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2014 Queen’s Birthday Jazz and Blues Festival

28 April 2014

2014 Queen’s Birthday Jazz and Blues Festival

Expressions is pleased to announce the acts for its annual Queens Birthday Jazz and Blue Festival 6 days of sultry jazz and smooth blues. This year’s line-up is huge with two major acts from the United States of America and the addition of Sunday Soul, a free Community Concert on the Sunday night.

The Festival hits off on Wednesday 28 May with The Four Freshmen. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear the legendary sound of the famous jazz vocal group of all time. This renowned barbershop quartet from the United States of America has enamoured listeners world-wide for 50 years, recorded over 45 albums, 70 top selling singles and received six Grammy nominations. Today the names and faces have changed, but the harmony and meticulous sound of The Four Freshmen continue to fascinate audiences worldwide.

Thursday 29 May sees a night of French cabaret jazz and comedy with entertainer Jane Keller accompanied by Michael Williams. Originally from Ohio and with over 30 years of operatic experience Keller’s cabaret shows are highly acclaimed in both New Zealand and the USA. With snippets from her sell-out comedy show Boomers Behaving Badly and other bits together with Adelaide multi-instrumentalist Adam Page who makes spontaneous symphonies on stage, this will be a hilarious off-beat show for all.

The festival’s signature Jazz Gala on Friday 30 May proudly features legendary American jazz singer Freda Payne and jazz pianist, composer and Grammy Award-winning arranger Bill Cunliffe, in concert with The Rodger Fox Wellington Jazz Orchestra. Well known for her million selling, 1970 hit single, "Band of Gold” Payne has shared the stage with legends such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Quincy ]ones whilst Cunliffe has worked with the likes of Frank Sinatra and James Moody among others. Together with a swinging big band they will present a night of sultry jazz and smooth soul.

Blues Night on Saturday brings you a touch of Koko, some sweet guitar solos, honky tonk piano, warm upright bass and a whole lot of rhythm and blues with the Back Porch Band featuring high energy singer Laura Collins and ex-warratahs Wayne Mason. Expect a toe-tapping good old southern time on the back porch. Support comes from the Kelburn Viaduct Municipal Ensemble Jug Band featuring washboards, banjos, kazoo, a Tea chest bass, hollers and whoop.

And a new addition to the festival is Sunday Soul, a free community concert presented by Soul City Church. Featuring the renown Capital Gospel Show, singing well-known favourite sing-a-longs, and ‘sweet as honey’ music, this will a night of wonderfully moving music that stirs your soul, shakes you up and stays with you. This concert is on the Sunday night at 7pm, and whilst free, bookings are recommended.

This year Silverstream Retreat also joins the Festival with a special Queen’s Birthday High Tea on the Monday afternoon. This will be a chance to experience the glamour of High Tea and treat yourself to an afternoon of indulgence. Featuring lovingly created and beautifully crafted sweet and savoury delights for you to relish and a refreshing glass of bubbles, this is the perfect way to end the festival. And on Saturday’s Arty Party children can celebrate the festival with art activities in the Rotary Foyer. Make your own crown and create your own archer in a castle from 10am – 2pm and it’s free.

Artistic Director of the Festival Roger Fox says he is excited about this year’s festival, and with the new additions hopes it will become more and more a city wide Festival. Director of Expressions Leanne Wickham adds that there is no need to travel away for the weekend with the festival bring the world to Upper Hutt. “And we even have the Queens Jewels!” Yes, as part of the festival Expressions presents a display of the Imperial Queen Crown with all the glamour of the original. Made for the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition in 1940, and on loan from the Museum of Wellington City and Sea this gem will sit in Expressions foyer for the Festival.

Tickets $45 Adult | $160 Festival Pass | $40 Friends/Jazz Club/Piano Club Concession I $20 Students

Queen’s Birthday Jazz and Blues Festival is brought to you by Expressions Arts & Entertainment Centre with funding from the Rimutaka Trust and support from The Breeze.


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