Preview: Cheltenham Jazz Festival

Cheltenham Jazz Festival announces star names including David Sanborn and Jamie Cullum, as it confirms its full lineup for this year's programme

Cheltenham Jazz Festival has announced its full programme for the 20th anniversary festival, which runs from 27 April to 2 May. Star names from around the world - and from soul, rock and blues as well as jazz - contribute to a strong roster of performers.

Two high-profile American stars - vocalist José James and saxophonist David Sanborn (pictured right) - have been added to the bill, along with singer Corinne Bailey Rae, Elbow vocalist and songwriter Guy Garvey and the festival's artistic curator Jamie Cullum, who will play a closing night show.

David Sanborn has worked with some of the music world’s biggest stars including David Bowie, the Rolling Stones and Paul Simon as well as with jazz legends such as Gil Evans, Jack DeJohnette and Christian McBride. He makes his Cheltenham Jazz Festival debut with his Electric Band. José James is known for his blend of jazz, soul, drum’n’bass and spoken word, which he channels into his own style of vocal jazz.

Meadow - the band originally formed by Thomas Strønen and Tore Brunborg with pianist John Taylor - will re-form in honour of Taylor, who died in July 2015. Bassist Anders Jormin will join Strønen and Brunborg for a set of brand new music. The BBC Concert Orchestra and the Guy Barker Big Band will present a Quincy Jones themed show, pianist Alexander Hawkins will premiere his Cheltenham Jazz Festival commission which promises "pop-up indoor and outdoor performances". Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lianne La Havas' Thursday evening concert will be broadcast live on Jo Whiley's Radio 2 show.

Soul singer Beverley Knight (pictured left), Courtney Pine and Zoe Rahman, Ian Shaw, acid jazzers the Brand New Heavies and singer Lizz Wright with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band have also been announced. Wright and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band will premiere their new Gershwin project.

The BBC Concert Orchestra's Quincy Jones concert, with the Guy Barker Big Band, will form part of a special Friday Night Is Music Night broadcast on Radio 2 on 28 April. Jazz Jamaica appeared at the first Cheltenham Jazz Festival and will return for the 20th.

Dinner Games is an intriguing addition: pianists Sarah Nicolls and Kit Downes will enable the audience to create music by triggering samples while seated at a long dinner table in the Parabola Arts Centre.

These new announcements line up alongside the already confirmed artists, including Grammy-nominated US trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah (pictured right by Bruce Lindsay), Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, the Becca Stevens Band, saxophonist Julian Arguelles, The Giovanni Guidi Trio, Omar Sosa’s Quarteto AfroCubano and Rom Schaerer Eberle.

The 2016 Cheltenham Jazz Festival will take place in a tented festival village in Cheltenham’s Montpellier Gardens, featuring a Big Top stage, the Jazz Arena and a food and drink area. The festival will also use nearby venues the Parabola Arts Centre, Cheltenham Town Hall and the Daffodil restaurant.

Information about the 2016 Festival can be found at the Cheltenham Festivals website.

Tickets will go on sale to Festival members on 24 February. General ticket sales open on 2 March.

Bruce Lindsay

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