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Wellington Jazz Festival 2019 On sale now

Wellington Jazz Festival
is on sale now, a chance for audiences to play serious at this sensational mid-winter event for music lovers, jazz aficionados and intrepid newcomers to explore more than 150 gigs across the city, 5-9 June.

“We welcome jazz lovers to Wellington to experience our headline artists at the Michael Fowler Centre, where we will be creating an intimate experience for audiences and artists,” says Creative Director Marnie Karmelita. “The music doesn’t stop there; jazz will spill into the streets and take over every corner of the city with classic albums, big brass, Billie Holiday, Beyoncé, classic film and korero.”

Featuring some of the finest musicians from across New Zealand and around the globe, this year we are proud to welcome artists from the USA, Norway, Scotland, Australia, France, Canada and Cuba – bringing the sounds and spirit of jazz to the capital’s streets, cafes, bars and live music venues.

"We are really stoked to be major contributors to the Wellington Jazz Festival programme this year, with nearly 40 events over the five days,” says Damian from music venues Meow and Caroline. “It's the largest international line-up we have ever had, as well as a really exciting bunch of acts from Wellington and New Zealand."

The future of jazz is also in safe hands as students in the New Zealand School of Music Big Band will be working with the extraordinarily talented Ambrose Akinmusire, from the USA, whose powerful music is an active response to societal and racial divides.

“I'm really excited that the big band is getting to play and share the stage with Ambrose Akinmusire during the Jazz Festival this year,” says BMus (Hons) student Lily Shaw, who plays the saxophone in the band. “It's an honour to be working with a musician of such high calibre and I'm so grateful to the Wellington Jazz Festival for bringing such a wealth of first-rate musicians to New Zealand.”

The Wellington Jazz Festival programme is out on the streets and online at from TODAY.


Jazz for Tamariki
CAROLINE Sat 8/6 2pm-3pm
A jazz concert exclusively for children (parents welcome as well!). The perfect introduction to jazz, set to entertain and enthrall young jazz fans.

The Music of Twin Peaks
THIRD EYE Sat 8/6 9pm-10.30pm
Cult. Mom + Pop. Immerse. Soap Opera. Sex. Bizarre. Badalamenti. Lynch.
An evening of music from David Lynch’s cult television series Twin Peaks.

Beyoncé + Brass
MEOW Sat 8/6 11pm-midnight
Lisa Tomlins and the Dirty Ole Brass Band reinvent the hits of Queen B!

Mary Poppins Ensemble
CAROLINE Sat 8/6 10pm-11pm
The music of Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman (the Sherman Brothers) takes centre stage in this SupercaliJazzilisticexpialidocious musical adventure based on the award-winning Broadway musical and classic film.


Opera House Sat 8/6 3pm-4.30pm
A powerhouse collective of Canada’s leading jazz composers and improvisers, CODE Quartet features saxophonist Christine Jensen, Tui-Award winning trumpeter Lex French, bassist Adrian Vedady and drummer Jim Doxas. Together they create a soundscape that is diverse and refined, providing an exciting and engaging listening experience. CODE Quartet will premiere new Wellington Jazz Festival commissions from New Zealand composers Jasmine Lovell-Smith and Lex French - inspired by the themes of homecoming and loss and the works of James K. Baxter and Gordon Walters.

Hollie Smith Acoustic
Thistle Inn, Sat 8/6, 8pm-10pm
Hollie Smith is one of New Zealand's most predominant & iconic musicians. After working with numerous bands including Trinity Roots, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Detroit dance legend Recloose, she was approached by NZ songwriting royalty Don McGlashan to perform on a movie soundtrack single Bathe in The River that topped the New Zealand singles charts and became one of the biggest and iconic singles in New Zealand history. Join us for a very intimate evening with the one and only Hollie Smith!

Jazz Kōrero: Talking about Jazz and New Zealand Identity
Third Eye, Sun 9/6 1pm-2.30pm FREE
An exciting roundtable event debating national identity and jazz
National identities as attached to music have a long history of debate, but what purpose do they serve today in the 21st century outside of institutional demands for national identity? At this roundtable event hosted by the Tuatara Third Eye, join eminent New Zealand jazz historian Dr. Aleisha Ward and New Zealand School of Music’s Dr. Dave Wilson and a panel of scholars and musicians, including Lisa Tomlins, Jasmine Lovell-Smith, Dr. Nick Tipping and Ron Samsom for a lively discussion about the definitions and merits of the New Zealand identity in jazz.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force Jazz Orchestra
Soundings Theatre, Te Papa Sat 8/6 midday -1pm and 1.30pm-2.30pm FREE
Big rhythm, golden classics and home-grown originals - The Royal New Zealand Air Force Jazz Orchestra has been swinging for dear life since the actual big band era. In 1937, from the inception of the Royal New Zealand Air Force Band, the Jazz Orchestra has been an integral part of the unit. Featuring the likes of Michael Taylor, Ben Hunt, Oscar Laven, Andre Paris, Leonardo Coghini and Darren Mathiassen to name a few – it is from this immense pool of talent that the Jazz Orchestra is able to deliver an authentic Big Band experience; succinct ensemble and burning solos. As well as drawing inspiration from the likes of Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller and Thad Jones; we’ll also feature a number of works from members of the band.

