Top names in line-up for Rye International Jazz Festival’s spring concerts

The biggest-selling classical violinist of all time Nigel Kennedy will join Rye International Jazz Festival’s impressive line-up for live concerts this spring.

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 9:33 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 9:36 am

A special spring series takes place at St Mary’s church, Rye, over early May bank holiday weekend with three eclectic international artists.

On Friday May 3 the ‘godfather’ of bossa nova and Brazilian music Sergio Mendes makes a special appearance as part of a limited number of dates that he will be performing in the UK this year.

On Saturday May 4 the highly acclaimed American jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux will be performing songs from her latest album Anthem and her impressive back catalogue. Eight albums and 22 years since her debut Dreamland, Madeleine continues to challenge the confines of jazz, venturing into the fertile fields of contemporary music with unfading curiosity.

Nigel Kennedy

On Sunday May 5 the legendary American songwriter Jimmy Webb performs a truly unique concert, An Evening with Jimmy Webb, with his special guests Ian Shaw and Liane Carroll.

Jimmy is the genius behind so many hit records such as Wichita Lineman, By The Time I get to Phoenix and Rhinestone Cowboy all of which were recorded by the legendary American Country singer Glen Campbell.

Late May bank holiday weekend will see Nigel Kennedy perform on Saturday May 25 at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill. This unique show sees Kennedy and his talented band reinterpreting the work of George Gershwin along with pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, and his own compositions from an illustrious career.

Kennedy remains the bestselling violinist of all time. His virtuoso technique, unique talent and mass appeal have brought fresh perspectives to both the classical and contemporary repertoire.

The result is Kennedy Meets Gershwin, an assured and joyful re-imagination of Gershwin’s timeless compositions, given new life by the charming and soaring interpretations of classical music’s most unique and prodigious talent.

A love of jazz has featured prominently in Kennedy’s career. He grew up listening to his stepfather’s jazz records, picking out Fats Waller tunes on the piano.

By the age of 16, leading jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli had invited the boy prodigy to appear with him at New York’s Carnegie Hall, and yet the vast majority of Kennedy’s recorded output has been in the classical and rock genres. Until now, that is, for Kennedy is making a rip-roaring foray into the songbook of iconoclastic American composer Gershwin with a mesmerizingly collection.

Kennedy said: “For me, Gershwin’s work is epitomised by three main ingredients: the fusion of jazz and classical music, the beautiful melodic influences of Jewish culture and the unique energy of New York City. This music fits my nature, skill set and experiences so well.”

To book tickets for the concerts in Rye go to, for Nigel Kennedy go to or call on 01424 229111.

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