Preview: Norfolk and Norwich Festival

The jazz at this major East Anglian arts festival ranges from Dee Dee Bridgewater to Brad Mehldau, with Get The Blessing and Kansas Smitty's in the Spiegeltent

The 2017 Norfolk and Norwich Festival, which runs from Friday 12 to Sunday 28 May, once again boasts a strong jazz strand within its varied programme of classical and contemporary music, dance, visual arts, circus and literature.

International artists appearing this year include Dee Dee Bridgewater (Theatre Royal, Saturday 20), the Brad Mehldau Trio (St Andrew's Hall, Thursday 18) and Naturally 7 (St Andrew's Hall, Sunday 14).

Home-grown bands Get The Blessing, Ezra Collective, Kansas Smitty's House Band (pictured right by Rah Petherbridge Photography) and LaSharVu play late-night sets in the Spiegeltent, the 100-year-old circus tent cum seedy(ish) nightclub which makes its home in Chapelfield Gardens.

The festival always offers family-friendly events. One of the 2017 events comes courtesy of the Family Jazz All-Stars, led by singer Juliet Kelly, who will give two daytime shows at the Norwich Playhouse on Saturday 13. The All-Stars will pay tribute to stars like Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Astrud Gilberto and promise "a fun-filled family show... Perfect for all ages."

Also at the Playhouse, another legendary jazz vocalist gets her own tribute in the world premiere of Stormy: The Life Of Lena Horne (Wednesday 17). The show is under the creative direction of Clarke Peters and stars Camilla Beeput (pictured left), who also wrote the script and co-wrote the original music with Alex Webb.

Other festival events of particular interest to jazz fans include a rare partnership between Philip Glass and Laurie Anderson, a concert by Colombian singer Toto La Momposina and a duo performance by Welsh harpist Catrin Finch and Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita.

For more details about the full festival programme and to book tickets please go to the Norfolk and Norwich Festival website.

Bruce Lindsay

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