young Turks and follows his all-conquering 2015 triple LP, The Epic. Another first at the festival will be an appearance by 19-yearold French guitarist Tom Ibarra (above left), who is the first winner of the Letter One Rising Stars Award new talent prize. Already clocking-up stage time with Marcus Miller and Richard Bona, he'll perform an opening set supporting Courtney Pine at the Town Hall on Friday 4 May.

The festival also features an extensive participation and family strand via the Yamaha Discovery Space with weekend events including Sound and Songs of Latin America with award-winning singer/guitarist Camilo Menjura (12.15pm, 5 May); the popular Family Sing with Grammy-nominated saxophonist/singer Becki Biggins (above right, 2pm, 5 May); a chance to explore percussion instruments and global jazz sounds with Adriano Adawele's Jazz & Percussion from Brazil workshop (3.15pm, 6 May), while the Bank Holiday Monday blasts off an all-ages concert from Bostin' Brass & Young Pilgrims (11am, 7 May).

This month's Jazzwise features a fantastic cover-mounted CD from Birmingham-based Stoney Lane Records who will once more be running the festival's on-site record store, where the May issue of Jazzwise will be on-sale complete with the free CD. The record store tent will also be the place where many of this year's artists will be signing copies of their latest album and or merchandise. The staggering list of artist signings so far includes Jazzmeia Horn, Eric Gales, Jay Rayner, Lucia Cadotsch, ENEMY, Rob Luft, Dinosaur, Bill Frisell & Thomas Morgan, Becki Biggins, Portico Quartet, Roller Trio, Clare Teal, Sarah Munro, Zara McFarlane, Hansu Tori, Issie Barratt, Hannah Grace & Josh Barry, Tim Hopgood (illustrator), Donny McCaslin, Christian McBride, Alexander Hawkins / Elaine Mitchener Quartet, Kamasi Washington, Arun Ghosh, PP Arnold, Tower of Power, Vein, Riot Jazz, Empirical and Caro Emerald.

With around 90 jazz fringe gigs at participating venues and live spaces around the town, the main festival site's Free Stage also hosts its usual selection of impressive local jazz bands. The site features a wide-range of international food stalls and bars. With Jazzwise as media partners, key headliners appearing include Randy Crawford (Big Top, 2 May); Van Morrison (Big Top, 3 May); Nigel Kennedy (Town Hall, 3 May); Courtney Pine featuring Omar (Town Hall, 4 May); Lucia Cadotoch/ENEMY, Dinosaur (PAC, 4 May); Rob Luft (The Daffodil, 4 May); Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 (Big Top, 5 May); Portico Quartet (Jazz Arena, 5 May); Zara McFarlane (Jazz Arena, 5 May); Bill Frisell/Thomas Morgan (Town Hall, 5 May); Roller Trio (PAC, 5 May); Jim Black's Malamute (PAC, 5 May); Beth Hart (Big Top, 5 May); Jason Moran Bandwagon Trio (Town Hall, 5 May); Evan Parker and Trance Map+ (PAC, 5 May); Jordan Rakei (Town Hall, 5 May); Issie Barratt's Interchange, Alexander Hawkins/Elaine Mitchener Quartet, Arun Ghosh, VEIN featuring Stan Sulzmann (all at PAC, 6 May); China Moses (Jazz Arena, 6 May), Tower Of Power (Town Hall, 6 May); Andy Sheppard Quartet (Town Hall, 6 May); Christian McBride Big Band (Town Hall, 6 May); Kamasi Washington (Big Top, 6 May); Donny McCaslin Band (Jazz Arena, 6 May) and Empirical (Jazz Arena, 7 May).

Mike Flynn

Full details and tickets at www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/jazz

 

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