Normandyâ€™s famous Jazz Sous Les Pommiers festival kicks off this weekend (Saturday 04 May) with a record number of musicians taking part from all corners of the world.
The 32nd festival held every year in Coutances, will feature 400 professional musicians and 950 amateurs as well as performances by nine theatre companies.
Musicans this year have come from the United States, Scotland, Israel, Portugal, Brazil, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, the UK, the Netherlands and Sweden, making it a truely international festival.
One of the most respected jazz saxophonists, American Charles Lloyd, will be playing on the opening night. Lloyd was born in Memphis, Tennessee and was surrounded by the cityâ€™s rich musical life at an early age. As well as traditional jazz he is known on a number of hit rock albums and played with The Doors and The Beach Boys.
Other headline acts include jazz singer and song writer Madeleine Peyroux who is often described as the â€˜spiritual daughterâ€™ of Billie Holiday. She has a new album, the Blue Room and her repetorie in Coutances will include covers of Ray Charles and Simon and Garfunkel.
For the first time in over a decade there will also be a concert in the cathedral. Saxaphonist and clarinetist John Surman will be playing in the cathedral in the afternoon of Saturday 11 May, the final day of the festival. At the beginning of this year his album Saltash Bells was named Album of the Year at the JazzFM awards in London. He started out as a teenager playing music in Devon and his now regarded as having composed a body of work that far beyond the normal range of a jazz repetoire.
Organisers said that this year the ticket office has been changed to make it easier and more affordable. A loyalty card can be bought for â‚¬18 which then entitles the holder to reducations on all perfomrances and tickets can also be bought and reserved online.