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Friday, March 16, 2012

Gateshead International Jazz Festival Starts Next Week 23 – 25 March 2012

Gateshead International Jazz Festival – the UK’s biggest jazz festival held under one roof – starts next weekend (March 23 -25).

Cuban pianist and fully-fledged Buena Vista Social Club sensation Roberto Fonseca, will open this year’s festival in the magnificent Hall One. In the more intimate surroundings of Hall Two the funkier side of jazz gets going with James Morton’s Porkchop with The Easy Access Horns, Pee Wee Ellis (James Brown’s saxophonist) and Mary Pearce.

The festival will celebrate the best in UK jazz on Saturday night with a double bill of two of the leading musicians of the past two decades - Andy Sheppard (as part of Trio Libero with Michel Benita, Sebastian Rochford) and Courtney Pine with his stunning Europa project featuring him on bass clarinet. With Sunday’s headliner Curtis Stigers, well known as a singer and saxophonist way beyond the jazz field, this year’s programme will appeal to serious jazz enthusiasts and simply fans of good music alike. A special festival pass at £60 is available with guaranteed entry to all of these three headlines and much more.

The first live streamed masterclass within a UK jazz festival will take place between Cecil Bridgewater - an acclaimed American trumpeter and educator at New York’s Manhattan School of Music who will lead the masterclass live from Manhattan with students at The Sage Gateshead from the BMus (Hons) Jazz, Popular and Commercial Music and the Young Musician’s Programme. This live streamed masterclass is open to the public to view.

There’s the chance for everyone to join in with the Gateshead International Jazz Festival Choir and Early Years Big Family Jazz Bash. The choir is open to anyone with a love for singing, with the chance to take part in a special performance on the Concourse just before Curtis Stigers’ concert. The family sessions are aimed at children up to eight but everyone in the family will enjoy. With so much else going on during the festival, this is just a flavour of what is to come.

Performance Programme Director Ros Rigby comments: “Gateshead International Jazz Festival has now become established on the UK jazz calendar as an opportunity to see the very best in UK and international jazz in an action packed weekend all under one roof, and in superb performance spaces.”

The festival is produced in collaboration with international music producers Serious (producers of London Jazz Festival in association with BBC Radio 3). John Cumming, director of Serious, adds: “Serious places immense value on its role in the evolution of Gateshead International Jazz Festival. This has become an event that reflects the extraordinary range of jazz within today's musical universe, as well as having a distinctive style that illustrates The Sage Gateshead's commitment to music education in its broadest sense.”

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