Get your jazz hands ready – the best festival this side of New Orleans is almost upon us.
The final line-up has been released for the 34th Upton Jazz Festival – and it’s a cracker.
Confirmed to play at Upton’s intimate riverside venues are 40 renowned jazz bands including several British Jazz Award-winners.
On the bill are 1920s aficionados Aces of Rhythm, New Orleans outfit Black Cat Jazz and the much-in-demand London six-piece Harlem Meercats, with the music of Duke Ellington.
They’re joined by trumpet maestro Bruce Adams; Dan Cassidy, brother of the late, great singing star Eva; gipsy jazz band La Vie En Rose, world-class clarinettist Julian Marc Stringle and Budapest Ragtime Band
Their gigs sit alongside sessions by vintage jazz swing band Brownfield Byrne Hot Six, and Richard Leach’s 7 Stars of Jazz, Britain’s foremost Chicago/Dixieland-style jazz band.
Also on the bill are regional Jazz Musician of the Year, violinist Ralph Allin with his Quartet; lively jazz samba outfit Richard Exall Goes Getz and boogie woogie maestro Carl Sinclair.
Miss Rosina Hepburn Quintet appears at the festival for the first time, along with the star studded Mulligan/Baker quartet, Sliphorn Summit, Strumpit and New Orleans Heat.
Plus there’s a lively fringe festival at The Swan, a historic riverside pub, which attracts thousands of locals and jazz fans alike.
Ticket-holders can expect 50 gigs over the four days of the event which takes place from June 27-30 in venues including pubs, clubs and a space under the river bridge alongside the River Severn.
“We spend 12 months planning each festival, following world-renowned bands around the country and drawing up our wish-list of musicians,” says Musicial Director Rachel Hayward, who plays vibes in band Hotsy Totsy.
“This year, it’s a cracker. It’s full of new faces like Harlem Meer Cats and the Kim Cypher Quartet, as well as festival favourites Keith Nicholls, Thomas ‘Spats’ Langham, Alan Barnes and Amy Roberts.
“We’re always thrilled to welcome Amy back to the festival. She was one of our rising stars and she’s now busy touring the world with some of the biggest names in the business.
“We’re very excited about this year’s festival, and thrilled to be back in town in some of Upton’s most iconic and intimate venues.”
This year’s festival includes the 10th year of Best of Young Jazz, the festival’s education outreach programme run in conjunction with Boffy Arts Events.
It allows up-and-coming musicians, from school bands to solo artists, to perform in front of a live audience and benefit from the experience of more established musicians.
As well as dozens of gigs, ticket-holders can expect a gospel-style church service, vintage jazz parade through the streets and stalls selling artisan food and drink and music memorabilia.
Tickets start at just £30 at www.uptonjazz.co.uk
Click www.uptonjazz.co.uk/whos-on/ for more information about all of the bands. You can book via Upton Tourist Information Centre 01684 594200.