Budvar Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2009

Budvar Cheltenham Jazz Festival (28th April – 4th May) has become an unmissable date in the jazz calendar due to its unique blend of British stars, one off collaborations and the freshest new sounds. In the 2009 programme, up-and-coming young musicians sit alongside some of the jazz scene's most influential and respected performers. With more opportunities for dancing, wining and dining than ever before, this year's festival is a whistle-stop tour of the world's finest jazz set to a stunning regency backdrop.

At the head of this year's star-studded programme, world famous virtuoso violinist Nigel Kennedy will celebrate the Bank Holiday in a spell-binding festival finale. Undoubtedly one of the most important violinists Britain has ever produced, Kennedy's passion for jazz resulted in the acclaimed album Blue Note Sessions in 2006. He brings his Polish Jazz Quintet to Cheltenham to perform exciting high-energy compositions which roam from blues and bebop to ballads and bossa-nova, interspersed with an occasional blast of metal. This is a unique and exciting opportunity to see this icon of British music.

International starlet Madeleine Peyroux returns to Cheltenham following her sell-out performance in 2007. Her previous albums Half the World Away and Careless Love sold over a million copies, earning critical-acclaim for her jazz/blues interpretations of works by artists such as Leonard Cohen and Edith Piath. In the intimate setting of the Everyman this will be Peyroux at her jazz club best.

At its heart, Cheltenham rejoices in the talent of some truly legendary jazz performers. South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela boasts a career that spans the entire history of jazz. Having collaborated with such diverse musicians as Paul Simon and Fela Kuti, his performance in Cheltenham promises a gloriously uplifting combination of jazz and township jive to fabulous effect.

Cheltenham's relationship with BBC Radio 2 continues to flourish with two unique concerts. In Friday Night Is Music Night the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Guy Barker Big Band tell the story of Billy Strayhorn and his controversial relationship with Duke Ellington, whilst in a renowned festival collaboration, Artist in Residence Dave Liebman performs with the BBC Big Band. As the leading preserver of John Coltrane's saxophone legacy, Liebman's gentle approach will be complemented by the accompanying sounds of drummer Jeff Williams. Liebman will also share the secrets of his success in a live recording of BBC Radio 3 Jazz Library with jazz guru Alyn Shipton.

Following sell-out performances last year, Jack DeJohnette returns to Cheltenham for a unique performance with a band featuring the finest UK's talent from the Jerwood Jazz Generation and Take 5 schemes. One of jazz music's greatest drummers, this is a hugely anticipated collaboration. In a festival association pianist Nikki Yeoh performs with her excellent Trio Infinitum to present a number of specially commissioned pieces featuring guest John Surman.

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. James Allsop's new trio The Golden Age of Steam promises a multi-coloured world of improvised sound whilst Robert Mitchell celebrates hip-hop, folk, electronica and rock with his new group 3i0. Elsewhere BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist Tom Arthurs debuts his new quintet featuring festival favourite Ingrid Laubrock and Chris Bowden sets out to prove that jazz can be as contemporary and relevant as modern sampled music. With unique approaches and refreshing energy, each musician of the Jerwood Jazz Generation offers the chance to hear some truly cutting edge sounds.

The festival also has plenty of opportunities to dance the night away. With her infectiously unique fusion of rockabilly, blues and jazz, Imelda May's star is on the rise. In this headline slot at club Dakota, Imelda's distinctive and uplifting performance is bound to be a toe-tapping festival highlight. For some international grooves join Alex Wilson's Salsa Orchestra as they delight with a combination of fiery afro Latin tunes, soaring jazz licks, unique R&B influences and powerful vocals. At the other end of the dance spectrum, YouTube sensation Beardyman will be joined by The Scratch Perverts for a night of off-the-wall human beat-boxing and scratching – jazz style. These entertaining and diverse concerts will have jazz lovers dancing through the night…

In four glamorous evenings the festival brings a series of unique performances to the beautiful Art Deco setting of The Daffodil. The series starts in chic style with the sublime vocals of Lizzy Parks. Since featuring as a Jerwood Rising Star three years ago, Lizzy's cutting edge soul and unique sound has won her wide critical acclaim. In another truly unforgettable performance Lea Delaria will bring her trademark mix of cool swinging jazz with in-your-face comedy to The Daffodil. For some classic jazz tunes, Scottish singer Todd Gordon will perform songs from his new album which celebrates the genius of one of the world's greatest lyricists of all time, Johnny Mercer, who penned such timeless classics as Moon River and That Old Black Magic. And in his highly anticipated return to Cheltenham, movie star Colin Salmon takes time from his Hollywood schedule to play the trumpet in his very own quartet in an evening of unrivalled Hollywood glamour. Combining smooth sounds and the finest eating experience in Cheltenham, these concerts are always a firm festival favourite.

In our very popular family breakfast slot, The Homemade Orchestra and Michael Rosen form a unique combination and a lively addition to the festival. Together they will perform a piece which combines Rosen's poetry with music to ignite the surreal, playful and truly unexpected. Add to this a gospel extravaganza with the Ruach Choir and guests including Mica Paris, the schools' project Jazz It Up!, master classes, free fringe events round town, the Budvar Jazz Marquee and even our very own jazz inspired cocktails - and this year's programme offers a feast of festival fun.

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