Rising stars and legendary old friends feature in this year's Wigan International Jazz Festival line-up

A stellar line-up of musical legends and hotly-tipped new talent make for a thrilling 38th Wigan International Jazz Festival, organisers say.
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It includes the debut of a singer who has performed with many of the industry’s all-time greats over an incredible eight decades, Jazz FM’s soul act of the year and a super-talent from Down Under who has wowed the event on numerous occasions before.

The festival is now one of the UK’s longest running showcases of its type and it enjoyed a very successful return in 2022 after two years wrecked by Covid and lockdowns.

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Organisers from The Music Continuum CIC were delighted with how it went and festival director and co-founder Ian Darrington MBE said this provided the springboard for this summer’s spectacular.

Mica MillarMica Millar
Mica Millar
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It runs from Thursday to Sunday July 13 to 16 at the Village on the Green in Aspull.

Opening the festival on July 13 is Salena Jones, one of the acknowledged great interpreters of song, with her terrific jazz quintet.

Her career has spanned the world working with a who's who of legends – including Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett and Sarah Vaughan – and she has released 43 albums to date.

Salena JonesSalena Jones
Salena Jones
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Friday July 14’s evening features the Pete Cater Big Band in a concert dedicated to the great drummers from the history of jazz including Gene Krupa, Louie Bellson, Buddy Rich and Mel Lewis. Band members are some of the finest musicians from the UK live and studio scene.

The morning concert on Saturday July 15 puts the spotlight on young talent and sees the Wigan Youth Training Jazz Orchestra directed by Sharon Darby-Purcell joined by the acclaimed saxophonist Emma Rawicz, the Parliamentary Jazz Awards’ newcomer of the year in 2022 who made such an impression in Wigan’s Sunday Jazz series last year that she was quickly offered a festival spot.

The afternoon performance features two sets from the award-winning Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra directed by Dave Little.

Saturday night’s concert focuses on a relatively new name to the music business: Mica Millar who was voted by JazzFM as soul act of the year for 2022.

Legendary multi-instrumentalist and Wigan Jazz Festival president James MorrisonLegendary multi-instrumentalist and Wigan Jazz Festival president James Morrison
Legendary multi-instrumentalist and Wigan Jazz Festival president James Morrison
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The afternoon of Sunday July 16 stars the Ben Holder Quintet, Ben being acclaimed as the most exciting jazz violinist in the UK. He is joined by the Anchormen Jazz Orchestra: an 18-piece jazz and big band group.

And the festival reaches a terrific climax with the return, by popular demand, of the Australian superstar multi-instrumentalist and Wigan festival’s honorary president James Morrison.

Early bird rover tickets are already on sale for £135/£125 patrons until March 31, with individual concert tickets up for grabs in a few weeks’ time.

Mr Darrington said: “We have got a terrific line-up for this year’s festival and trust it will be well supported.

Ben HolderBen Holder
Ben Holder
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"The Village on the Green is a great venue and it helps to make concerts as much a social event as a musical one.”

Music Continuum director Peter Fletcher added: “Jazz fans will notice that our ticket prices this year are some of the most reasonably priced in the UK.

"Given the way that prices of many things have risen in recent months we felt it was important to make sure the event is as affordable as possible.”

Visit the festival website at www.wiganjazzfest.co.uk and box office at www.justaddtickets.co.uk