More than 40 bands and 200 musicians will present 50 hours of music during the 31st Newcastle Jazz Festival.
The festival runs both days this weekend at Wests Leagues Club and Bowling Club. It features a wide choice of jazz styles and combinations from Adam Miller’s solo jazz guitar to jazz orchestras and big bands, performing on four stage areas.
A highlight will be star of musicals such as Les Misérables, Miss Saigon, Hair and We will Rock You, Rebecca Mendoza, joining clarinet and saxophonist Andy Firth, Melbourne pianist Joe Ruberto, drummer Dean Cooper and bassist Ashley Turner to present ‘The Goodman Holiday Session’ featuring the music of Benny Goodman and Billie Holiday on Saturday evening.
The Jazz Gospel, held on Sunday morning, is one of the festival’s most popular sessions. It will feature a seven-piece jazz band led by Geoff Power with one of the best jazz Gospel singers in the country, former Novocastrian Lee Gunness. The Gospel session will conclude with a colourful New Orleans style umbrella parade.
Those who fancy boogie-woogie, stride and a whole mess of blues will enjoy the music of Melbourne’s Jules Boult and the Redeemers. Festival first timers Queen Porter Stomp will uphold the traditions of New Orleans finest music and present a wicked mix of ukulele, lush vocals, banjo and horns.
Andrew Nolte and his nine-piece orchestra, featuring some of Melbourne’s best musicians will keep dancers happy. The group play music from the 1920s and 30s using vintage instruments and microphone and, a megaphone. Geoff Power’s eleven-piece Great Gatsby Jazz orchestra will also appeal to dancers.
Jazz Violin is always popular and this year’s festival includes Chasing the Moon, a six-piece band led by violinist and vocalist Kathy Bluff. On Friday evening the ever-popular George Washingmachine will lead a quintet with emerging young vocalist, Kate Wadey. Brilliant violinist Marcus Holden will play with Jug-a-Lug String Band and also with Sancha and The Blue Gypsies on Saturday, featuring vocalist Sancha Prowse.
Trad Jazz lovers will enjoy a group of local musicians led by Jack Mclaughlin, who have returned from playing in New Orleans to play a set on Saturday morning. Jazz legend, Brett Iggulden, will lead his ‘Emotional Baggage Handlers’ on Saturday afternoon. Other favourites include The Licorice Allsorts, Eric Gibbons New Orleans Band and Bob Henderson’s Trad Jazz Band. Back by popular demand are the Zulu Kings and Queens.
A full weekend festival pass costs just $120. Session passes range from $30 to $45. Passes are available at the door, at newcastlejazz.com.au or call 49 637237 or 49 296315.