For some reason it always creeps up on me – the announcement of the Cheltenham Jazz Festival programme – and it always has the same effect: hope, joy, excitement, and a bright reminder that this gloomy February will end, that the rain will stop, and it will get warmer again… and that there is some of the finest jazz on the planet happening not too far away, both geographically and in time.
And this year’s Cheltenham has some blinders among the highlights, not the least being the one I already knew about but which, in the face of the February Blues, had completely slipped my mind: yes, the reforming of Loose Tubes!
So, briefly, here are the things I’m most excited by in date order:
1 Loose Tubes – Sat 3 May 2pm The Big Top
2 Tigran – Sat 3 May 4.15pm Jazz Arena
3 Michael Wollny Trio – Sat 3 May 6pm The Playhouse Theatre
4 Kurt Elling Quartet – Sat 3 May 7pm Town Hall
5 Gilles Peterson and Snarky Puppy – Sat 3 May 10.30pm Town Hall
6 Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet – Sun 4 May 1.15pm Jazz Arena
7 Thomas Stronen’s Time Is A Blind Guide – Sun 4 May 9pm Parabola Arts Centre
There is loads more on, from celebrating the drummer Billy Cobham at 70, to lots of fine British groups, including the Julian Siegel Quartet, Get The Blessing and Jason Rebello.
Booking at the moment is restricted to members only but with a new online booking facility whereby you can add events to a wish list and then blast them all through when booking for the rest of us opens, there really is no time to hang about.
It’s all here.