We’re back with another jam-packed weekend of free and ticketed concerts, dancing, jam sessions and workshops from March 18th to March 20th. This year’s line-up of over 50 concerts takes us on a toe-tapping journey through a century of jazz and blues: starting off with the birth of jazz in New Orleans and the great blues men of the Mississippi Delta, taking in the wartime swing era and the growth of the beat generation’s jazz scene, swinging by the ‘60s and ‘70s for an education in funk and finishing up in the present day when the world’s biggest jazz and blues stars are heavily influenced by these past eras.
We’ve dipped into every genre and traversed the globe to bring you a line-up dedicated to the incredible musical legacy of jazz and blues; from swing to funk, bebop to blues, Gypsy jazz to Gospel, soul to rock ‘n roll. Headlining the festival we have no less than three members of James Brown’s original line-up including the ‘King of Funk & Soul’ himself, Maceo Parker; the phenomenal and supremely talented, Melody Gardot and the UK’s own ‘King of Jazz’, Courtney Pine with a very personal project featuring musicians from Africa, the Caribbean and Europe.
As always, our artistic director Denny Ilett is curating a number of special one-off events for this year’s festival including: our legendary Big Swing night with the world’s premier swing band King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys and our ‘house band’, the 17-piece Bruce/Ilett Big Band; a unique tribute to Frank Sinatra featuring Clare Teal, Joe Stilgo, the Big Buzzard Boogie Band and a 350-strong chorus and a trip down memory lane with Pee Wee Ellis and Fred Wesley who will revisit the great jazz standards and be-bop classics that sparked their musical passion as youngsters.
This year’s line-up is bursting at the seems with living legends including the four-time Grammy award winning guitarist Larry Carlton and master of the solo guitar Martin Taylor. Lisa Simone will echo the tradition of her mother – musical icon and pioneer Nina Simone – with her own innate skill for lyrical interpretation and a soul-deep understanding of music as a means of healing, empowerment and celebration.