Legendary international jazz musicians and an outstanding homegrown selection have
been added to the final programme of the new biennial Wellington Jazz Festival 2009.
Musicians from Cuba and Brazil to Tunisia, France and New Zealand feature alongside
six headliners from North America and Poland, such as Mingus Big Band and cool
trumpeter Tomasz StaDko, first announced last month.
Speaking on 21 January at the launch of the final programme, Wellington Jazz Festival
Artistic Director, Lissa Twomey said, “The diversity and breadth of talent is
unprecedented for a jazz festival in New Zealand.”
“Some of the world’s finest players, the majority playing in New Zealand for the first time,
will hang out in Wellington in venues with audiences, thinking, feeling and talking jazz.
With this wide programme blending soul, blues, R & B, funk, Latin, gospel, traditional
and contemporary jazz, we are sure to attract a new generation of jazz fans.”
The Wellington Jazz Festival runs from 5-8 March. More than 75 international artists
from 11 countries along with over a hundred New Zealand musicians will present a total
of 24 shows and workshops in a jazz hub centered on Civic Square. A specially built jazz
club Pacific Blue Note in the Wellington Town Hall will showcase jazz around the clock,
and a free series of jazz shows is planned for an outdoor stage in Civic Square.
Representing Cuba, charismatic pianist Roberto Fonseca is bringing forth percussive
Afro-Cuban beats and rhythms when he performs with his quintet at the Pacific Blue
Note. Fonseca took over as pianist with Buena Vista Social Club, succeeding Ruben
Gonzelez, and toured the world with Cuban legends Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara
Portuondo before launching a solo career.
The music of Tunisian vocalist and oud virtuoso Dhafer Youssef mixes Islamic Sufism
with electric jazz; larger than life Ed Motta from Brazil is a virtuoso composer and
musician with soul chops and a love of food, wine and comics, while ‘naughty but nice’
chanteuse Mélanie Pain from French folk-popsters Nouvelle Vague, will perform music
from her debut solo album My Name.
Pulling the catch on deep Pacific dub soul flavours are local luminaries Fat Freddys
Drop - dropping by for an intimate session at the Pacific Blue Note that will include long
player tunes sourced from forthcoming sophomore album the Big BW.
The winner of the Tui Award for New Zealand Best Jazz Album is to be announced
during a Trans-Tasman triumph, The Bernie McGann & Roger Manins Australasian
Project. The two renowned saxophonists - Australian national treasure Bernie McGann
and Kiwi saxophonist Roger Manins - will be joined by Australian guitarist Carl
Dewhurst and Kiwi’s Paul Dyne on bass and Reuben Bradley on drums.
Rolling out the barrel, Boogie Beats features Kiwi ‘Queen of boogie woogie piano’ Jan
Preston in collaboration with inventive swing drummer Michael Maass from Germany.
Another extraordinary match up will be Nock plays Houstoun plays Nock, featuring
classical pianist Michael Houstoun and jazz legend Mike Nock crossing paths and
repertoire. Houstoun will play compositions by Nock, while Nock himself will draw on
jazz standards, improvisation and his own pieces.
Jazz diva Whirimako Black is set to perform songs in Te Reo Mori and English
notably a pick of Mori songs from the WWII era. Accompanying her in concert are Joel
Haines (guitar) Oliver Holland (bass) and Ron Samsom (drums).
The Wellington Jazz Festival is proud to present a series of free jazz concerts on the
Civic Square Free Stage. The three free events kick off with The Wellington Groove
featuring freewheeling acts The Nok and Fertility Festival and established funk
boogaloo exponents The Eggs accompanied by dazzling songbird Lisa Tomlins.
The second free gig is the Big Band Bash. The roaring sounds of the NZ School of
Music Big Band, under the musical direction of Rodger Fox and featuring special guest
US saxophonist Bob Sheppard will entertain the people alongside Tui Jazz Award
winners the mighty 18-piece Vaughn Roberts Big Band.
The third installment of free jazz buzz in Civic Square is Sunday Jazz in the Square
featuring the devilish Hot Club Sandwich, Gypsy jazz quartet Nouveau Manouche,
Mike Nock’s Creative Electronic Trio and rising soul jazz singer LA Mitchell.
On the Sunday morning of the Festival, it’s time to wake up and raise the roof at the
Pacific Blue Note with Sunday Morning Gospel - an upbeat serving of good time
gospel from the 32-strong Jubilation a cappella Gospel Choir and guest soloist Jackie
New York’s 14-piece all-star Mingus Big Band was the first headliner act confirmed to
play the Wellington Jazz Festival. The Big Apple institution is a creative force keeping
alive the spirit and legacy of the late great composer and bass player, Charles Mingus.
The other international artists already confirmed for the Wellington Jazz Festival are
thought-provoking bluesman Otis Taylor; vibraphonist and pioneer of jazz/funk Roy
Ayers; sublime jazz, classical and rock pianist Brad Mehldau; blues troubadour Eric
Bibb; and the ‘Polish Miles Davis’ trumpeter Tomasz StaDko.
Otis Taylor will inspire the young in a captivating public workshop Writing the Blues for
Children that will teach 5 – 10 year olds about the origins of the Blues and how to find
their own voice - he believes everyone has a story to tell no matter how old. Free-jazz
pioneer Tomasz StaDko, one of Europe’s most original jazz artists, will host a
Masterclass session open to local musicians and general public.
Rolling into the midnight hour on the first three nights of the Wellington Jazz Festival is
After Midnight, a surprise freestyle jam session for the nocturnal at the Pacific Blue
Note. The midnight marauders taking to the stage will be announced daily after midday
on Festival website www.jazzfestival.co.nz. Entry to After Midnight is free for ticket
holders from a performance held that day, or $25 on the door.
Wellington Jazz Festival 2009 is supported by Wellington City Council and managed by
the New Zealand International Arts Festival.
Wellington Jazz Festival
5-8 March 2009
Tickets On Sale 22 January 2009
Available at Ticketek, or online: www.ticketek.co.nz
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