The programme for the Bath Festival has been released and the jazz element, still mainly centred around the second May bank Holiday weekend, has taken another twist under Joanna Macgregor’s direction. This year there’s a strand with strong emphasis on the freeer less structured end of improvisation complemented by a slightly more ‘worldy’ orientation in another and a couple of art-caberet shows. Evan Parker legendary, free improvising sax man is in a double bill with Chris Abrahams, pianist of the Necks, the Australian ambient, minimalist, improv trio on Saturday. The Necks are also scheduled on the Sunday. Ute Lemper headlines on Saturday with a ‘last tango in Berlin’ show followed by Richard Galliano’s tango based music on Sunday paired with Carmen Souza leading a ‘genre bending band but definitely in the West African/ latin zone. There is more (Soweto Kinch on Sunday and a BBC Jazz Line up show) and you can check out details here . The venues are mainly Komedia and the Guildhall (they’ll need to work on the sound at Komedia). What strikes me is that there is generally less on than in previous years making more difficult the old Bath Festival trick of blending the more familiar with a bit of a challenge and springing a delightful surprise as a result. So, is there an undertone of disappointment? For reason of the thinner programme, maybe yes, ‘but use it or lose it’!