Festival: Cheltenham Jazz

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The Independent Culture
Solidly select Cheltenham is not everybody's idea of a jazz centre, yet the town's festival is now in its fourth year and gaining a formidable profile. The latest four-day event kicks off on Thursday with two shows from Van Morrison, backed by the most swinging of bands. The following day sees a tribute to Duke Ellington that features a pair of performances from opposite ends of the British jazz spectrum. The entertaining Humphrey Lyttelton takes care of the trad side, while young Scottish saxophonist Tommy Smith offers a more modern take on a trio of extended Ellington pieces. Saturday and Sunday feature the engaging singing duo Claire Martin and Ian Shaw, as well as the French piano virtuoso Martial Solal, star saxophinist Joe Lovano and Chick Corea, the hugely influential keyboards maestro.

Venues around Cheltenham from Thur. Town Hall box-office (01242 227979)