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Gateshead International Jazz Festival Sees Stars and Stripes for its Tenth Edition

Posted on 11 October 2013


The North East is preparing for an American invasion of the musical kind to mark the 10th anniversary of the UK’s biggest jazz festival under one roof outside London.

Tickets are now on sale for some of the headliners at Gateshead International Jazz Festival, which brings a whole host of jazz performers together at Sage Gateshead from Friday 4th – Sunday 6th April 2014.

Multi-skilled US instrumentalist Esperanza Spalding was the first jazz artist to win a Best New Artist Grammy Award and her brilliant bass playing will be showcased through the debut of what can only be described as a jazz supergroup,. Known as the Spring Quartet, the group is completed by heavyweight saxophonist Joe Lovano, pianist Leo Genovese, and Jack DeJohnette, the peerless drummer at the heart of many of the landmark jazz groups of the past four decades, from Miles Davis to Keith Jarrett.

With his most recent albums – the acclaimed Black Radio and the soon-to-be-released Black Radio 2 – Texan pianist and producer Robert Glasper crosses the boundaries between jazz and hip-hop, regularly working with artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West and Erykah Badu. His devastating blend of jazz improv, electronica and urban grooves straight from the dance floor has taken the music world by storm. Glasper’s trademark quartet, the Experiment, will play a special late set on the Festival’s opening night.

Perhaps the most distinctive guitarist in jazz today, Bill Frisell explores another side of American popular song, revisiting his 2010 album ‘Beautiful Dreamers’. Digging deep into a tradition of 19th century parlour song, rural blues, swing and rhythm’n’blues, Frisell brings a uniquely contemporary slant to songs from Blind Willie Johnson, Benny Goodman and Little Anthony and the Imperials – not to mention his interpretation of the title track. Playing at Sage Gateshead for the very first time, Frisell brings a trio that also features Eyvind Kang (viola) and drummer Rudy Royston.

Ros Rigby, Performance Programme Director at Sage Gateshead, said: “For the 10th Jazz Festival we have our strongest ever line up, with stars from the jazz scene coming to Gateshead from across the UK and Europe – as well as some great American names, including two of the most charismatic new talents to break through into the international scene in recent years.

“Tickets are now on sale for some of the headliners and we’re expecting them to go fast as it’s a rare chance to see some of these artists in the North East.”
The Festival always includes great performers from across Europe and this year it will welcome the Norrbotten Big Band from the far north of Sweden with the acclaimed UK jazz composer Django Bates performing his Charlie Parker inspired programme, which received excellent reviews at the BBC Proms this year. This event will also feature Swedish saxophonist Joakim Milder and his suite of jazz arrangements of the music by the North East’s own Prefab Sprout, performed for the first time by Milder’s own band with the Norrbotten Big Band.

Ros added: “The combination of our star American and European artists and all the extras to see and do over the weekend mean we’re expecting to welcome the festival’s biggest ever audience.”

Gateshead International Jazz Festival was the first festival held in Sage Gateshead after its opening in December 2004, and since that time has firmly established itself on the UK scene, attracting visitors from across the UK and beyond to the North East over the last nine years. It is organised in collaboration with London based music producers Serious, which organise the annual London Jazz Festival and a range of other tours and projects.

Serious Director John Cumming added: “Serious always enjoys working with Sage Gateshead on a Festival that has developed an identity that’s very much tied into the essence of the building, with a mix of major international, UK and regional musicians – many of them interacting with the Sage Gateshead’s learning programmes. To celebrate the tenth birthday of the Festival, it’s especially exciting that we’ve been able to bring some of the great figures in contemporary jazz to one of the best venues for jazz in Europe, especially those from the US who are continuing to make waves globally.”

Gateshead International Jazz Festival takes place at Sage Gateshead from Friday April 4 to Sunday April 6, 2014. Tickets now on sale.


Media contact

Sarah Hall at Sarah Hall Consulting on 07702 162 704 /

For images, interview requests, competition or review tickets please contact: Jackie Thompson, Marketing & Communications Co-ordinator (Maternity Cover), Sage Gateshead E. T. 0191 443 4602.