UK: Cheltenham Jazz Festival has confirmed the final line-up for its 20th anniversary, with British DJ and presenter Jo Whiley to host the ‘BBC Introducing’ showcase and Leo Green’s ‘Sounds of the ’50s’ capping off the bill. Taking place across six days from April 27 – May 2, the festival will once again deliver a diverse programme that combines established stars with up and coming talent from across the worlds of jazz, blues, pop and soul.
Having already announced Lianne La Havas ‘Live in Concert’ with Jo Whiley on April 28, the festival has confirmed that Whiley will also host the return of the ‘BBC Introducing’ showcase. The BBC Introducing showcase, this year in partnership with BBC Radio 2, will provide a platform to emerging UK jazz talent, with performances 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 (for Cheltenham Festivals members only). Another notable addition to the final line-up is Irish 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, Fats Domino and many others, presented by Green and accompanied by a big band.
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.”
In what is arguably its most star-studded line-up to date, this year’s festival will also feature performances from iconic fusion saxophonist David Sanborn, the queen of UK soul Beverley Knight, Elbow frontman Guy Garvey, popular UK soulstress Corinne Bailey Rae, the father of Ethio-jazz Mulatu Astatke, boundary-pushing saxophonist Marcus Strickland, acid jazz pioneers The Brand New Heavies, blues legend Taj Mahal, Cuban pianist Omar Sosa with his afro-Cuban Quartet, and a closing night concert from the festival’s Artistic Curator Jamie Cullum, showcasing songs that have defined his career over the last decade.
New for this year’s festival is ‘around town’, which builds on the popular Fringe Festival of previous years. The programme will bring an eclectic mix of over 80 free gigs from local and international performers and buskers in the town centre for the entire festival weekend, including pop-up gigs and performances at Cheltenham’s Brewery Quarter and the Street Stage.