Jazz Gala show sure to wow

The Tribune (NZ) - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

April Sun in Cuba is just one of those songs. The 1977 an­them with its dis­tinc­tive rhythm line and sung by Dragon vo­cal­ist Marc Hunter is a shoo-in for the great Kiwi song­book.

Sadly Marc is no longer with us, but Dragon still is, with 70s pop sen­sa­tion Mark Wil­liams fill­ing the lead vo­cals role since 2006.

On Saturday night in the Re­gent on Broad­way, Mark will per­form April Sun as it has never been heard be­fore – as a jazz stan­dard.

The Jazz and Blues Fes­ti­val Gala Con­cert ar­range­ment is cour­tesy of Rodger Fox, in­spired by the old wed­ding cus­tom of ‘‘some­thing old, some­thing new, some­thing bor­rowed, some­thing blue’’. This ‘mar­riage’ of pop, rock, blues, soul and jazz will be ac­com­pa­nied by Rodger’s Big Band.

‘‘Rodger has done some amaz­ing ar­range­ments that I have to get my head around,’’ Mark con­fesses. ‘‘ They are fab­u­lous. I have never worked with a big band, and that is some­thing I am look­ing for­ward to get­ting my teeth into. It’s very ex­cit­ing.’’

Join­ing Mark is chart top­ping soul singer Hollie Smith who says the con­cert will be some­thing of a re­turn to her roots.

‘‘Es­sen­tially I grew up play­ing jazz and I did a lot of big band stuff through high school, ac­tu­ally I’m do­ing a song that I used to do with my band back in that time,’’ Hollie says. ‘‘I’m also do­ing one of my favourite jazz tracks and a spe­cial lit­tle ren­di­tion of Bathe In The River."

Join­ing Mark, Hollie and Rodger will be Deb­bie Har­wood from When The Cat’s Away and Manawatu’s own Erna Ferry, with Saturday’s Jazz Gala Con­cert shap­ing up to be a fes­ti­val high­light.

To one gen­er­a­tion he was the face of New Zealand pop – to an­other, the face of iconic Kiwi rock band Dragon. Now Mark Wil­liams is in town to sing jazz.

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