Preview: Wigan Jazz Festival

The Wigan International Jazz Festival returns this July, launched with two June concerts by Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band in Manchester

The 32nd Wigan International Jazz Festival takes place from 6 to 9 July this year. Four headline concerts by Jools Holland's Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Branford Marsalis and Kurt Elling, Ambrose Akinmusire and John LaBarbera have already been announced and the festival is to be launched at Manchester's Royal Northern College Of Music with two concerts by Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band.

Wigan Jazz Club, organisers of the festival, have revised the structure of the weekend for this year, with the festival day running from 10.00am to 1.00am. The programme will be arranged around several different themes or strands, such as classic jazz, late-night jazz and open-air concerts.

The Big Phat Band will play two festival launch concerts in late June - on Sunday 25 at 4.00pm and on Monday 26 at 7.30pm - at the Royal Northern College Of Music. The 18-piece band is led by Grammy-winning composer and arranger Gordon Goodwin (pictured right by Rex Bullington), whose work includes music for films such as Armageddon, Star Trek Nemesis and Gone In 60 Seconds.

Jools Holland opens the festival on Thursday 6 July: his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra will be joined by singers Chris Difford, Ruby Turner, Louise Marshall and Beth Rowley. The following evening Kurt Elling and Branford Marsalis will headline, accompanied by pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Justin Faulkner. Saturday's main concert will feature trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire's quartet alonside the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra. The festival closes on Sunday 9 July with a concert from John LaBarbera's Reunion Dream Band including music in celebration of the centenary of Buddy Rich's birth. Other performers across the weekend will include the Dave Newton Trio, Odette and the Remi Harris Trio.

Tickets for the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band can be booked at the RNCM website. (Please note: the Monday evening concert is sold out.)

Tickets for the Wigan International Jazz Festival go on sale from 3 April. For more information please call 01942 776169.

Bruce Lindsay

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