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Superstars Earth, Wind & Fire and Keb Mo Head to NZ for National Jazz Festival


Multi-Grammy award winning soul-funk superstars Earth Wind & Fire and iconic Grammy award-winning blues singer/songwriter Keb Mo have been confirmed to play one New Zealand concert only in April as part of the 50th birthday celebrations of the National Jazz Festival in Tauranga.

Earth Wind & Fire and Keb Mo headline a triple bill of international superstars to play at the special five-hour long Birthday Bash on Sunday 8 April at Tauranga Domain as a major highlight of the five-day National Jazz Festival held over Easter.

Festival director Arne Herrmann says he is absolutely thrilled to have secured the only New Zealand concerts by Earth Wind and Fire and Keb Mo. “What an awesome way to celebrate this historic milestone for the National Jazz Festival,” he says.

A third major international superstar will be announced soon for the 50th Birthday Bash concert.

Earth Wind & Fire took the world of music by storm with their infectious blend of rhythm and blues, funk, and soul and rose to be the seventh top selling US band of all time with 50 Gold and Platinum albums, 90 million albums sold and seven Top 10 US singles.

Celebrating more than 40 years of global success, EWF features the sublime Philip Bailey on lead vocals alongside original members, Verdine White (bass) and Ralph Johnson and the concert will feature hits ‘September’, ‘Shining Star’, ‘Let’s Groove Tonight’, ‘Sing A Song’, ‘Boogie Wonderland’ and ‘After The Love Has Gone’.

Keb Mo has garnered acclaim throughout his career as a blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. He has won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album three times; his songs have been recorded by legendary artists including BB King and Natalie Cole; and he has appeared on recordings with Willie Nelson, Ray Charles and Jackson Browne.

The Birthday Bash is one of the highlights of the 2012 National Jazz Festival to mark its 50th anniversary. 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.”

As well as the Birthday Bash, the 50th anniversary will also be celebrated with a special exhibition and a new concert series featuring more leading international acts. “We really are pulling out all the stops for 2012 and bringing some very exciting musicians to Tauranga.”

The 2012 Festival will also include the popular Downtown Tauranga Carnival, the Sebel Trinity Wharf Jazz Riverboat, Jazz Village, the National Youth Jazz Competition and the Hurricane Party. The full line-up and programme for the 50th National Jazz Festival will be announced on Wednesday 7 December.

Tickets for the Birthday Bash featuring Earth Wind & Fire and Keb Mo are on sale from Friday 18 November through Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) or http://www.ticketek.co.nz

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