From pop stars and jazz legends to up-and-coming new talent, Cheltenham Jazz Festival is bringing the Regency town to life with music from Wednesday 26 April to Monday 1 May 2023.
The eclectic event features everything from large-scale concerts under the Henry Weston's Big Top; intimate concerts and club nights at venues across town; music-themed family fun at the Festival Village; to live music from local performers on the Free Stage and as part of the innovative '... around town' programme, with long-standing artistic curator, Gregory Porter, at the helm.
SoGlos handpicks the highlights of the 2023 event...
Big Top concerts at Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2023
Kicking off Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2023, pop star MIKA is the first on the Big Top stage on Wednesday 26; Madeline Bell, Kurt Elling, Mica Millar, Ashton Jones, Mica Paris, Tommy Blaize, Ian Shaw and Vanessa Haynes join the BBC Concert Orchestra and Guy Barker's Big Band for The Soul Jazz Summit on Thursday 27; while pop legend Will Young takes to the Big Top on Friday 28 April.
Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley performs exciting new arrangements of his standout tracks with festival favourites Ronnie Scott's Jazz Orchestra; Rufus Wainwright performs songs from his Grammy-nominated album Unfollow The Rules; and straight off the back of his sell-out UK tour, Jake Bugg performs at Cheltenham Jazz Festival for the first time on Saturday 29 April.
With their unique blend of jazz, flamenco and heavy metal, Rodrigo Y Gabriela perform an explosive set, while music legend Van Morrison performs classics from his incredible back catalogue on Sunday 30 April. Then Laura Mvula celebrates the 10th anniversary of her highly-acclaimed debut album Sing To The Moon; new wave icons Squeeze perform a retrospective of their illustrious career with a seven-piece line-up; with Gregory Porter and Friends closing out the festival on Monday 1 May 2023.
Intimate gigs at Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2023
Described as 'Joni Mitchell meets George Benson' one-to-watch Rosie Frater-Taylor plays a dinner concert at The Daffodil on Wednesday 26; Danny Ilett and his trio perform songs from the Great American Songbook at The Daffodil, while rising star Connor Selby plays a modern take on the blues at the Jazz Arena on Thursday 27 April.
Up-and-coming soul star Mica Millar performs at the Jazz Arena; progressive jazz group Skylla performs an intimate set at Parabola Arts Centre; and bringing back its legendary late-night sessions, Kansas Smitty's perform at The Daffodil on Friday 28, Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 April.
Jazz FM's UK Jazz Act and Vocalist of the Year, Georgia Cécile, takes to the stage at the Jazz Arena; BBC Young Musician of the Year Xhosa Cole teams up with experimental improv group Black Top at the Parabola Arts Centre; and blending jazz, grime, afrobeat and dovetail, Ezra Collective performs at Cheltenham Town Hall on Saturday 29 April.
Handpicked by Gregory Porter, Lizz Wright brings her smooth grooves and soulful vocals to the Jazz Arena; trumpeter and composer Laura Jurd performs new music commissioned for the Festival at Parabola Arts Centre; while Mercury Prize nominee and Jazz FM Instrumentalist of the Year, Fergus McCreadie is at Cheltenham Town Hall on Sunday 30 April.
Performing a highly-anticipated solo organ set, festival favourite Kit Downes is at St Andrew's Church; while film and TV star Damian Lewis performs tracks from his forthcoming debut album at the Jazz Arena on Monday 1 May 2023.
Family events at Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2023
Budding musicians can test out their improv skills at Jazzlabs; EmberLight presents family-friendly folk music from around the world; while Bostin' Brass invites families to get their groove on with a selection of New Orleans-inspired jazz, funk and ska, all on Saturday 29 April.
Early-years specialist Laura and Her Musical Explorers transports children to exciting new musical worlds; Bev Robinson and CeCelia Wickham-Anderson wow audiences with songs based on the Black oral tradition in the Family Sing - with Black Voices; while clarinettist and composer Arun Ghosh takes little ones on an Indo-Jazz Adventure on Sunday 30 April.
Then Camilo Mejura introduces families to the sounds of Latin America; Randolph Matthews brings his unique blend of jazz soul and beatbox to the stage; and SK Schlomo's Beatbox Adventure for Kids presents a genre-defying show on Monday 1 May 2023.
Performance art at Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2023
Nestled in Montpellier Woods with daily performances taking place at 1pm, 2.30pm and 5pm from Saturday 29 April to Monday 1 May, Waves II combines music with physics for an immersive performance art piece inspired by Andrew Woodhead's new album Pendulums.
Tickets to Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2023 go on general sale on Wednesday 1 March 2023.