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Jazz Festival Line-up revealed

Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2011

A Superstar Guest Director

In 2010, Jamie Cullum's sell-out performance at the Town Hall was an absolute festival highlight. In fact, Jamie himself enjoyed it so much that he is back headlining the 2011 programme in the role of Guest Director. This means that as well as showcasing new material in his own solo set, Jamie has also invited some of his favourite artists to perform in Cheltenham. His choices reflect the breadth of the festival's programme: with inventive pop-covers from Norwegian starlet Susanna, an acoustic sextet from Mercury Prize nominated pianist Kit Downes, and soulful jazz grooves from the rising singer-songwriter Andreya Triana. Alongside his solo set, Jamie will also reveal all about the makings of a jazz superstar in a special 'in conversation' event, exclusively available to Cheltenham Festivals Members.

Legends of Jazz

Cleo Laine is one of the all time jazz greats. In fact, she is a very strong contender for the title 'first lady of jazz'. Her stunning vocal range and charismatic stage presence have seen Cleo perform worldwide from English dance halls to the Royal Albert Hall alongside some of the world's greatest jazz musicians. Her new show is the perfect opening night to the 2011 festival as she plays alongside her band featuring her son, bassist Alec Dankworth.

From one jazz legend, to four in one group - The Overtone Quartet is quite simply a jazz super group, bringing together four of the best contemporary jazz has to offer. This all star American quartet features bassist Dave Holland (fresh from last year's amazing flamenco performance), saxophonist Chris Potter, pianist Jason Moran and drummer Eric Harland. The concert reads as a who's who of outstanding performers, and promises the very best jazz live in Cheltenham.

Pharoah Sanders has one of the most distinctive, harmonically rich saxophone sounds in jazz. He is a widely acclaimed musicians, once described as ‘probably the best tenor player in the world’ by Ornette Coleman. He found success playing free jazz in John Coltrane's late ensembles, but now his music is guided by more graceful concerns – as reflected in his headline slot at The Big Chill in 2009.

A Royal Celebration

The 2010 festival falls over the Royal Wedding Bank Holiday Weekend – and we plan to celebrate in unique Jazz Festival style. There will be a whole day of 'best-of-british' themed outdoor fun in Imperial Gardens with fee live music throughout the day, vintage inspired food, drink and activities, and a live broadcast of the wedding itself.

The jewel in the crown of the day of royal revelry is a special Jazz Royalty edition of BBC Radio 2's Friday Night is Music Night. Sir Michael Parkinson presents this evening with the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Guy Barker Big Band for the live broadcast which features the music of 'Duke' Ellington, 'Count' Basie, Benny Goodman (The King of Swing) and many more. The stellar line-up includes Georgie Fame, Madeleine Bell, Martin Taylor and Charlie Wood. Friday Night is Music Night is always a real festival favourite, and the royal twist will ensure the Bank Holiday goes with a swing.

The finest contemporary jazz

In partnership with BBC Radio 3, the festival will present a specially commissioned project from the ever brilliant and unpredictable composer Django Bates. Django himself will perform a short piano solo set, followed by the world premier of the project written for a nine piece band. This is cutting edge jazz as it happens, live at the festival.

Another highlight sees leading UK saxophonist Andy Sheppard return to the Festival with his new group Trio Libero featuring two collaborators, French bass virtuoso Michel Benita and Seb Rochford, the young drummer at the heart of genre-bending band Polar Bear. Releasing their ECM label début in Spring, Sheppard’s glowing tone works in tandem with the colourful ideas of Benita and Rochford’s dynamic drum attack.

Elsewhere the programme features the best in home-grown and international jazz with the likes of Tom Cawley and his trio Curios, Denys Baptiste, Portico Quartet and Martin France's Spin Marvel featuring Nils Petter Molvaer. The partnership with Norway continues with a collaboration between Birmingham Conservatoire and the Trondheim Conservatory; and a headline slot for an ensemble led by Tord Gustavsen featuring some of Norway's most in demand players. As part of this set, Tord will perform a world premier commissioned piece for Cheltenham.

Something a little different

Whilst a passion for jazz is at the heart of the festival, the 2011 programme also features dance, soul, R'n'B and pop.

From the R’n’B sounds of the 50s and early 60s courtesy of James Hunter, to an evening of luxury at The Daffodil with starlets Liane Carroll or Gwyneth Herbert, to the quirky combination harp and jazz from the Lucinda Belle Orchestra, via the smooth sounds of Kyle Eastwood - the programme is absolutely bursting with stunning vocalists to suit all musical tastes.

The festival club-nights have a reputation for great music, outstanding artists and an even better night out. This year we offer too nights of bliss for late-night music lovers. On the Saturday night, electronic music duo Lamb will fill the Town Hall with their distinctive mixture of jazz, dub, breaks, drum and bass and stunning vocals. On Sunday Roots Manuva and Bonobo take to the stage in an exclusive double bill. One of the UK’s finest MCs and producers,Roots Manuva blends hip-hop, reggae, dub and electronica with witty and eccentric rhymes. Bonobo is known for his eclectic mix of breaks, jazz, hip-hop, soul and funk,and he leads a superb live band featuring brass and electronics. The result? Pure party jazz.

If you like your jazz a little earlier in the day, the Family Breakfast Show let's you enjoy your breakfast and read the paper as the family are entertained by the energetic Glasgow based four-piece Brass Jaw. Bringing a vibrant new sound to the world of jazz, they perform without a traditional rhythm section. Expect lively, upbeat music,suitable for every age group. A great way to kick-start the day!

Cheltenham Jazz Festival runs from 27 April - 2 May 2011

Explore Gloucestershire
17 February 2011

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