Enjoy! - Jazz Fest 2016
The appetiser to the biggest Manawatu International Jazz Festival yet is about to be savoured.
The festival, which runs from May 27 to June 6, begins with the cafe scene, firstly in Feilding (May 27-29) and then in Palmerston North (June 3-6).
In all 43 free performances will be delivered in cafes, restaurants, bars and around The Square during the 11 days of the event.
Artistic director Rodger Fox says the festival has been organised so the whole community can be involved in the jazz scene.
‘‘For the price of a cup of coffee, local people can experience high-quality jazz and blues,’’ he says.
‘‘I’m hoping this appetiser will be the incentive to attend one or more of the major performances.’’
Rodger has themed this year’s jazz gala event ‘‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.’’
He has redeveloped some classic New Zealand pop songs into jazz standards and has engaged legendary artists Hollie Smith, Mark Williams, Debbie Harwood and Erna Ferry to perform the numbers in a new idiom.
Hollie has become New Zealand’s pre-eminent voice of soul and, as part of her set, she’ll sing a special jazz arrangement of her charttopping Bathe in the Water.
Mark is the lead vocalist with the reformed New Zealand/ Australian band Dragon and Rodger has arranged Mark’s single Yesterday Was Just the Beginning of my Life for big band treatment.
Debbie, who created the Kiwi phenomenon When The Cat’s Away, grew up with her father’s collection of Stan Kenton albums and will reprise his standards.
While Erna is an iconic jazz and blues artist, she’ll sing her versions of Sharon O’Neill’s Maxine and Dave Dobbin’s Slice of Heaven along with some classic blues.
Old, New, Borrowed Blue will be the feature concert of this year’s festival on Saturday, June 4, at the Regent on Broadway.
Supporting the gala event, Rodger has engaged a host of national and international artists to perform around the city but mostly at The Globe.
They include Karrin Allyson, an American vocalist/pianist, described by the New York Times as ‘‘a singer with a feline touch and impeccable intonation.’’ Karrin, who’ll perform at The Globe on Friday, June 3, will be supported by the incomparable Tom Warrington Trio.
The trio of Tom Warrrington (bass), Larry Koonse (guitar) and Joe La Barbera (drums) are incredible musicians in their own right who’ve played with top bands and vocalists such as Buddy Rich, Stan Getz, Woody Herman, Tony Bennett, Cleo Laine and Bill Evans.
Other major attractions are Linn Lorkin and The Jews Brothers with saxophonist Neill Duncan (Globe, June 2), Kevin Downing’s 101 Lab Band and Dave Boston Ensemble (Globe, June 1), The Big Band Blast (Globe, June 2), the Festival Round-Up Concert (Globe, June 5) and the Jazz Service with star pianist, Mark Wilson at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on Sunday, June 5.
Rodger says it’s appropriate to pay homage to the early roots of blues and soul as they came out of the churches in the deep south of the United States.
He says the extensive programme is designed to appeal not just for the local community but also to an audience from a wider area however ‘‘none of it could happen without Palmerston North City Council and local business community support.’’