First artists for Cheltenham 2020 announced (on sale to members from 26 Nov)

Peter Bacon reports: The first big names are announced this morning for next year’s Cheltenham Jazz Festival. As usual these are mainly artists with wider appeal and looser links to jazz. Here is the press release: The first wave of artists confirmed for next year’s Cheltenham Jazz Festival, which returns for its 24th edition from Tuesday May 5th to Sunday 10th 2020, are announced today. Widely considered to be one of Europe’s leading jazz festivals, the 6-day event will once again present a mix of established stars and exciting new talent from around the world. Multi-Grammy-nominated Brazilian-American singer Bebel Gilberto, daughter of bossa nova pioneer João Gilberto, will make her Cheltenham debut presenting songs from her highly anticipated new album, due out in Spring 2020. Described by The Guardian as being in possession of “a glorious voice”, she will perform at the Everyman Theatre on Thursday 7th May.

Amadou and Mariam, Bebel Gilberto and the Blind Boys of Alabama are among the first announcements (Publicity photos)

Friday 8th May sees a high-profile double bill at the 2000-capacity Henry Westons Big Top featuring Malian Afrobeat-pop duo Amadou and Mariam and iconic gospel group Blind Boys of Alabama. Amadou and Mariam’s colourful blend of traditional African music, rock and desert blues has seen them become one of Africa’s most popular acts. They are joined on the bill by Blind Boys Of Alabama, fronted by founding member Jimmy Carter, they will showcase music from across their vast back catalogue as well as from their brand new album Work To Do. Also announced is a show from a brand-new group fronted by three of contemporary jazz’s leading instrumentalists; saxophonist David Liebman, trumpeter Randy Brecker and pianist Marc Copland bring their quintet to the Everyman Theatre on Saturday 9th May. Cheltenham Jazz Festival Head of Programming Dave Gaydon: “I am thrilled to be taking on the programming of this incredible Festival at such a genuinely exciting time for jazz music. We are really spoilt for choice with the huge wealth and breadth of amazing new talent and to be able to present these young artists alongside the jazz legends that Cheltenham is so well known for is a fantastic opportunity. 2020 will see some brilliant and unique collaborations and as always, we will be championing new talent through our year-round commitment to engaging Gloucestershire’s fine young musicians.” Cheltenham Jazz Festival will run from Tuesday 5th to Sunday 10th May 2020, coinciding with the early May Bank Holiday to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. As always, the festival will be held in Montpellier Gardens in the heart of Cheltenham. Tickets will go on sale to Cheltenham Festivals Members at 1pm next Tuesday 26 November and to the general public at 1pm on 28 November: The full Cheltenham Jazz Festival line-up will be announced on Wednesday 12 February. To be the first to hear Festival announcements, sign up at

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