Jazz gala borrows some blue
Big band leader Rodger Fox, is taking the old English custom of ‘‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’’ quite literally.
The saying provides inspiration for a unique jazz gala concert on June 4, 2016 during the Manawatu International Jazz & Blues Festival, with a programme that fuses jazz, blues and pop.
A recent triumph has been Rodger’s concert series with New Zealand pianist, Michael Houstoun which fused classical and jazz.
Now he is recasting some classic New Zealand pop songs as jazz standards for next year’s Jazz Gala concert, and has engaged three top artists to perform the newly arranged numbers.
Mark Williams, now lead vocalist for the reformed New Zealand/Australian band Dragon, burst onto the New Zealand music scene in 1975 with hit single Yesterday Was Just The Beginning Of My Life.
Rodger is rearranging the song for big band while giving a Latin salsa treatment to Dragon’s April Sun In Cuba for Mark to perform.
Debbie Harwood created Kiwi group When The Cat’s Away before launching her own solo career.
Growing up with her father’s collection of Stan Kenton albums, Debbie also has fond memories of sultry June Christy standards. For the Jazz Gala, the singer will also cover one of her original compositions.
Iconic jazz and blues artist Erna Ferry will be performing her versions of Sharon O’Neill’s Maxine and Dave Dobbin’s Slice Of Heaven along with some classic blues.
Another artist is to be added to the line-up soon.
Rodger believes the Queen’s Birthday weekend Old, New, Borrowed and Blue Jazz Gala in the Regent On Broadway – a celebration to mark the Manawatu Jazz Club’s 50th anniversary – will have special appeal to those who recall the decades when bands such as Hello Sailor, Spilt Enz, Quincy Conserve and Dragon first strutted their stuff.
This recall aspect of the concert takes on added resonance with a portion of the proceeds being donated to Alzheimer’s Manawatu.
So, get ready now to croon in June – bookings for the Jazz Gala are open now through TicketDirect.
New Zealand Music Hall of Famer Mark Williams headlines next year’s Jazz Gala concert at Queen’s Birthday weekend.