Wellington Jazz Festival on Cuba – Line-Up Announced
13 March 2013
Wellington Jazz Festival on Cuba – Line-Up Announced
New Zealand’s hottest little jazz festival - in the world’s coolest little capital
As the days grow cool, hundreds of musicians will be turning up the heat in the capital’s famous Cuba Quarter at the Wellington Jazz Festival, 6-8 June 2013.
There are major international acts, home-grown super groups, chilled afternoon sessions and riotous late-night jams – all crammed into some of Wellington’s best loved music venues, bars and eateries.
Headlining the weekend are two top international jazz artists in the Wellington Opera House.
With ten Grammy Awards between them, Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés and American vocalist Cassandra Wilson bring star power and two seriously good bands to the Opera House stage.
Kicking things off Cuban-style, Chucho Valdés opens the Festival on Thursday 6 June with his Afro-Cuban Messengers. A musical giant, Valdés is revered as one of Cuba’s greatest jazz pianists and bandleaders. Known for his electric stage presence and supreme playing technique, he also has an astonishing instant recall – plucking familiar phrases and weaving in tunes on the fly. From Ronnie Scott’s to Carnegie Hall, Valdés has played the world’s top jazz clubs and concert halls. So anticipation is high for this, his first New Zealand performance.
Mississippi-born jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson performs on Friday 7 June, backed by a sextet featuring some of today’s finest U.S. musicians. A two-time Grammy Award-winner, dubbed “America’s best singer” by Time magazine, Wilson is blessed with a distinctive and flexible contralto voice. Cassandra Wilson began working as a vocalist in the mid '70s, singing everything from British pop to American country. She signed with Blue Note Records in 1992 and released the landmark album Blue Light ‘Til Dawn - which would pave the way for a new generation of jazz singers. Deftly reinventing the jazz repertoire with a light touch, she is celebrated for her smooth vocals and cool, intimate style of performance.
Friday night’s Wellington Jazz Festival party, The Opera House Session, promises a joyous night of back-to-back jazz. First up is 20-year old vocalist and producer Estère - an edgy Erykah Badhu for the next generation. Then with a mix of Caribbean grooves, Afrobeat rhythms, highlife guitars and salsa sizzle - the Shogun Orchestra is a super group that features members of The Yoots, Fat Freddy's Drop, The Black Seeds and Lord Echo. Closing the gig with their original brand of Taniwhunk, Data Hui brings us Kiwi favourites Billy TK, Mara TK, Riki Gooch, Iraia Whakamoe and Crete Haami.
On Saturday 8 June, the Opera House plays host to more jazz - including the sounds of Rodger Fox’s Wellington Jazz Orchestra with special guest vocalists Glenn Walter (USA) and Erna Ferry (NZ).
Wellington drummer Reuben Bradley brings together international jazz artists Julien Wilson (saxophone), Brett Hirst (bass) and the New Zealand String Quartet for MANTIS - a live concert to honour the music of the late Drew Menzies, one of New Zealand's best jazz and classical double bassists. Arranged by Reuben Bradley with string arrangements by John Psathas.
Signing off the Opera House line-up, Kiwi jazz and soul diva Iva Lamkum appears on a late night double-bill with Venezuelan singer Jennifer Zea. Joined by her band, Zea will sing tracks from her latest album The Latin Soul ¬- which was produced by Nathan Haines and is a finalist for Best Jazz Album at the 2013 New Zealand Music Awards.
Elsewhere in the Cuba Quarter, Mighty Mighty turns New Orleans juke joint for the Roseneath Centennial Ragtime Band. From Jerusalem, the Omri Mor Trio’s Mighty Mighty set AndalouJazz blends contemporary jazz improvisation with traditional North African Andalusian music.
Matterhorn Late Nights is where you can while away the wee hours – with free after dark sessions every night of the Festival, including appearances from Lisa Tomlins and Vanessa Stacey. Meow is planning a jazz marathon with music all day, every day – featuring The Trio, Adam Page with a tribute to tenor sax legend Sonny Rollins, the John Rae All Star Collective and much more.
At street level there will be free music and fun with the New Zealand School of Music. There are jazz film classics screening at the Light House Cinema; jazz cabaret at Bats Theatre; Afro-Cuban Bandits at Havana Bar; a “roomfulla blues” at Hotel Bristol; The Boptet at Lido; jazz for dinner at Daddy O’s; two trios at Southern Cross and even a Soul for Survivors service at St Peter’s Church on the Sunday morning after. Plus festival-goers can show off their vintage style at the Friday Night Dress Up at any WJF venue across the city.
Many other restaurants and bars will be getting in the mix with intimate gigs and impromptu jams – as well as fortifying Festival-goers with an espresso pick-me-up or relaxing glass of Pinot Noir.
The full Festival programme is live at jazzfestival.co.nz
Tickets for ticketed shows are on sale from Monday 18 March at 9am
The Wellington Jazz Festival on Cuba
Major Funders Wellington City Council and the New Zealand Community Trust
Partners Ricoh, Springload, Wellington Airport, Stoneleigh and Deloitte
Grantees Wellington Community Trust, Creative New Zealand, The Southern Trust, Pub Charity, Four Winds Foundation, Infinity Foundation Limited, Embassy of Israel in New Zealand and the Embassy of the United States
Media Partners The Dominion Post, The Radio Network and New Zealand Listener
Accommodation Partners Village Accommodation and the Museum Art Hotel
New Zealand International Festival of the Arts Festival Patrons