The second Gateshead International Jazz Festival at The Sage begins on Friday and runs until Sunday. Acts booked for the event include Maceo Parker, Gilles Peterson, Andy Sheppard and Stan Tracey. Last year's event attracted some 5,000 concertgoers and this year's festival aims to entice even bigger crowds to the three-day affair which takes place in the various auditoria and spaces of The Sage.

Mainstream jazz fans everywhere will probably be booking their tickets already for what might prove to be the gig of the year for those with a middle of the road jazz disposition. The place? Well it's got to be the Pavilion Bournemouth on 26 March for a special concert to commemorate the music of Gershwin and Benny Goodman. A 26-piece "all star powerhouse big band" led by Duncan Lamont (featuring Steve Waterman, Tony Coe, Andy Panayi, Art Themen, and Mark Nightingale) will be joined by special guests Sir John Dankworth, Don Lusher, Bruce Adams, Christian Garrick, Elaine Delmar and Judy Carmichael.

Greece's most famous jazz musician Dimitri Vassilakis makes a rare appearance in London on 17 March at Dalston's Vortex club. The saxophonist is based in Athens where he teaches and hosts two national TV shows as well as his own national radio show. He has previously recorded for the Candid label. Dimitri plays the Vortex in the fine company of drummer Gene Calderazzo and bassist Mark Hodgson.

Just announced, the Guildhall Annual Jazz Festival takes place from 27-30 March at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

The Britten Sinfonia are set to embark on a major tour with a challenging programme of pieces by eccentric composer Moondog plus a more conventional diet of Bach. The Britten Sinfonia, known for its collaborations with jazz musicians in the past at the London Jazz Festival, will team up on this tour with Joanna MacGregor, Andy Sheppard, Kuljit Bhamra, Seb Rochford and Neville Malcolm. The dates are: Totnes, (18 April), Symphony Hall, Birmingham (19 April), The Fruitmarket Glasgow (23 April) and St Andrew’s Hall, Norwich (4 May).

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