Jazz explosion in Festival form

Published: Mon 9 Oct 2006 11:36 AM
Embargoed press release until 5th October
Jazz explosion in Festival form
Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the annual, ten day Wellington International Jazz Festival, which opens on Thursday 2 November, brings outstanding
international acts to the capital and draws from a buzzing musical hive of local talent.
This year’s international acts include: 71-year-old Billy Boy Arnold, the living legend who basically created the now famed Chicago Blues sound with Bo Diddley. He comes to Wellington direct from Australia’s Wangaratta Festival of Jazz to perform for one night only his unforgettable personal style – playing harmonica and singing in a fusion of Delta Blues and electric amplification.
Leading US jazz pianist Geri Allen, who has worked with some of the biggest names in jazz including Ornette Coleman, Betty Carter and Charles Lloyd to name a few, will perform in association with the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz, in a trio with Darryl Hall (bass) and Mark Johnson (drums).
Opening the Festival is one of Europe’s leading horn players and the 2003 Festival favourite Eric Boeren who returns with his new trio Trio-Boeren-deJoode-Vatcher. Eric draws on the entire history of jazz trumpet from Cootie Williams to Miles Davis to Don Cherry. On closing night Filipino-American percussionist and composer Susie Ibarra will perform genre-defying music with Cuban percussionist Roberto Rodrigeuz (formerly of Miami Sound Machine). Susie and Roberto have collaborated and performed individually with such luminaries as Thurston Moore, John Zorn, Dr. L Subramaniam, Yo La Tengo, Sean Lennon and Rufus Wainwright.
“This year’s programme also presents a huge number of local artists and celebrates an abundance of musical talent and the community from which it stems” says Jeff Henderson, Artistic Director.
Described as our most graceful jazz vocalist and acclaimed Te Reo singer, Whirimako Black will perform with her band a selection of classics from her stunning new and highly praised jazz album (and tribute to her late father) Soul Sessions as well as songs from her three albums in Te Reo. Let her wrap you in her velvety voice and heartfelt musical embrace.
One of New Zealand’s most in-demand female vocalists, the gorgeous Lisa Tomlins who has performed with a plethora of high-profile bands including Fat Freddy's Drop, Rhombus and Ebb, will now take centre stage performing a stunningly varied programme including bossas, boogaloos and ballads with Twinset as her backing band.
Wellington’s most exciting Brazilian import Alda Rezende is a stunning singer who has been performing for 15 years throughout Brazil. She came to New Zealand two years ago and recently travelled back to Brazil with Kiwi musicians Barnaby Weir, Hollie Smith and Recloose amongst others, to do an exchange project which was recorded by Loop. Alda will team up with NZ guitarist Steve Rangihuna, a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Jazz (he studied under Mike Nock) and has spent the last 20 years abroad playing jazz guitar. Together they present a set of intoxicating Brazilian compositions for voice and guitar.
No Jazz festival would be quite the same without a musical extravaganza created by the legendary Anthony Donaldson (also of the 1980’s band The Six Volts) and his Village Idiots. Presenting his sixth festival concert, Anthony draws together a huge cast of talent including David Long, Neil Duncan, Steve Roche and Alphabethead, to name a few.
Other New Zealand artists performing at the Festival include: William Yu and Tanya Li, outstanding musicians who play traditional Chinese Dulcimer and Erhu (bowed string instruments). Through their beautiful and serene music they tell haunting stories of their homeland. Greg Malcolm who simultaneously plays multiple guitars in a performance of Steve Lacy (US jazz legend known as the foremost interpreter of Thelonius Monk) tunes. And Neil Duncan’s (The Six Volts) Hellington, a Vaudelvillian jazz trio, who disarrange and lovingly disrupt their favourite Duke Ellington pieces.
There is also a late night (11pm) series which includes performances from: The Eggs, Wellington’s best in show party band, a nine piece supergroup made up member of Fat Freddy’s Drop, Rhombus, Twinset, and Scribes of Ra; The Aperhama Brothers featuring Ruia, Ranea and Manny whose music is rich and vibrant and born of the spiritual teachings of the Maori prophet Tahu Potiki Wiremu Ratana. Warren Maxwell’s Little Bushman and wild Balkan party band Niko Ne Zna featuring members of local bands Food, Zirkus and the Black Seeds; and of course the closing night party special of percussionists Susie Ibaarra, Roberto Rodriguez and Wellington’s Jeff Henderson playing orchestral trance pieces for electronics, woodwinds, brass, strings, percussion and vocals.
There’s also free family entertainment around the city. Be sure not to miss The Wellington Waterfront Jazz in the Park at Frank Kitts Park which rounds off the Festival on Saturday 11 November. This is a great way to sample some of the local and international acts including: British lapsteel guitar musical adventurist Mike Cooper; Neil Duncan’s Hellington; and spectacular performances from both The NZ Dominion Centenary Concert Band – a concert band and parade unit presenting ceremonial brass music as well as novelty pieces (film themes); and The New Pacific Music Ensemble who fuse Pacific drum beats with jazz. Both of these bands also perform at the Festival’s riotous closing night party. Other free entertainment includes The NZ Community Trust Lunchtime Series concerts which take place in the Lambton Quarter at 12.30pm from the 1 – 10 November.
The Festival’s main venue is the new The Frontroom (formerly, pre-renovation - the James Cabaret). There’s plenty of red velvet and jazzy vibe to make you feel like you’ve stepped into a jazz club of a previous era.
The ongoing debate of what defines jazz will battled out in the underground Happy Bar in the SpringloadHappyHappyJazzyJazz series which Jeff Henderson describes as a “totally fresh interpretation of Jazz”. Ranging from jazz stalwarts such as Paul Dyne and Rodger Fox through to Simon O’Rourke’s improv session, by way of Shaken Not Stirred’s cocktail Lounge, the wild musico-fascists Axle of Evis and the groove laden psychedelia of Spartacus R. All tickets to this series cost $10. Door sales only.
The Festival’s main programme features a schedule of over 48 acts ranging in style from the ever charming jazz standards to free jazz to funky dance grooves. Programmes are available from libraries, information centers, cafes and all the usual outlets and online Tickets can be purchased from 5th October from Ticketmaster,
Wellington International Jazz Festival: Thursday 2 – Saturday 11 November 2006
(no evening performances on Monday 6)

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