En­joy! - Jazz Fest 2016

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.’’

Hol­lie Smith

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