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Charles Bradley, Terence Blanchard and Courtney Pine lead a stellar line up for Gateshead International Jazz Festival

Posted on 17 March 2016

Sage Gateshead is preparing to open its doors for the 12th Gateshead International Jazz Festival next month as it welcomes thousands of jazz, funk, soul and RnB fans for a weekend of top class music from multi award-winning artists from the UK, Europe and across the pond.

New Orleans trumpeter Terence Blanchard shares a Saturday night double bill with Courtney Pine & Zoe Rahman. Blanchard is a five time GRAMMY winning trumpeter, bandleader and composer who first emerged as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in the 80s. His multi-faceted career has brought him international and widespread acclaim that includes landmark movie scores, a major new opera and an inspirational role in jazz education by mentoring some of today’s most talented players including Lionel Loueke, Aaron Parks and Kendrick Scott. Blanchard has scored more than 50 films, including all of *Spike Lee*’s movies since Jungle Fever in 1991 to the most recent Chi-Raq in 2015.

Blanchard was also commissioned to score the acclaimed opera Champion: An Opera in Jazz, which explores the life and legacy of the African-American boxer Emile Griffiths and which has received its second production in San Francisco in February 2016. Blanchard’s work often carries a strong political and social message and his latest project is a hugely powerful statement. Released last year by Blue Note, Breathless takes its name from “I can’t breathe”, the last words of Eric Garner, a black New Yorker who died in the custody of the NYPD and whose words have since echoed across the world in protest against discrimination. With his new group, the E-Collective, the album is his most electronic to date and journeys through groove, fusion, funk, R&B and blues.

First up on Saturday nights double bill, leading British saxophonist and festival favourite Courtney Pine returns to perform the opening set following his acclaimed House of Legends album release in 2012 and compelling performance at the festival in 2014. In his latest album Song (The Ballad Book), Courtney strips everything right back and in this special performance will take to the stage playing bass clarinet accompanied only by fellow Mercury nominee and MOBO award winning pianist, Zoe Rahman. In a programme of favourite ballads that range far and wide, from Duke Ellington to Chaka Khan, this is chamber jazz of the highest quality.

Courtney says: “I have always wanted to record a collection of my favourite ballads and there is nothing like performing in a duet format for bringing out the intimacy of great songs.”

Dubbed “The Screaming Eagle of Soul”, the American soul supremo Charles Bradley brings his exciting live show to the Sunday headline slot, a concert not to be missed by any James Brown fan. Bradley has gained worldwide acclaim for his dynamic, authentic brand of soul and RnB. His well-documented against-all-odds rise saw him transcend a bleak life on the streets, and a stint as a James Brown impersonator, before discovery by Daptone Records. His debut album No Time Dreaming brought his rough-hewed sound to a massive audience and follow up album Victim of Love, edged closer to the psychedelic soul of the 70s. His upcoming third album Changes is released 1 April and has been named one of the “Most Anticipated Albums of 2016” (Rolling Stone, FLOOD Magazine, NY Observer).

Of course, there’s a lot more to discover at this year’s festival including acclaimed jazz experimenter and legendary improviser Evan Parker, returning festival favourite Cuban jazz pianist Roberto Fonseca and award-winning jazz, gospel, blues and soul singing sensation Gregory Porter. World jazz is covered by the eclectic sound of French trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf and up and coming New York based pianist Kris Bowers whose music combines jazz with hip hop, RnB, electronic, rock and all points in between. The festival also welcomes Phil Meadows, one of the most creative young musicians to emerge from UK jazz in recent years, who brings together the repertoire of his acclaimed Engines Orchestra in an exciting one-off performance with Royal Northern Sinfonia and the North East’s rising youth jazz stars – Sage Gateshead’s regional youth jazz ensemble, Jambone.

Bookers can also take advantage of the Jazz Multibuy – the more concerts booked across the weekend the more money saved. To find out more and for the full line-up visit sagegateshead.com/gijf.

Gateshead International Jazz Festival takes place 15-17 April at Sage Gateshead and is sponsored by Team Cycles, a leading North East bike store, workshop and cycling accessories company. To book tickets please visit sagegateshead.com or visit Sage Gateshead Ticket Office either in person (open from 12noon) or by calling 0191 443 4661. Find out more at sagegateshead.com/gijf

ENDS