Normandy gets pick of the jazz crop

The 32nd Jazz sous les pommiers festival takes place this May in Coutances, France with highlights including Ravi Coltrane, Madeleine Peyroux and Avishai Cohen

"Good music, good weather, good organisation, a typical French city setting with a cathedral on top of a hill and all within easy striking distance of southern England. Who could ask for more?" So said Derek Ansell in his review of the 2011 Jazz sous les pommiers festival in Normandy.

This year's "Jazz under the apple trees" features a typically extensive list of performers including Ravi Coltrane, Madeleine Peyroux and Avishai Cohen.

The festival, which has been running since 1982, returns for its 32nd year from 4 to 11 May 2013. Set across four venues (the Marcel-Hélie Hall, Municipal Theatre, Magic Mirrors and the Caves des Unelles) in the picturesque cathedral town of Coutances, west of Paris, the week-long celebration of jazz also plays out in various guises across the town with street performers and free music in the square.

Madeleine Peyroux will play the Marcel-Hélie Hall on 4 May, with her new show including covers of Ray Charles and Simon & Garfunkel. The opening day also features saxophonist Walter Smith III with the Eric Harland Quintet.

The Ravi Coltrane Quartet appears on 7 May, double-bass virtuoso Avishai Cohen on 10 May, Celtically inclined Scottish saxophonist Fraser Fifield on 10 May, John Surman beneath the cathedral on 11 May, and the Vijay Iyer trio on 11 May.

Other performers include Charles Lloyd, Gary Burton, Joshua Redman, Nils Landgren and Gregory Porter.

There is also a packed programme of peripheral concerts and activities across the town, including 'Jazz walking with cider' on 10 May, which features a field-walk that takes in Regnéville-sur-mer castle and ends with a cider-tasting event.

Tickets to the festival can be bought online after 30 March at, where you can also find out more about the events and musicians confirmed to appear.

Sally Evans-Darby

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