JAZZING UP THE CITY
Wangaratta’s annual festival, renowned for its jazz variety, has the welcome mat out for ever yone again this year.
THIS year’s Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues on October 28 to 30 will continue to serve up top Aussie and international artists covering all genres of music at various paid and free venues across the city.
Last year we saw the introduction of the family friendly King George Gardens open air stage, which was packed with people enjoying great music, food and wine.
This year, the King George Gardens precinct in the heart of the CBD will expand to offer even more festival fun, with the sounds of local favourites like Nicky Bomba and his band Bustamento, along with Blues Brothers 3676.
Horns of Leroy will be a hoot - inspired by the flavours of New Orleans to Fitzroy - this punked-out seven piece raucous street band take brass band music to a whole new level.
Then get ready for the Pierce Brothers, the twin brother multi- instrumentalists are on a meteoric rise in the international music scene, having taken their music from busking on the streets of Melbourne to the world’s biggest festivals.
Their irresistible energy and world-class live show has generated a word of mouth buzz not seen for some time.
This year’s community program will bring colour and culture to Wangaratta’s streets with window art, a buskers boulevard and live art events.
Musically there are changes too, when each year an exciting and carefully curated mix of performers venture to Wangaratta to perform at the internationally renowned festival.
Amid this ever changing canvas, there is one constant for the festival - the quality of the music.
Whether you love the live festival music of King George Gardens, serious jazz, rocking blues, or all three; artistic directors Adrian Jackson and Scott Solimo have again prepared a program of performances to enthral.
This year’s National Jazz Award instrument is the saxophone and fittingly, among the jazz highlights, renowned US tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana will be performing with her Crash Trio and guests.
Festival regular and Australian musical icon, James Morrison, will bring some class to the festival, literally.
The James Morrison Jazz Academy joins James and the students were a real standout at last year’s event for their sheer talent, energy and enthusiasm.
Speaking of emerging talent, a band of former National Jazz Awards winners will perform including last year’s winner Sam Anning.
At the blues marquee in Apex Park, JJ Thames will warm things up, mixing R&B, funk, Motown and soul, with strong blues and gospel vocals, and tossing in ska and reggae rhythms for occasional seasoning. Then headliners The Bamboos will blow the roof off. Their ridiculously enjoyable live shows have seen them perform at pretty much every major festival in the country, including Byron Bay Blues & Roots Festival.
So expect a few changes this year but enjoy the familiar fun of the great festival.
Full program details are available at www.wangarattajazz.com.au, and locals can take advantage of discounted festival passes by entering the code RCOW 367678.
FESTIVAL FUN / Patrons will be able to again enjoy free live music at the Faithfull Street community stage, in the city’s river precinct, as part of this year’s Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues.
FAVOURITE RETURNING / Renowned Australian jazz musician James Morrison will be among this year’s hundreds of entertainers at the festival.