Jazz Gala show sure to wow
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.