Jazz ju­bilee to jam and jive

The Tribune (NZ) - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - RICHARD MAYS

Fifty years of the Manawatu Jazz Club is be­ing cel­e­brated over Labour Week­end with get-to­geth­ers, jam ses­sions and a free con­cert.

Club pres­i­dent David Edge said the 50th was a big event for the club, with many play­ers there at the be­gin­ning still ac­tive mem­bers.

‘‘This is a free event and we hope that peo­ple who have been as­so­ci­ated with the club over the past half cen­tury in bands or the au­di­ence... or any­one with a jazz in­ter­est, will come along.’’

The club be­gan at the New­bury Hall on April 28, 1966, as the the Manawatu Mu­si­cians and En­ter­tain­ers Club.

Forty peo­ple turned up to the first club day in June to be en­ter­tained by the Peter Wood Quin­tet, sev­eral other mu­si­cians, and a con­jur­ing act.

The club op­er­ated out of a sched­uled­for-de­mo­li­tion build­ing in Taonui St, and formed a 15-piece swing band.

In­spired by the ac­claim ac­corded the Peter Wood Quin­tet at the 1967 Tau­ranga Jazz Fes­ti­val, a Manawatu fes­ti­val was or­gan­ised for Labour Week­end 1968.

The club’s big band, was joined by two oth­ers, and 11 jazz com­bos.

‘‘Eight of the orig­i­nal mu­si­cians in that fes­ti­val are still ac­tively play­ing in Palmer­ston North, and at least five oth­ers are at other clubs around the coun­try.’’

The club changed its name to the Manawatu Jazz Club in 1976, and New Zealand’s sec­ond old­est jazz fes­ti­val moved to Queen’s Birth­day Week­end.

‘‘In 2000, with the in­spi­ra­tion of Rodger Fox, the for­mat was changed to in­cor­po­rate in­ter­na­tional jazz and blues artists, a high school jazz com­pe­ti­tion, and a free cafe´ scene around Palmer­ston North and Feild­ing in a nine-day cel­e­bra­tion of jazz. The 2017 fes­ti­val will be the 50th.’’

The Labour Week­end re­union starts with a ca­sual gath­er­ing and jam ses­sion at 12pm on Satur­day at The Sav­age Club Hall in Camp­bell St – drums, pi­ano and amps will be pro­vided.

The con­cert is on Sun­day at 2pm in the Clover­lea Tav­ern with the MJC Big Swing Band, James Tait Jamieson & friends, BopCats, Mac At­tack, Rose City Seven and oth­ers.

There’ll also be 400 pho­to­graphs on dis­play from City Li­brary’s Her­itage Project.

‘‘It’s free, and all are welcome,’’ Edge said.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Manawatu Mu­si­cians and En­ter­tain­ers Club Big Band in the club’s first jazz fes­ti­val in the Opera House on Labour Week­end 1968.

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