Wigan Jazz Festival line-up announced

This year's Wigan Jazz Festival takes place from 11 to 14 July and features Igor Butman, Darius Brubeck, Dutch Swing College Band, Linley Hamilton, Georgina Jackson and many more

Now in its 28th year, Wigan's annual jazz festival returns this July with a mixture of new and established acts, workshops and jazz masterclasses at the heart of the north west.

This year's headline acts include Russian saxophonist Igor Butman (pictured right). The Leningrad-born virtuoso began his musical career on clarinet, switching to saxophone after enrolling in the Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music in 1977. He has since played around the world, with former President Bill Clinton calling him his favourite saxophone player and Wynton Marsalis his "main man".

Butman will bring his big band to Wigan for a rare festival appearance on 18 July, with a double-header alongside the Dutch Swing College Band. Festival Director Ian Darrington describes Butman's playing as "an enthralling mixture of innate natural soulful ability and amazing technique. His concert appearances are rare so we're delighted that he has chosen to come to Wigan this year."

Joining Igor Butman on Wigan's bill this year are keyboardist Darius Brubeck, son of the late Dave Brubeck, who will play with his trio. Having played to sold-out audiences in festivals and clubs the world over, the trio, who have been playing together for seven years, will be joined for the first time by guest saxophonist Brandon Allen.

Other highlights at the festival include Wigan-born singer and trumpeter Georgina Jackson, who has recently appeared at Ronnie Scott's and with the BBC Big Band, including a tribute to Peggy Lee broadcast on Radio 2. The Skelton Skinner All Star Big Band will play on 14 July, with two sets covering highlights from their six volumes of live music and instrumental arrangements of American songbook standards.

Belfast trumpeter Linley Hamilton will also appear at Wigan with his sextet. He tells Jazz Journal in a forthcoming profile "Modern jazz from the 50s on is the highest art form there's ever been."

The festival takes place from 11 to 14 July, with all performances taking place at Wigan's Robin Park Indoor Sports Centre, Loire Festival unless otherwise stated. The full programme is available at wiganjazz.net, and you can book tickets on 01942 828 271.

Sally Evans-Darby

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