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Four Grammy award winners, a legendary German Jazz artist, a retrospective exhibition and a special birthday bash celebration concert are the highlights of the 50th National Jazz Festival in Tauranga in April 2012.
The five-day event held over Easter from April 5-9 features jazz bands and musicians of the present and the future, plus the free Downtown Carnival, the hugely popular Jazz Village, the Sebel Trinity Wharf Tauranga Jazz Riverboat and the 2012 New Zealand Music Award Tui in the Jazz category.
This year is extra special for the Festival as it marks its 50th birthday and director Arne Herrmann says the programme includes many special treats to celebrate the milestone.
Already announced is the 50th Birthday Bash Concert featuring multiple Grammy Award winners Earth, Wind & Fire on their first ever concert in New Zealand, along with blues singer and guitarist Keb Mo, and jazz legend Patti Austin. Also marking the half century is an exhibition and concert – The History of Jazz ... According to Tauranga. The exhibition tells the stories behind the creation of the National Jazz Festival including recordings, video footage and vinyl records from collectors; while the concert brings together the music of the past decades under the close eyes and ears of musical director Rodger Fox and featuring Jim Langabeer, Malcolm McNeil, Stu Buchanan, David Feehan, Murray McNabb, Erna Ferry, Mike Booth and Ann Pacey.
The 2012 National Jazz Festival concert series welcomes two jazz legends – American Kurt Elling with special guest superstar saxophonist Eric Marienthal and the Wellington Jazz Orchestra; and German jazz legend Klaus Doldinger’s Passport. Kurt Elling is among the leading jazz vocalists in the world today and all his records have garnered him Grammy Award nominations. Saxophonist Klaus Doldinger is best known as the composer of the film scores for the acclaimed German U-boat film Das Boot and The Neverending Story.
The concert series also includes The Beat Girls performing a tribute to the musical craze which swept the world in the 1950’s and early 60’s Blame it On The Bossa Nova.
“We are very excited about this year’s line-up of artists, and particularly having four Grammy award winners heading our way,” Mr Herrmann said.
Tauranga’s National Jazz Festival is one of the oldest jazz festivals in the world and was formed by a group of friends after they were inspired by the movie Jazz On A Summers Day, in essence a documentary about the oldest jazz festival in the world held in Newport.
“They decided they wanted a festival like Newport’s and so with a 50 pound overdraft they held the first Tauranga Jazz Festival in 1963,” says Mr Herrmann. “It hasn’t missed a beat and has run every year since then.
“We really are pulling out all the stops for 2012 and bringing some very exciting musicians to Tauranga.”
The Festival also has a special new look this year following a poster design competition. The winning design is by Mauricio Benega of Piha, Auckland. Lauren Marriott was the runner-up and her design has been used as the new logo for the National Youth Jazz Competition which takes place as part of the Festival.
Moe than 40 designs were received from around New Zealand and an exhibition of selected entries will be held during the Festival.
Also featuring in the 2012 Festival is a Jazz in the Afternoon series with Tauranga Big Band and special guests performing Then and Now; while Australia’s Jubilation returns to Tauranga bringing their passion for singing with a repertoire spanning jazz, gospel and world music.
The Hurricane Party is back in 2012 with Batucada Sound Machine, The Eggs, Adam Page & Riki Gooch, and Spiral; while The Lizard Kings perform Light My Fire, a tribute to The Doors .
The music continues in the University of Waikato Jazz Club with Tauranga All Stars; Jan Preston Trio and Adam Page.
The New Zealand Music Awards Best Jazz Album of the Year for 2012 will be announced at a special concert night featuring performances by each of the three Tui Award nominees – Tim Hopkins, Phil Broadhurst Quartet and Rodger Fox’s Wellington Jazz Orchestra.
Returning in 2012 are popular features including The Sebel Trinity Wharf Tauranga Jazz Riverboat, Tauranga’s own version of New Orleans’ French Quarter, the Jazz Village, the National Youth Jazz Competition and the Downtown Tauranga Carnival with four stages bringing a diverse assortment of jazz to the central city.
The full line up for the 50th National Jazz Festival is at www.jazz.org.nz. Book tickets for the 50th Birthday Bash through Ticketek on 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) or www.ticketek.co.nz All other tickets for National Jazz Festival events are available through Ticket Direct by phoning 0800 4TICKET (484 253) or at www.ticketdirect.co.nz.