Wellington Jazz Festival features overseas stars

Alda Rzende

The Wellington Jazz Festival

Various wellington venues

June 5 – 8

Top international and home-grown jazz names will join US legends Chick Corea and Gary Burton in the line-up of the 2014 Wellington Jazz Festival this June.

The Wellington Jazz Festival’s artistic director, Shelagh Magadza, describes the programme as “an exciting array of international and local performers, who will warm up the capital with their hot tunes this winter. From the iconic Opera House, to bars and venues across the city, and spilling out onto the streets, Wellington will be alive with music. We celebrate jazz in its broadest form – from soul to tango, classic jazz to electronica – all arts lovers will find a favourite in the mix.”

The biggest drawcards  this year are three of the leading lights in American jazz today. Tenor saxophone star Joshua Redman opens the festival on Thursday, June 5 with his Quartet and Multi-Grammy Award-winners Chick Corea and Gary Burton perform together for the first time in New Zealand on Friday 6 June at the Michael Fowler Centre. The Argentinaian, Pablo Ziegler, is onsidered the finest tango musician of his generation. The Grammy Award-winning pianist was a collaborator of the great Astor Piazzolla, famous for bringing tango out of the dance halls and into the concert halls. Now in a class of his own, Ziegler has thrust tango further into the spotlight with his inimitable brew of tango steeped in improvisational American jazz. He is joined in this special performance by the Bravo Ensemble, featuring players from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Wellington.

A household name in her native Brazil, vocalist Alda Rezende has made her home in New Zealand’s jazz-loving capital. She has collaborated with many Kiwi jazz players including Jonathan Crayford, and is the host of Meow’s popular Latin Club. Ms Rezende will perform her swinging tribute to one of Brazil’s most beloved songwriters, Tom Jobim. Best known for his enduring hit, Girl from Ipanema, the audience can be sure to discover more gems from Jobim’s songbook at this sultry Sunday afternoon concert.

The acoustic trio Dawn of Midi, whose record Dysnomia was listed among the Best Albums of 2013 in The New Yorker, NPR and BBC. Their concerts have been compared to a high-wire act and a feat of endurance. As red-blooded and rhythmic as a seamlessly mixed DJ set, see Dysnomia performed in its entirety in this extraordinary live show. With influences from Aphex Twin to The Police, this band of bassist, pianist and percussionist draws on techniques more comparable to Cage than Mingus, creating “an unplugged translation of contemporary electronica” (Time Out NY).

The four-time Grammy Award winner guitarist Larry Carlton who one of the most influential and prolific guitarists in the industry will be performing with his quartet. Mr Carlton has collaborated with many of contemporary music’s greatest artists including Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Carole King and Billy Joel. A

Audiences can experience New Zealand soul at its best when Bella Kalolo takes the stage with her all-star band, The Soul Symphony. While her voice is often compared to American divas like Aretha Franklin and Sharon Jones, this New Zealand soul sister has established her own distinctive style. She has performed with a huge array of artists, from Fat Freddy’s Drop to Dave Dobbyn, and recently shared the stage with her idol Chaka Khan at the Sydney Festival.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the festival is an opportunity for music lovers to expand their musical horizons and enjoy the cultural treats Wellington has to offer: “The Wellington Jazz Festival will bring a real buzz to the city this winter. Our compact, cosmopolitan capital is ideal to host the extraordinary skills of international jazz greats alongside the exceptional musical talent we have right here in Wellington. Hundreds of free performances will attract Wellingtonians and visitors alike to the Capital. It will also showcase local stars like Bella Kalolo, Alda Rezende and Rodger Fox who performs with his Big Band, and provide a welcome mid-winter boost for the many bars, restaurants and cafes that Wellington is famous for,” she said.

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