Jazz and TV history will be made in May when the iconic 1960’s BBC show Jazz 625 returns for one night only on BBC Four, broadcasting live from the 2019 Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
The show will feature a house band led by acclaimed British pianist Robert Mitchell, with special guests including Grammy-winning vocalist Gregory Porter, US saxophonists Joshua Redman and Jean Toussaint, rising star jazz guitarist Shirley Tetteh, and singer Jacqui Dankworth.
There will also be an exclusive recorded performance from Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, showing off his jazz-chops in a quartet with saxophonist Scott Hamilton, and a new interview with Dame Cleo Laine reflecting on her performance on a classic edition of Jazz 625.
Jazz 625 broadcast on BBC 2 from 1964 to 1966, and featured classic performances from jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Ronnie Scott and Dave Brubeck. This one-night revival will feature selections from the archive and live music from the house band, with guests paying tribute to those who performed in the original series.
Presented by popular TV chef and radio broadcaster Andi Oliver, the programme will also include interviews and features with some of those who appeared and worked on the original Jazz 625, as well as those who have been influenced by the series and the vintage jazz era it captured.
In tribute to the original series, the programme will air in black and white, marking the first live black and white BBC TV show since 1974. Jazz 625 will broadcast live on BBC Four at 9pm on Friday 3 May, and will have an audience – on a first come, first served basis.
A display celebrating Jazz 625 will run at Cheltenham’s Parabola Arts Centre from Friday, 3 May to Sunday, 5 May. There will also be additional live broadcasts at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival across the BBC.
On BBC Radio 2, J o Whiley will broadcast from Cheltenham Jazz Festival on Thursday 2 May between 8-10pm, featuring a live concert from James Morrison from 8.30pm.
On Friday 3rd May, John Sessions will present Friday Night is Music Night: The Song Of Soho – a celebration of London’s Soho. The programme will feature guest singers Georgie Fame, who sang the number one hits ‘Yeh Yeh, Get Away’ and ‘The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde’ in the 1960s; Strictly Come Dancing vocalist Tommy Blaize; and current lead singer of Incognito, Vanessa Haynes. All singers will be accompanied by Guy Barker and the BBC Concert Orchestra.
On Sunday 5th May at 9pm, Andi Oliver will introduce musical highlights from Friday night’s special one night revival on BBC Four of Jazz 625 and will tell the story of this iconic 1960’s Jazz TV show.
The 2019 Cheltenham Jazz Festival runs from May 1st-6th and tickets are available from the event’s official website.