Courtney Pine, Zara McFarlane and Evan Parker added to full Cheltenham Jazz Fest line-up

The full programme has been revealed for this year's edition of the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, which runs from 2 to 7 May, and includes some very strong additions to its headline and core jazz strands. Things go full steam ahead with a Thursday night concert from revered Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison (Henry Westons Big Top, 3 May) as he previews music from his forthcoming jazz-influenced new album, while the Friday Night Is Music Night concert will feature the combined forces of the BBC Concert Orchestra and Guy Barker Big Band, plus guest vocalists under the banner of Rollin' On The River, a musical journey following the path of the Mississippi and the vast musical legacy associated with its history (Henry Westons Big Top, 4 May).

The Parabola Arts Centre (PAC) gets underway with a compelling double-bill of Swiss vocalist Lucia Cadotsch and Kit Downes' J Dilla inspired collaborative trio ENEMY, with Swiss bass boss Petter Eldh and UK drum supremo James Maddren, playing music from their new album on Edition. This is followed by trumpeter Laura Jurd's Mercury-nominated band Dinosaur (4 May). Brit-jazz sax titan Courtney Pine lines up with Omar to play groove-laden tunes from their recent LP Black Notes From The Deep, with support from impressive 19-year-old French guitarist Tom Ibarra (Town Hall, 4 May), while award-winning axesmith Rob Luft appears at The Daffodil (4 May).

Highlights across the weekend include the dramatic high-energy Afrobeat sounds of Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 (2pm, Big Top, 5 May); jazz-informed electronica from festival favourites Portico Quartet (4pm, Jazz Arena) and Zara McFarlane performs songs from her acclaimed Jamaican jazz influenced album, Arise (7.30pm, Jazz Arena, 5 May). Versatile Estonian jazz singer Kadri Voorand makes a rare UK appearance (2pm, PAC) and imperious ever-questing saxophonist Evan Parker performs with his Trance Map+ five-piece for only the second time since its premiere as part of Hull's 2017 City Culture (10pm, PAC, 5 May).

The regular Saturday night headline spot at the Town Hall sees Gilles Peterson presenting jazz-loving soul singer Jordan Rakei (11.30pm, Town Hall, 5 May). Sunday morning gets off to a cerebral start with a performance of Wolves Are People Too, a collaborative work combining jazz and ballet with music from pianist/composer David Austin Grey and choreography by Kit Holder of Birmingham Royal Ballet (11am, PAC). The Parabola Sunday programme is one of the strongest in recent years and includes the 10-piece Issie Barratt's Interchange (1.45pm), improv-heavy sounds from Alexander Hawkins/Elaine Mitchener Quartet (4.15pm), genre-hopping Indo-jazz clarinettist Arun Ghosh (7pm) and engaging Swiss piano trio Vein appear with special guest saxophonist Stan Sulzmann (9.45pm).

Elsewhere there's top notch vocal jazz from US singer China Moses (12.30pm, Jazz Arena), while iconic jazz-funk crew Tower Of Power kick out the horn-heavy jams at the Town Hall (9.15pm, 5 May). There's also a bonus bank holiday Monday showing from London-based pop-up jazz specialists Empirical who sign off at the Jazz Arena (6.30pm, 7 May). These concerts join those already announced in Jazzwise, who are media partners for the festival, and include: Randy Crawford (Big Top, 2 May); Nigel Kennedy (Town Hall, 3 May); Bill Frisell/Thomas Morgan (Town Hall, 5 May); Roller Trio (PAC, 5 May); Jim Black's Malamute (PAC, 5 May); Beth Hart (Big Top, 5 May); Jason Moran Bandwagon Trio (5 May); Andy Sheppard Quartet (Town Hall, 6 May); Christian McBride Big Band (Town Hall, 6 May); Kamasi Washington (Big Top, 6 May) and Donny McCaslin Band (6 May).

Mike Flynn

For full details and tickets visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/jazz

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