Two international music legends, a new jazz fusion club, the premiere of a project marrying music to historic New Zealand film footage, and a tribute to “the greatest female jazz/pop singer of the 20th century” feature in the 48th National Jazz Festival in Tauranga in April 2010.
The five-day event held over Easter from April 1-5 was tonight (SUBS: 8 December) launched at the festival’s newest venue, Mt Maunganui’s Classic Flyers. The festival features a stunning line-up of more than 60 bands and musicians and the return of popular features from 2009 including the Jazz Steamtrain with two excursions on offer; The Sebel Trinity Wharf Tauranga Jazz Riverboat and the TV3 Jazz Village.
As the third oldest jazz festival in the world, the National Jazz Festival is an iconic event on the music calendar in New Zealand. “Last year’s festival was superb,” says Festival Director Arne Herrmann. “This year will be even better.”
Headlining the National Jazz Festival is six-time Grammy award-winning jazz legend Dr John with his band, The Lower 911.
“Bringing Dr John to Tauranga is a dream come true. He is regarded as one of the New Orleans legends mentioned in the same breath with Louis Armstrong and Fats Domino.”
Regarded as a staple of the New Orleans music scene, Dr John has performed and recorded with many artists including Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Sonny and Cher, Van Morrison and Aretha Franklin and even Muppet Dr Teeth was modelled on him. His Grammy awards include the 2008 Best Contemporary Blues Album for ‘City That Care Forgot’, an album of lament for New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Also featuring in the international line-up is the man they call ‘the Godfather of Acid Jazz’, Hammond B3 legend Brian Auger. Joined by son Karma on drums, daughter Savannah on vocals, and Andreas Geck on bass, Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express melds together jazz, rock, soul and funk for a one night only concert.”
Opening the festival on Thursday 1 April is a very special concert paying tribute to Peggy Lee, whose voice and songs changed the music scene of the 1940s and ‘50s.
In Things Are Swingin’ – Peggy Lee: The Woman and Her Music, sultry jazz songstress Erna Ferry is joined by Rodger Fox and a hand-picked band to pay tribute to the life and music of this legendary vocalist. Featuring Peggy Lee’s wonderful songs including ‘Why Don’t You Do Right’, ‘It’s a Good Day’, ‘Lover’, ‘Fever’ and ‘Manana’ and ‘Is That All There Is?’.
New 16-piece orchestra Brett’s New Internationals Big Band harks back to the 1920s, celebrating the tunes played by Duke Ellington, Jean Goldkette, Jack Hylton, Fletcher Henderson, Paul Whiteman and the Savoy Orpheans. They will be joined by the glamorous Syncopettes, the orchestra’s femal vocal trio, and the Tauranga Big Band for a special Festival set.
The gorgeous voices of a capella gospel choir Jubilation will raise the roof at Holy Trinity on Friday 2 April. The 30-strong choir includes renowned vocalists Rick Bryant, Jackie Clarke and Jean McAllister as they sing gospel alongside songs from Tom Waits, Nina Simone and Don McGlashan.
New for 2010 is Global Breakthrough – a music festival concept created in London and debuting in New Zealand at the National Jazz Festival. This two night concert series, staged in an aircraft hangar at Mt Maunganui’s Classic Flyers, brings together nu-jazz maestro Nathan Haines and leading contemporary jazz musicians in his band and the Opensouls line up.
Global Breakthrough will also feature guest vocalists Vanessa Freeman from the UK, and resident DJ Pierre Estienne from South Africa.
“Artistic Director Liam Ryan and I are constantly pushing ourselves as a team to cater for a wide range of people and we’re not afraid to try new things.” Mr Herrmann says.
“Global Breakthrough is our message to younger audiences: ‘hey we are here for you, too!’.
“Great live music has no age barriers. Bringing the people that are in the charts and taking them outside the theatre in an unusual concert setting is our invitation to a younger audience to breathe festival air.”
Also new is the Orange Festival Ball – Jazz at the Movies. In a festival first, acclaimed British silent movie composer Paul Lewis has created a new music score to accompany rare film footage of life in New Zealand from the 1920s to the 1960s. The moving images include scenes from the Royal Show in 1926, Around the World in an Austin Seven (1929) and a light-hearted look at the 1967 Orange Festival in the Bay of Plenty complete with beauty queens at the airport and the splendour of the Orange Festival Ball.
The festival’s University of Waikato Jazz Club at Baycourt’s Exhibition space features leading New Zealand jazz bands and musicians in an eclectic mix with mingles jazz favourites Nairobi Trio and Samsom Nacey Haines Trio with rising star LA Mitchell; Phil Broadhurst’s Made in New Zealand, a celebration of original Kiwi music, the sounds of Cuba with Orquesta Nueva Zelanda, hot Brazilian samba with Zamba Flam, and The Jews Brothers.
The Jazz Steamtrain is back for 2010 with two special excursions to choose from – the Coastal Express, a two hour round trip, or the four-hour Coastal Discovery with three bands on board, strolling between carriages and a selection of fine wines and food to tempt the tastebuds. Also returning is The Sebel Trinity Wharf Tauranga Jazz Riverboat with a gentle harbour tour of Tauranga Moana aboard the Kewpie enjoying the sounds on the on-board jazz band.
And Tauranga’s own version of New Orleans’ French Quarter, the TV3 Jazz Village returns. “This was a real favourite in 2009 with thousands of visitors coming to join in the fun,” Mr Herrmann says. “This year we’re planning more of everything to make this a memorable experience again.”
Twenty bands will perform on four stages and include New Zealand musicians as well as international guest appearances by YGGDRASIL from the Faroe Islands, Phil Tweed and Mark Lochett from Australia and Mike Cooper from the UK.
Other features during the 48th National Jazz Festival include the Port of Tauranga Youth Jazz Competition featuring this year’s prizewinning musicians in the More FM Young Guns Showcase; and the Downtown Tauranga Carnival with four stages bringing a diverse assortment of jazz to the central city.