Preview: Cheltenham lineup completes

Cheltenham Jazz Festival has finalised its twentieth anniversary lineup including DJ Jo Whiley hosting BBC Introducing and Leo Green presenting Sounds Of The 50s

Cheltenham Jazz Festival has confirmed the final lineup for its 20th anniversary event, which runs from 27 April to 2 May. DJ and presenter Jo Whiley will host the BBC Introducing showcase while  Leo Green’s Sounds Of The 50s will feature special guest Imelda May (pictured right).

The festival will once again deliver a diverse programme that combines established stars with up and coming talent from jazz, blues, pop and soul. Having already announced Lianne La Havas in concert with Jo Whiley on Thursday 28 April, the festival has confirmed that Whiley will also host the return of the BBC Introducing showcase. The showcase, this year in partnership with BBC Radio 2, will provide a platform to for some of the most exciting and creative UK jazz talent. Performances will be recorded for broadcast on Whiley’s show in May.

Whiley will also DJ with Trevor Nelson and Guy Garvey at this year’s Ultimate House Party in association with Nespresso (a special event for Cheltenham Festivals members only). Jo Whiley said: "I’m really excited to be returning to the Cheltenham Jazz Festival this year with BBC Radio 2. As well as presenting a concert from the inimitable Lianne La Havas and hosting the BBC Introducing Showcase, I’ll be soaking up the incredible atmosphere and enjoying loads of really special music."

Another notable addition to the final line-up is singer-songwriter Imelda May, who will bring Leo Green’s hit BBC Radio 2 series Sounds Of The 50s to life. The concert will feature an array of guest vocalists performing renditions of 50s classics from the likes of Elvis, Buddy Holly, James Brown, Ray Charles  and Fats Domino, presented by Green and accompanied by a big band.

The 2016 Cheltenham Jazz Festival is hosted in a tented festival village in Cheltenham’s Montpellier Gardens, featuring a Big Top stage, the Jazz Arena, the Free Stage and a new Family Tent with workshops, performances and sing-alongs and a food and drink area. The festival will continue to use nearby venues the Parabola Arts Centre, Cheltenham Town Hall, Hotel Du Vin and Subtone.

New this year is "…around town", which builds on the popular fringe festival of previous years. Throughout the festival "...around town" will feature a mix of over 80 free gigs from local and international performers and buskers in the town centre, including pop-up gigs and performances at Cheltenham’s Brewery Quarter and the Street Stage.

Read an earlier Jazz Journal festival preview.

For more information visit the Cheltenham Jazz Festival website.

Most tickets are now on general sale, with those for the newly announced gigs due on sale soon - they can be booked via the festival's What's On page.

Bruce Lindsay

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