The headliners for the 2017 Gateshead International Jazz Festival have been announced for the festival's 13th edition, which runs from 31 March to 2 April, with a hugely diverse genre-hopping line-up. Setting the tone with a grand meeting of voice and orchestral jazz sounds will be singer Clare Teal and bandleader/arranger Guy Barker who combine forces with a 17-piece Hollywood Orchestra to celebrate the 100th anniversary of legendary jazz vocalists Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne. Another vocal collaboration at the festival sees acclaimed UK jazz singer Georgia Mancio and US pianist Alan Broadbent bring their rarified new songs to the festival as featured on their forthcoming Songbook album.
The strong Brit-jazz contingent also features prodigiously talented trumpeter Laura Jurd who brings her electro-jazz four-piece Dinosaur to the festival with special guest Norwegian tuba master Daniel Herskedal. Saxophonist Trish Clowes appears with her new guitar-and-Hammond powered My Iris band on a double bill with influential saxophonist Stan Sulzmann and resurgent pianist Nikki Yeoh. Pianist Neil Cowley brings his wonderfully expansive interstellar Spacebound Apes project with his powerful Trio of drummer Evan Jenkins and bassist Rex Horan.
Jazz's increasingly dance and electronica influenced sounds take centre stage for an exciting double-header with Blue Note-signed Manchester piano trio GoGo Penguin and iconic bassist/producer Squarepusher (aka Tom Jenkinson) and his live band Shobaleader One (featuring a trio of masked jazz virtuosos). More bass-heavy funk-edged sounds come from charismatic Kamasi Washington double-bassist Miles Mosely, who steps out with his own LA band, while celebrated Cameroonian bass maestro and angelic vocalist Richard Bona also appears with his dazzling Afro-Cuban jazz Mandekan Cubano Project. Further fiery Cuban jazz sounds come from Quincy Jones-mentored pianist Alfredo Rodriguez, while the pan-global grooves are also featured in prolific Mercury Prize-nominated saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings' South African jazz ensemble who also visit the festival. Revered Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stańko returns to the UK with his stunning international quartet of rising star Finnish pianist Alexi Tuomarlia, heavyweight US bassist Reuben Rogers and pianist Gerald Cleaver for a rare festival appearance.
Further transcontinental talents on the programme include a triple whammy of big bands with Germany's BuJazzO, Netherlands Youth Jazz Orchestra and the UK's National Youth Jazz Orchestra in a mighty jazz collaboration. There's more Dutch sonic delights from the 10-piece Instant Composers Pool who hop over the channel for a rare but welcome appearance with devilish improv star drummer Han Bennink, all paying tribute to the group's founding pianist Misha Mengelberg who's now unable to perform.
– Mike Flynn
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