Jonny Marks and Perpetual Blossom
Pyramid Club, Fri 7/6 8pm-10pm
Jonny Marks is well known to audiences through his performances with All Seeing Hand and other groups. Jonny studied traditional Mongolian throat singing in Inner Mongolia and uses his unique vocal abilities in this ensemble of multiple voices and instruments.

The Little Blast Orchestra
Meow, Sun 9/67pm-8pm
The Little Blast Orchestra is a 7-piece early jazz/swing ensemble from Wellington and they play an enticing mix of jazz tunes from the pre bop era. The music is arranged and lead by Blair Latham and Anton Wuts and showcases the talents of Nils Olsen (saxophone/clarinet), Dan Yeabsley (contra bass/tuba), Blair Latham (saxophone/clarinet), Oscar Laven (saxophone/clarinet), Anthony Donaldson (drums/percussion), Mat Enright (trumpet/vocals), Adrian Jensen (guitar).


Jobic le Masson (France)
Meow, Thu 6/6 8pm-9pm
France's leading contemporary jazz pianist sets fire to the Wellington scene.
Jobic Le Masson is one of France’s finest and most powerful contemporary jazz musicians. His piano playing is fierce and hard swinging, reminiscent of the grit and power of Andrew Hill or Thelonious Monk, but with the angular melodies of an Eric Dolphy converted to the piano. His album Hill on Enja Records was given a rating of 92/100 from and described as having “strong roots, tons of musicianship and a vision that goes far beyond.” Jobic’s concert at Meow alongside local luminaries Lucien Johnson, Patrick Bleakley and Cory Champion promises to be a highlight of this year’s festival.
Supported by Michael & Jenny Rains and the French Embassy of New Zealand.

Rafiq Bhatia (USA)
Meow, Thu 6/6 10pm-11pm
We welcome composer, producer, and guitarist, Rafiq Bhatia (Son Lux) and The Electroacoustic Trio, which include Ian Chang (Son Lux, Joan As Policewoman) and Jackson Hill (Xenia Rubinos). The New York Times deem Rafiq Bhatia “one of the most intriguing figures in music today." Bhatia is the first-generation American son of Muslim immigrant parents who trace their ancestry to India by way of East Africa. Early influences such as Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, and Madlib—as well as mentors and collaborators including Vijay Iyer and Billy Hart—prompted him to see music as a way to actively shape and represent his own identity, not limited by anyone else’s prescribed perspective.

Son de Cuba Quartet (Cuba/NZ)
Southern Cross Garden Bar Restaurant, Sun 9/6 4.30pm-9pm
Son de Cuba is who they are and what they play... The quartet's name literally means "They are from Cuba"... It also means "Son (style of Cuban music from the 50s popularised by the Buena Vista Social Club) from Cuba. We bring you both with this debut of the first ever Wellington-based 100% Cuban Quartet featuring Ernesto Zuniga (Trinidad de Cuba), Roberto Rodriguez Boffil (La Isla de la Juventud) and latest Cuban import Angel Manuel Guilarte Medina (Santiago de Cuba) on their Cuban tres and guitarras, and Rafael Ferrer Noel (La Habana) on his Cuban congas. Stick around for the After-Party where you will learn to dance and party like a Cuban with Rafael and the crew from CubanFusion.


The Music of Billie Holiday
Eleanora Fagan, better known as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz singer with a career spanning nearly thirty years. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and music partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz music.

The Music of Louis Armstrong
Featuring New Zealand jazz superstar Michael Taylor on trumpet - Louis Daniel Armstrong, nicknamed Satchmo, Satch, and Pops, was an American trumpeter, composer, vocalist and occasional actor who was one of the most influential figures in jazz. His career spanned five decades, from the 1920s to the 1960s, and different eras in the history of jazz.

The Music of Jack Teagarden
Weldon Leo "Jack" Teagarden was a jazz trombonist and singer. According to critic Scott Yannow of Allmusic, Teagarden was the preeminent American jazz trombone player before the bebop era of the 1940s and "one of the best jazz singers too."

The Music of Ben Webster
Benjamin Francis Webster was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, he is considered one of the three most important "swing tenors" along with Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young.

Wellington Jazz Festival 2019 – by the numbers

• 5 days
• 150 events
• 54 free events (36%)
• 90% New Zealand talent
• International artists from USA, Norway, Scotland, Australia, France, Canada and Cuba.
• 40 venues across the Wellington CBD
• More than 550 artists

© Scoop Media

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