Thousands of music lovers are set to descend on the North East for an international jazz festival.
A host of top performers have been lined up for the 10th Gateshead International Jazz Festival, which will take place at the Sage Gateshead from April 4 to 6.
Ros Rigby, performance programme director at Sage Gateshead, said the event attracts around 5,000 people and provides a boost to the region’s economy. She added: “Before we opened the Sage Gateshead, when we asked people about their music preferences and what they wanted to see, one of the things that came up strongly was that Newcastle Gateshead lacked a really major jazz festival.
“There used to be one in the region decades ago but that had stopped. So we organised this event and held the first one 10 years ago.
“Since then it has gone from strength to strength and it feels great that we are celebrating its 10th anniversary.
“Around 20% to 30% of people come from outside the region, including Europe, to enjoy the programme. They stay in hotels and spend money here.
“The Sage is within walking distance of the main city centre and all the shows take place under one roof. This makes the event attractive to visitors. They can cram a lot in within one weekend. The festival helps to put the North East on the map.
“This time, we have our strongest ever line-up, with stars from the jazz scene coming to from across the UK and Europe, as well as some great American names.
“Tickets are now on sale for some of the headliners and we’re expecting them to go fast.” The American visitors include jazz pianist and producer Robert Glasper, who has worked with Jay-Z, Kanye West and Erykah Badu and is known for his special blend of jazz with hip-hop.
In addition, vocalist and bass player Esperanza Spalding, saxophonist Joe Lovano and jazz fusion drummer Jack DeJohnette will be performing as part of a new line-up called The Spring Quartet.
And the Bill Frisell Trio, featuring one of the world’s favourite jazz guitarists, will be another major highlight.
There will also be musicians from Europe, including the Norrbotten Big Band and Swedish saxophonist Joakim Milder.
The programme is put together in collaboration with London-based music producers Serious, who organise the annual London Jazz Festival and a range of other tours and projects. Tickets can be booked by ringing 0191 443 4661, online at www.sagegateshead.com or from Sage Gateshead’s ticket office.