There are some exciting additions to the 2017 Cheltenham Jazz Festival, which runs from 26 April to 1 May, with multi-Grammy Award-winning jazz diva Dee Dee Bridgewater set to appear at Cheltenham Town Hall on Thursday 27 April. The charismatic vocalist will be performing music from her forthcoming album, Memphis, which is inspired by 1960s R&B, drawing on material by the likes of Gladys Knight, Jackie Wilson, Al Green, Sam Cooke, Stax Academy Choir, Big Mama Thornton and Otis Redding among others. Further additions include two of today's hottest sax talents in the form of top US tenorist Chris Potter and Norwegian whirlwind Marius Neset. The latter fires up the Parabola Arts Centre's (PAC) programme on 28 April when he appears with a specially convened UK ensemble of keyboardist Dan Nicholls, vibist Jim Hart, bassist Phil Donkin and drummer Joshua Blackmore.
That same evening also sees the debut of drummer Seb Rochford's new trio, featuring revered Chicagoan AACM bass flautist Nicole Mitchell with UK bassist Neil Charles all appearing at the PAC. Meanwhile, powerful multi-reedist Potter returns after his 2013 appearance with students from the Birmingham conservatoire, this time with a topnotch American quartet with pianist David Virelles, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Marcus Gilmore. The festival's expansive outlook includes a timely appearance by cult Australian soundscapers The Necks as they celebrate 30 years of their spellbinding long-form improvisations, making their Cheltenham debut at the Town Hall on 29 April, while rising star saxophonist Logan Richardson, who appeared alongside Christian Scott last year, returns with his own band featuring guitarist Mike Moreno (Parabola, 29 April).
Further bookings include a blues-fusion blast from guitarist/singer Marcus King and his band (Jazz Arena, 27 April), while the Hot 8 Brass Band fi re up the lunchtime spot at the Big Top on the bank holiday Monday (1 May). These names join those already announced in Jazzwise – who is festival media partner – which include the only UK performance by the Chick Corea Trio featuring Eddie Gomez and Brian Blade (Big Top), Grammy-winning groove merchants Snarky Puppy (Town Hall) and acclaimed soul-jazz singer/bassist Meshelle Ndegeocello (Jazz Arena), all on 30 April. The event once again takes place in its firmly established festival village that takes over Montpellier Gardens with tented Big Top and Jazz Arena venues, food stalls, on-site record shop and family tents with Town Hall, Parabola Arts Centre and Daffodil venues all within short walking distance of the picturesque spa town's centre.
Two days after Jazzwise had gone to press with the current February issue – which stated Dhafer Youssef was due to appear – the news reached us that due to unforeseen circumstances has had to pull out of the festival.
The full line-up will be announced on 10 February, Cheltenham Festivals members can book tickets from 22 February and non-members can book from 1 March. For more info and tickets visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/jazz