Prepare for a weekend of hot and cool jazz

Among the acts playing are duo Jacqui Dankworth and Charlie Wood
Among the acts playing are duo Jacqui Dankworth and Charlie Wood

Some 20 acts will play at four venues when the Bedford Jazz Festival brings a weekend of music to the town next month.

Presented by Bedford-based Conscia Jazz, the event will take place on March 19 and 20.

A big feature in this year’s festival is the Main Stage being held at The Quarry Theatre, with four acts between midday and 4.45pm on both days. As well as being able to buy tickets for each individual event, there are also passes available for each day, allowing people to attend all four events on the Main Stage on that given day with one ticket, costing £29 for adults and £21 for students.

The headline shows take place at 8pm on each day . On the Saturday, the New York-based trumpeter and Blue Note artist Ambrose Akinmusire and his quartet perform at The Quarry Theatre, in a concert featuring Sam Harris, Harish Raghavan and Rodney Green. This is the last date in their European tour, and their only one in England.

Closing the festival on the Sunday are the internationally acclaimed husband-and-wife duo of British jazz diva Jacqui Dankworth and American vocalist/pianist Charlie Wood with their band, performing their Just You, Just Me project in the main auditorium at The Corn Exchange. This project celebrates some of the great musical partnerships of the 20th century, including Ray Charles & Betty Carter, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong and George & Ira Gershwin.

An addition to this year’s festival is a community stage. This is designed to give local musicians a chance to perform, and entry will be free for the public. There will also be fringe events, including a screening of the film High Society with the Bedford Film Festival, and a ‘Jazz at the Park’ event.

For more information regarding which acts are performing, ticket prices and more, visit the website www.conscia.org