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Cheltenham Jazz Festival director Ian George picks out his highlights of this year's event

By Weekend  |  Posted: May 01, 2013

Emilia Mitiku is performing in a double bill with Josephine in the Big Top on Sunday

Emilia Mitiku is performing in a double bill with Josephine in the Big Top on Sunday

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This year we have a stunning line-up of more than 100 artists – new talent, great vocalists, legendary musicians and big names offering a wide range of jazz, blues, soul and pop.

On Thursday, up and coming blues artist Jo Harman will sing a set that brings roots, blues, gospel and soul influences together. Her voice and style has been compared to Eva Cassidy which just shows her amazing pedigree.

For Saturday I strongly recommend Latin jazz pianist and composer Alex Wilson.  He's performing a set that promises contemporary Latin jazz that draws on African roots. Infectious and dazzling to see performed live.

And don't miss Mike Stern, one of the premier guitarists and composers of the jazz  scene. He's played with Miles Davis, Weather Report's Jaco Pastorius and drumming legend Billy Cobham. His rock, blues and jazz foundations guarantee a gig high on jazz energy and showmanship late on Sunday afternoon.

And Sunday also sees an amazing double-bill of Radio 2  'ones to watch' with  Josephine and Emilia Mitiku performing  jazz and soul-tinged pop in the Big Top.

The festival fun goes beyond the main concerts – we also have The Jazz Kitchen fine dining restaurant on site, free stage gigs, stalls and a wide choice of fresh food options to enjoy in Montpellier Gardens.

Entry to the site is free to all, so come and enjoy the first holiday weekend of summer.

Cheltenham Jazz Festival runs from today until May 6. Tickets are available from www.cheltenhamfestivals.com

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