Festival provides opportunity for home-grown talent to shine

Wednesday 31 March 2010, 4:59PM
By Mode Partners


Some of the country’s best home-grown talent will be taking centre stage when the curtain lifts on the New Zealand International Jazz and Blues Festival next week.

And the home-grown acts are proving almost as much as a draw-card as the festival’s international headliners, with concerts by local stars like Christchurch’s Jennine Bailey, who will be performing a tribute to the late Eva Cassidy, already sold out.

Festival director Jodi Wright says one of the great things about the New Zealand International Jazz & Blues Festival is that it provides a platform for local musicians to shine and also gives them the opportunity to work alongside some of the most talented jazz musicians in the world.

“Opportunities to collaborate with top international acts don’t come along that often so it is going to be wonderful this year to see the likes of Swing 42 performing on stage with Australian violinist Daniel Weltlinger and Darren Pickering teaming up with Seattle Jazz Trumpet player Tom Marriott. It’s going to be a treat for the performers and for the audience.

“One of the highlights of the festival, I think, will be Harry Harrison’s Diggin’ the Roots concert. Christchurch has got an expansive community of roots artists and Harry’s going to be leading them in what promises to be a vibrant and diverse performance – you’ll hear everything from bluegrass to blues, country to Cajun,” Ms Wright says. “I can’t wait to see it.”

The New Zealand International Jazz & Blues Festival starts in Christchurch on Monday and runs through until Sunday, April 11.

“Christchurch audiences are very supportive of local talent and this festival is a great way for up-and-coming musicians to gain recognition and to take the next step up.

And for people who may not be so familiar with jazz and blues music, it’s a great introduction to the genre,” Ms Wright says. “Each year we always end up with some new converts!’’

Tickets for some of the festival concerts are still available. For ticketing information and more details about the festival programme log onto www.jazzfestivalnz.com. The festival ends on April 11.