This year sees the first Bath Music Festival (19 May-4 June) with new artistic director pianist Joanna McGregor installed. The Jazz Weekend strand of the festival takes place over the weekend of 26-28 May although there are break out jazz concerts beyond the weekend.

Northampton School for Boys is to host two workshop concert days, the first this month with guitarist Martin Taylor and next month with vocal group The Swingle Singers. Each day will feature an afternoon workshop for students and teachers followed by an evening concert, open to the general public.

Martin Taylor visits on Tuesday 7 February while The Swingle Singers day is on Thursday 9 March. The afternoon workshops start at 2.30pm, and places for students and teachers must be booked using a form available from the school music office (tel. 01604 230240). The evening concerts are both in The Cripps Hall Theatre. Tickets cost £10.To book phone 01604 258666

Singers may be tripping over themselves to tackle jazz standards these days but few have the verve and spark of a Julia Biel, the award winning singer who is set for some extensive touring this spring. Julia, who was a winner early on in her career of the Perrier Young Jazz Vocalist Of The Year competition, has just been announced as one of the faces of a new print campaign for mobile phone company Nokia. She's due to tour with guitarist Johnny Phillips, flautist Idris Rahman, cellist Ben Davis, bassist Jasper Hoiby and drummer Seb Rochford.

John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain return with their Remember Shakti group (with V. Selvaganesh, U. Shrinivas and Shankar Mahadevan) for dates at the Barbican, London (28 March), The Sage, Gateshead (29 March), Lighthouse, Poole (30 March) and Colston Hall, Bristol (31 March).

The UK’s only major jazz conference takes place in Leeds from 24-25 March. The event presents two days of presentations, workshops, performances and discussions around the theme of Jazz, Politics and the Popular. This year's keynote speaker is Professor Simon Frith from the University of Edinburgh, the author of The Sociology of Rock and the chair of the Mercury Music Prize. A ticket for the conference costs £70 with a range of discounts available. For more info go to

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