NEXT week the soulful sounds of jazz music are set to fill Southend as the city hosts its “biggest-ever jazz festival”.

Southend Jazz Festival returns on Monday for its fourth officially outing in Southend, but organisers have insisted it will be bigger than ever as “music fans, venues and promoters” in the city join forces for 23 events.

The festival is being organised by Southend Jazz Festival CIC - a not-for-profit community interest company that promotes the jazz scene in the area.

Thanks to the council’s support through the community investment board, the festival, which will include 23 events across the week, is set to be more inclusive and accessible than before, with subsidised tickets available and more free-to-view events.

The event aims to showcase a “great mixture of talent”, and ex-West Ham player turned singer Gavin Holligan will be performing at The Royal Hotel, in the High Street, from 7pm on Saturday.

Other highlights include Netherlands-based R&B band Tristan taking to the Chalkwell Park Rooms’ stage, in London Road, at 7.30pm on Monday; the Jazz Dynamos creating jazz re-arrangements of songs by artists such as The Police and Dolly Parton also at the Chalkwell Park Rooms’ stage from 8pm on Tuesday.

On Wednesday former lead singer of Incognito Tony Momrelle is appearing at the Maritime Rooms, Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, at 8pm.

Southend Jazz Showcase that features all ages will be taking over the High Street’s arts and culture venue The Ironworks at 7pm on Thursday; Beecroft Art Gallery, in Victoria Avenue, will be presenting Robert Trujillo: Jaco for free, who tells the story of one of the greatest bass guitarists of all time at 1pm on Friday.

On Saturday, at 11am, there will be a free jazz workshop put on by the Southend Jazz Co-Op, where there will also be a special guest making an appearance.

Southend Jazz Festival will conclude on Sunday at 8pm with a headline show, featuring the “Godfather of Swing” Ray Gelato and the Giants, who will performing at Genting Casino, in Western Esplanade, Westcliff.