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Spring Jazz Celebration

August 2, 2022 August 2022 No Comments

After a couple of tricky years, including calling off the last festival with just two weeks to go, Jazz in Martinborough (JiM) is back, albeit in a new form.“We’re calling it a Spring Jazz Celebration,” says JiM producer Ted Preston.

The festival has suffered the ravages of covid including the loss of many key personnel.  “We’re a hardy bunch of remainders who, with the help and support of the community, have rallied around to produce two jazz concerts on our traditional first weekend in September,” adds Ted.

The Spring Jazz Celebration includes a return to the iconic Martinborough Town Hall at the Waihenga Centre for the two concerts.  “On the Friday night we will have Andrew London returning to Martinborough with April Phillips and The Retro Pack playing the Great American songbook,” says music director Lee Quayle.  “And I’m very pleased to say we have managed to bring back Duncan Haynes, after having so much interest in his concert last year – before it was sadly cancelled.”  

Here’s how Duncan describes his The Cool Jazz /West Coast Session: “The focus is on the cooler sound that evolved in the late 1940s as a counter-movement to the adrenalin rush of bebop. It continued through the 1950s propelled by superstars of the time: Dave Brubeck, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Shorty Rogers, Miles Davis, Lennie Tristano, Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan.”

Led by award-winning international pianist Duncan Haynes, the band is packed with some of Aotearoa’s finest jazz musicians & Tui award-winners: Umar Zakaria (bass), Jake Baxendale (tenor sax), Michael Costello (trumpet) and Shaun Anderson (drums).

On the Friday night we’ll start the weekend off with songs from the Great American Songbook.  As Andrew describes it: “The Retro Pack répertoire features ‘Great American Songbook’ standards popularised by the greatest singers of the 20th Century – Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Darin, Peggie Lee and Nat King Cole among them. Songs include ‘Blue Skies’, ‘Cry Me a River’, ’Summertime’, ‘Mack The Knife’ and ‘Night and Day’.”

Alongside celebrated singer, actress, playwright and movie-maker April Phillips, the Retro Pack features Kapiti entertainers Andrew and Kirsten London (guitar and bass respectively), vocalist and saxophonist James Tait-Jamieson, and drummer Lance Philip.

“We all feel these songs have been enormously influential, not only in our own musical histories, but in the development of popular music over the last century” says April. “They’re also just wonderful tunes to play and we inevitably get quite carried away on the night – they’re great vehicles for improvisation and we seldom do them quite the same way twice.”

“While we’re keeping it small, our partner venues may still be keen to get involved with their own gigs. So you’ll have to keep an eye out on our Facebook page or our website,” adds Lee. “Tickets will be on sale soon.

Spring Jazz Celebration: Friday 2 and Saturday 3 September 2022.

The Retro Pack Plays the Great American Songbook: Friday 2 September, 7.30pm, Martinborough Town Hall.

Duncan Haynes: The Cool Jazz/West Coast Sessions: Saturday 3 September, 7.30pm Martinborough Town Hall.

Photo with 

Highlight: The Cool Jazz /West Coast Session: focus is on the cooler sound that evolved in the late 1940s propelled by superstar of the time: Dave Brubeck.

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