A teenage jazz pianist who has played with a large London swing band will help kick off an eight week culture festival this weekend.

Chris Neill, 18, who has performed with the The Denmark Street Big Band, will play with Matt Lowrie on bass, Dom Antony on drums and singer Ellie Bignall at the Loughton Festival music gala on Saturday.

The musician, from Hill Road, Theydon Bois, said the group would be playing popular contemporary tunes during the night at the Loughton Club in Station Road from 8pm.

He said: “We will probably be doing some Stevie Wonder and Adele songs, mixed in with popular jazz songs.

“We’ve always tried to keep it as contemporary and likeable as possible.”

He runs jamming sessions on Sunday nights from 8pm to 11pm at Buckhurst Hill Sports and Social Club in Queens Road, which he met the other members of the group through.

He said: “There’s always a lot of variation there and some hardy regulars.”

Also playing at the festival’s gala will be singers Sophie Hess, Paul Jefferies and Ian Mair, performers from the Loughton Music Academy and dance pair Melle and Jennie.

Tickets, costing £5 each, will be available on the door.

For a full list of festival events, visit www.loughtonfestival.org.