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Wellington Jazz Festival

May 24, 2018  ·  4 min read

Wellington is the culture capital of New Zealand, offering experiences to surprise and delight for every creative. We’re starting the Winter strong with the dulcet tones of Grammy award-winning artists in the mix with our very own local talent at Wellington Jazz Festival.

This annual event bought 30,000 Jazz newbies together with enthusiasts last year so we’re giving you a heads up on the high notes for 2018!

The Music

Christian McBride’s New Jawn

Featuring Josh Evans, Marcus Strickland and Nasheet Waits

Not once, twice or even three times, Christian McBride is a six-time Grammy Award-winning musician. How epic that Christian, as part of his new quartet, graces our Kiwi ears for the first time. The New York Times described the foursomes sound as “sturdy grooves”. From teen prodigy to jazz royalty who has reigned at the world’s hottest jazz spots for the last 30 years, it’s safe to say, this bassist and artist of the Newport Jazz Festival, alone or in numbers, means business.
He humbly describes himself as “just a bass player” on his Instagram bio but to name drop a few legends, he’s worked with James Brown, Sting and Carly Simons.

Jazz snobs will revel in a night of purely amazing jazz and beginners will be educated in the music form from the best of the bunch.

When and where: Wednesday 6th June, 8pm at The Opera House

Tuatara Open Late: The Jazz Edition

Featuring Nigel Patterson and Bella Kalolo and Band

We’re regulars at Tuatara Open Late, City Gallery; Wellington’s regular programme of after-dark art and fun on the first Thursday of every month. June sees this late-night happening get injected with a live jazz twist.

You’ve got Kiwi legend, Nigel Patterson, who hails from The Black Seeds and Fly My Pretties. He will perform on a spectacular instrument, Michael Parekōwhai’s extraordinary carved piano sculpture to soul sister, Bella Kalolo. This gal has some impressive contacts in her own address book, as she’s been handpicked to work with and support artists as diverse as Ciara, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Dave Dobbyn, Hollie Smith and soul legend Chaka Khan.

Drop in and out of the entertainment and take advantage of the option to take a tour of the gallery’s latest exhibition, ‘This Is New Zealand’. 

Art and music come together to make a sweet evening that gets QT Museum Wellington’s top pick.

When and where: Thursday 7th June, 5pm at The City Gallery

Friday Night Jazz at the Lobby Lounge
Featuring Prohibition Era cocktails

We always have live music in our Lobby Lounge every Friday, but we’re cranking it up with Christopher Yeabsley, one half of soul-jazz, hard-bop and burning swing duo, The Boogaloos, to ease into Winter the right way. There’s nothing like a bit of scatting or sax to kick off the weekend but sometimes Friday seems too far. Lucky for you, we’ve got your back and you don’t have to wait until the weekend because we’ll ease you into the smooth sounds of jazz, with some sweet drops on the menu from festival beginning to end.

Look forward to these tipples:
The Welly –  South Side
Island bay wild black fennel, The Source Gin, Lemon and Sugar
The Kiwi Sidecar – Apricot infused cognac, Rose Rabbit orange liqueur, Orange Marmalade and Lemon
The White Lady – 
The Source Gin, Rose Rabbit orange liqueur, Whites and Lemon
The Smoking Bees Knees – 
Chardonnay barrel-aged, Cardrona Gin, Manuka honey and lapsang souchong tea syrup, Ardbeg whisky rinse and Lemon

That is certainly a drinks list well-suited to our Hollywood glamour, Gatsby-esque public spaces.

When and where: Wednesday 6th – Sunday 10th June at The Lobby Lounge, QT Museum Wellington

Wellington is home to a big community of musicians, including the New Zealand School of Music and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. So there’s plenty more on the program so check out the full Festival lineup here.

We’ll leave you with some words from the legend that is Louis Armstrong … “Hot can be cool and cool can be hot and each can be both. But hot or cool man, Jazz is Jazz.”

words by chris lee

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