Top names in music will descend on Rye church for spring concerts

Russell Watson at Rye International Jazz and Blues Festival concert SUS-180801-120450001
Russell Watson at Rye International Jazz and Blues Festival concert SUS-180801-120450001

Rye International Jazz and Blues Festival has announced a stellar series of concerts at stunning St Mary’s Church in May.

These special events in Rye will provide a unique opportunity to see top artists in an intimate but historic setting.

The UK’s best-selling classical artist Russell Watson will perform first on Thursday May 3.

Russell has sold over seven million albums, performed all over the world, and is known as The People’s Tenor. A VIP package is available which includes a pre-concert reception, front seats at the concert, signed CD and the opportunity to meet with Russell on the evening.

Since being described by the New York Times as a performer “who sings like Pavarotti and entertains the audience like Sinatra,” he has released ten studio albums, each one receiving more critical acclaim than the last.

An intimate acoustic evening with songsmith, broadcaster, activist and raconteur Tom Robinson takes place on Friday May 4, and this thoughtful show revisits an incredible back catalogue. Little-known gems sit alongside classics such as War Baby, Glad to Be Gay and 2-4-6-8 Motorway, interspersed with anecdotes from five decades in the music industry.

Avery Sunshine will take her audience to the most joyous of uplifting, gospel and soul-infused heaven as she headlines at St Mary’s on Saturday May 5. Avery is releasing her new album in March 2018 and festival director Ian Bowden is “delighted” to have enticed her to perform this rare UK date.

Kyle Eastwood, son of screen legend Clint, and his hugely talented quintet In Transit will delight jazz fans during a special afternoon concert on Sunday May 6 with his band of young, English ‘cats’ by his side, as well as special guest Stefano Di Battista on double bass. Enthusiasts will see in In Transit the blueprint for contemporary jazz which encompasses melodic richness and groove, whereas purists, as well as enjoying original compositions, will be able to roam through history thanks to some enthralling Count Basie, Monk and Mingus covers.

British band The Christians is renowned for a string of soulful yet socially aware hits such as Forgotten Town, Ideal World, Born Again, and Harvest For The World, and will perform these live, plus many more, on the evening of Sunday May 6.

The Christians enjoyed huge acclaim in the late 80s and early 90s both in the UK and Europe; 30 years on, the group is still going strong.

Another Liverpool success story, their first album, The Christians, exploded onto the scene and their second album, Colour, knocked Phil Collins off the number one spot. The Christians are still headed by enigmatic lead singer Garry Christian.

The “hottest guitarist in the world”, Miloš Karadaglić performs an afternoon concert on Monday May 7, as he continues to top the record charts and delight audiences worldwide.

His first three releases achieved major chart successes around the globe and turned him into “classical music’s guitar hero” overnight.

His 2014 recording of Rodrigo’s concertos had the Sunday Times calling him “The King of Aranjuez”, while “Blackbird - the Beatles album” (2016) was received with unanimous critical acclaim.

Classic BRIT Award-winner Miloš has become one of the most sought-after concert soloists in the world, with performances at London’s Royal Albert Hall under his belt. You can expect a wonderful programme of Spanish classics, cool Latin, Bach chaconnes, Beatles arrangements and more.

For tickets and information please go to