JAZZ/BLUES

James Annesley on the Melbourne jazz scene. James Annesley on the Melbourne jazz scene. CREDIT: ASB Queenstown JazzFest
The "hugely-talented" pianist Daniel Gassin. The "hugely-talented" pianist Daniel Gassin. CREDIT: ASB Queenstown JazzFest

ASB Queenstown JazzFest set for an Aussie invasion

Friday 17 September 2010, 7:52AM
By ASB Queenstown JazzFest
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An Aussie invasion is coming Queenstown’s way in October as top jazz acts from Down Under head across the Tasman to dazzle crowds at the ASB Queenstown JazzFest (21-25 October).

As excitement the builds for the 32nd annual festival, organisers have announced a lineup that showcases a ‘bonza’ bunch of new and returning Australian performers, exponents of a breadth of jazz styles from around New Zealand and the world.

Gracing the stages at the 2010 ASB Queenstown JazzFest will be the Daniel Gassin Trio, James Annesley Quartet, Mike Frost and the Icemen, Mojo Webb and Pan Francis.

Queenstown JazzFest Trust chairman Luke Baldock said it wasn’t just the snow that brought Aussies across the ditch to Queenstown.

“ASB JazzFest continues to develop strong associations with the Australian jazz scene with interest growing each year from leading and emerging artists keen to be involved here in Queenstown,” he said.

“With increased competition for a limited number of slots, this year’s lineup really does promise to be the best yet. One of my personal favourites is the James Annesley Quartet with his jazz/hip-hop cross-over.”

The Daniel Gassin Trio is fronted by hugely-talented pianist Daniel Gassin, described as “one of the most unheralded young pianists in jazz today,” by All About Jazz magazine. His accompanying three-piece jazz band comprises saxophonist Paul van Ross, drummer Mark Lockett and bassist Tom Lee, described as a modern jazz trio that “gets the sort of intense hum going that only the best of ‘em do.”

The Melbourne-based James Annesley Quartet is already a big Australian festival favourite. Featuring James Annesley on soprano and tenor saxophones, Tom Lee on double bass and Aaron McCoullough on drums, the band’s style of contemporary jazz draws influence from serene, earthy folk music and hard hitting rock.

Annesley’s compositions have a dynamic contrast and occasionally turn into adventurous, freewheeling improvisations.

Raised as a Kiwi but now Brisbane-based, singer-guitarist Mike Frost brings his Icemen back to his home turf for the band’s third consecutive appearance at the ASB Queenstown JazzFest.

Assisted by Mark 'The Colonel' Doherty's expert harp blowing and the swinging rhythm of Tom Matthews' bass and Greg Baikaloff's drums, Frost's guitar bites like a bull terrier. Inspired by Mike’s discovery of the blues via the sixties era of British R&B bands and the African-American bluesmen of the forties and fifties, they’re renowned for burning blues standards at their absolute best.

The naturally soulful voice and multi-instrumental talents of Mojo Webb often stops people in their tracks. His life-long study of blues guitar makes for a heartfelt ‘utterly fresh’ sound of roots-based music.

Described as producing ‘world-class’ music with great charisma and a captivating stage presence, and having sung as far afield as England and Thailand, Mojo has worldwide experience fronting his own bands and performing solo, earning him countless fans and admirers along the way.

Pan Francis is the chordless trio set to shoot rays of blissful collective improvisation around the ASB Queenstown’s JazzFest with their quirky melodies and thumping beats.

Jon Crompton will take to stage on saxophone, while Nick Martyn plays drums and percussion and Michael Story is on acoustic bass. Blending jazz, the avant-garde and acoustic rock, the sound of Pan Francis is hinged on collective improvisation and interplay with reckless abandon, explosive drumming and astonishing virtuosity.

The ASB Queenstown JazzFest is Queenstown’s major springtime event. It brings music to the masses in a 5-day live music celebration from 21 to 25 October.

The 32nd annual festival has a sensational line-up of more than 50 bands and 150 Kiwi and international performers.

For more information on musicians and bands and to view the full ASB Queenstown JazzFest programme, go to www.asbjazzfest.co.nz.