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Stirring sounds are set to resonate for jazz players young and old at the upcoming New Zealand School of Music Jazz Festival.
Renowned saxophonists Bennie Maupin and Dick Oatts from the United States lead a guest line-up, who aside from playing specialist concerts, will also share the stage with NZSM students during the festival from August 16-18.
High-school pupils will take the spotlight first though, when more than 30 secondary school jazz bands, big bands and combos arrive in Wellington for two days of workshops, competition and performances - including sessions at the St James Theatre on Courtenay Place.
Part of this section of the festival includes the NZSM Jazz Festival Improvisation Competition in which four teenage musicians, one pianist and three saxophonists, have been selected to demonstrate their jazz improvisational skills. Maupin and Oatts, who have played with jazz legends Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, will judge the competition.
The following night, Friday August 17, the jazz pairing will headline JazzJazzJazz a celebration of not just their expertise but also the rising talent at the School.
Other on stage performances include the Tui award-winning NZSM Big Band directed by Dr Rodger Fox and the New Zealand Youth Jazz Orchestra which will be performing a mix of big band standards. The NZSM Latin Ensemble and Jazz Choir will also take the stage during the concert.
In what is shaping up to be a hectic weekend for Maupin, he will headline a concert with a select NZSM jazz faculty combo at Wellington bar The Grand on Saturday August 18.
In a coda to the 2012 NZSM Jazz Festival, Maupin and Oatts will wind up their New Zealand visit on Sunday August 19 with a performance at Massey University’s Albany campus. They will be joined by NZSM staff Phil Broadhurst (piano), Trudy Lile (flute) and Neil Watson (guitar), along with the Auckland Jazz Orchestra.
New Zealand School of Music events coordinator Stephen Gibbs says the festival is a wonderful opportunity for students not just share the stage with accomplished jazz musicians but also to experience playing popular concert-sized venues too.
Te Koki, The New Zealand School of Music a joint initiative of Massey University and Victoria University in Wellington.
The New Zealand School of Music Jazz Festival is being staged from August 16-18 and features:
Improvisation Competition, Thursday August 16. 7.30pm, NZSM Concert Hall, Mt Cook campus, observers welcome, free entry.
High School jazz band and combos competition: Friday August 17 and Saturday August 18: 9am-5.30pm, St James Theatre, Courtenay Place, Wellington, observers welcome, students free, adults $10 for a day pass.
JazzJazzJazz, 8pm, Friday August 17, St James Theatre; Ticket information from Ticketek