Gregory Porter, Joshua Redman, The Bad Plus, Sergio Mendes and bigger Big Top for Cheltenham 2019

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The first names have been revealed for next year's Cheltenham Jazz Festival, which runs from 1 to 6 May at venues in the picturesque Cotswold Spa Town. These include the return of multi-Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Gregory Porter, who's forged a strong bond with the festival since he first appeared there in 2012.

Significantly, Porter will also be next year's 'Artistic Curator', which sees him select artists for the programme, make some guest appearances and perform his own concert on Saturday 4 May. Other names announced for the festival include acclaimed US saxophonist Joshua Redman, who reunites with his long-standing trio of bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Gregory Hutchinson, all appearing at Cheltenham on Saturday 4 May. Also confirmed are Redman's one-time collaborators, The Bad Plus, who make their debut appearance at the festival now with their revitalised line-up of pianist Orrin Evans alongside founding members Reid Anderson and Dave King, appearing on Sunday 5 May. Completing this first tranche of names is 78-year-old Brazilian bossa nova-jazz funk legend Sergio Mendes, who also makes his debut at Cheltenham next year.

With further names to be announced in early February the festival will look to build on its most successful year in 2018, which saw 30,000 tickets sold and a further 20,000 people enjoy free performances on the festival site and around the town. With this in mind, the organisers are planning to increase the capacity of the Big Top to accommodate 2,000 people (from 1,300), as well as redesign the layout of the festival site in Montpellier Gardens. Further venues will still include the Jazz Arena, Town Hall, Parabola Arts Centre, Daffodil Restaurant and Hotel Du Vin. Tickets go on-sale to Cheltenham Festivals members on 27 November and general public on 29 November. Jazzwise is media partner for the festival.

Mike Flynn

For full details and tickets visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com