A midwinter jazz apocalypse will take over the Capital this June with over 100 gigs taking place in just five days. The annual Wellington Jazz Festival is set to roll into town from June 3 - 7 with festivities taking place across 31 venues. And whether you're looking for an intimate gig, jazz-flavoured food, a lesson in New Orleans' jazz history or jazz-inspired cinema, there really is something for everyone...as long as it has something to do with jazz.
This year's line-up is bursting with major international headliners as well as the best of the local scene.
In a New Zealand first, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra will perform a one-off show. The group is fronted by Grammy Award-winning vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater and trumpet player/group founder Irvin Mayfield. Their show has been described as "a journey through the spiritual home of jazz."
Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen and his quartet will also performing their first concert in New Zealand. Gustavsen is known for his laid-back style, a trait that has seen him achieved significant success and a loyal following. He will be joined by saxophonist Tore Brunborg, bassist Sigurd Hole and Jarle Vespestad on drums.
For something outside of the box, guitarist Reinier Baas has assembled an all-star ensemble which draws inspiration from the likes of: Brahms, Coltrane and the Arctic Monkeys, and award-winning saxophonist Celine Bonacina has been described as a cross between "a Parisian jazz club session and a WOMAD headliner," with her world music infused jazz.
Composer, bass player, producer and the so-called "the future of Australian Jazz" Ross McHenry will jump the pond to play with New Zealand's own Myele Manzanza, Adam Page, Jonathan Hunt, Dylan Marshall and Brenton Foster. And even closer to home, local jazz greats Michael Houston and Rodger Fox are set to come together to blend classical music with jazz. Together with their well-practise ensemble the pair will attempt the first movement of Prokofiev's famous Piano Concerto No. 3 and 18-piece Big Band by Grammy award-winning Bill Cunliffe.
Jazz-influenced food will be on offer at the Wellington Night Market on lower Cuba Street, and the Light House Cinema will screen jazz-inspired movies across the festival. For the first time, the Wellington-based NZ School of Music will also incorporate their annual school's programme into the Jazz festival, hosting jazz students from around the country for master classes, workshops and the Jazz Jazz Jazz Showcase.
See the full programme via the festival's website.