The curtain falls on Cheltenham Jazz Festival

Archie Shepp

The famous Spa town filled its venues around the nucleus of the festival at the impressive Montpellier Gardens with another superb music programme for 2015.

The annual Cheltenham Jazz Festival brought the curtains down on another superb wide and inclusive music programme for 2015. The famous Spa town filled its venues with individually ticketed events around the nucleus of the festival at the impressive Montpellier Gardens where crowds soaked up the atmosphere enjoying free jazz performances, picnic and street food. 

The big names this year included Van Morrison with an opening concert on the Wednesday and Gregory Porter, Laura Mvula and Rebecca Ferguson closing with a special ‘Gershwin Rediscovered’ show on Bank Holiday Monday. 

The long weekend saw jazz heavyweights, cutting edge emerging talent, funk, soul and afrobeat from the UK, Europe and the US. One of the highlights of the festival was iconic saxophonist Archie Shepp, who Cheltenham managed to secure when Sun Ra Arkestra were unable to perform. He packed the Big Top and for the Sun Ra fans and was a laudable and welcome substitute.

The Big Top also played host to American groove band Medeski, Martin & Wood, introduced by Jamie Cullum who joined them for a surprise rendition of ‘Suspicious Minds’. The band exuded enthusiasm and virtuosity from the subtle and gentle acoustic to loud and heavy experimental grooves to a highly appreciative Big Top crowd.

As a summer of festivals and live music rolls on don’t miss your chance to see Van Morrison and Rebecca Ferguson amongst the impressive line-up at Jazz FM’s Love Supreme Jazz Festival at Glynde in Sussex, running from July 3rd to 5th.

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