Cheltenham Jazz Festival

In 2008 the HSBC Cheltenham Jazz Festival will bring more concerts, more dancing and more festival buzz than ever before in seven days of the very best performances, exclusive new commissions and unique collaborations.

Cheltenham has become an unmissable date in the jazz calendar due to its unique blend of British stars, creative New York names and quirky European acts and this year's programme reads like a who's who from the world of jazz. In this truly diverse line-up guitar maestro Bill Frisell rubs shoulders with jazz-folk songstress Gwyneth Herbert whilst drum legend John DeJohnette sits alongside the funky grooves of Maceo Parker. The Festival really does showcase the finest in international jazz.

This voyage of all things jazz kicks off with concerts from two truly iconic performers live on the Centaur stage: Eartha Kitt and Van Morrison. In an exclusive opening night concert sultry diva Eartha Kitt will make her only UK festival performance of the year. An artist with an incomparable back catalogue of film, theatre and of course jazz Eartha is sure to seduce with her unique voice and sensational style. Since bursting onto the music scene over 40 years ago Van Morrison has produced such iconic modern classics as Brown Eyed Girl and Moondance. 'Van the Man' joins the Festival to launch his new album Keep It Simple on 30 April.

Over on the Town Hall main stage BBC Radio 2 will treat Festival goers to a tribute to Billie Holiday with the ever popular Friday Night is Music Night directed by Guy Barker. If the smooth sounds of Lady Day leave you yearning for more vocal perfection you can spoil yourself with Jools Holland's frontwoman, soul singer Ruby Turner, or the infectious sounds of Imelda May - back in Cheltenham by popular demand. Add to this a tribute to Sidney Bechet courtesy of Courtney Pine and a not-to-be-missed performance from aristocrats of British jazz Cleo Laine and John Dankworth and this is a line-up bursting with the very best jazz.

This year the HSBC Cheltenham Jazz Festival will take over the whole town as it branches out through Cheltenham's finest venues. The Everyman Theatre will host the very best in modern jazz with evening entertainment and late night sessions featuring ex-Buena Vista musician Roberto Fonseca, drum demon John DeJohnette and retro-future jazz from Jerry Dammers' Spatial AKA Orchestra. And in an exclusive for Cheltenham guitar superstar Bill Frisell will launch his new quintet. With this sensational line-up the Everyman series offers a chance to sample the finest world jazz live on your doorstep.

The programme takes us on a heady journey from iconic legends to stars of the future courtesy of the Jerwood Jazz Generation - a showcase for the very best young talent in the UK. Outhouse Ruhabi bring a unique flavour of the Gambia to the programme this year with a collaboration between Dave Smith's Outhouse from London and five traditional Wolof drummers. Urban jazz maestro Soweto Kinch, saxophone ace Iain Ballamy and post-punk band leader Pete Wareham all feature at the heart of this eagerly anticipated series.

As ever the Festival delights in its unique blend of 'dance jazz' with a set of sensational club nights. Heritage Orchestra join forces with Bonobo to bring the music of legendary Brazilian DJ Amon Tobin to life with their 45 piece symphony orchestra. Combining their mix of jazz, classical and cross-genre dance forms with Bonobo's hip-hop, funk and soul - this is pure clubber's delight. Followed the next night by a taste of Mr Scruff in 270 minutes of jazz, break beat and more - this is the perfect way to keep it unreal right into bank holiday Monday. And in a unique collaboration DJ Nicola Conte joins the BBC Big Band for Bossa Nova with a contemporary twist. This is a programme bursting with jazzalicious beats.

Add to this the Family Breakfast Show, schools' concerts, master classes, free fringe events round town and the Budvar Jazz Marquee and this year's Festival really will explore jazz in all its moods.

write your comments about the article :: 2008 Jazz News :: home page