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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The annual Wellington Jazz Festival is the highlight of Aotearoa’s mid-winter music calendar, featuring some of the finest musicians from across New Zealand and around the globe.
Jazz aficionados and intrepid newcomers can explore more than 100 gigs across the city, with five days of serious play bringing the sounds and spirit of jazz to the capital’s streets, cafes, bars and live music venues.

Jazz Legend Herbie Hancock headlines this year’s programme.  Winner of 14 Grammy Awards during his illustrious career, Hancock has had an unparalleled influence on acoustic and electronic jazz and R&B for more than five decades.
The author of modern day standards such as Cantaloupe Island, Chameleon and Rockit, Hancock's appeal transcends genres while maintaining an unmistakable style.
From his early beginnings with the Miles Davis Quintet, to collaborations with the likes of Wayne Shorter, Stevie Wonder and and Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock is equally at home performing with contemporary artists including Annie Lennox, Christina Aguilera, Paul Simon, Pink and more recently with Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat and Kamasi Washington.  In 2019, the 79-year-old maestro remains at the forefront of world culture, technology, business and music.

The Festival also features the explosive funk ensemble Ghost Note.  Headed by Snarky Puppy’s multi-Grammy Award-winning percussion duo of Robert ‘Sput’ Searight and Nate Werth, this dynamic ensemble is pushing funk music into the future, building on the uplifting pioneering foundations laid out by the likes of James Brown and Sly & The Family Stone, and infusing their fresh take with tastes of afrobeat, hip-hop, psychedelia, world folklore and more.  


Another visitor will be ground breaking trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire.  Motivated by the spiritual and practical value of art, Ambrose Akinmusire aspires to create richly textured emotional landscapes that tell stories of the community, record the time, and change the standard.
On a perpetual quest for new paradigms, Ambrose masterfully weaves inspiration from other genres, art and life in general, into compositions that are as poetic and graceful as they are bold and unflinching. His music is an active response to societal divides, the way our politics hold us emotionally hostage, and the ever-growing list of black lives ended by structural racism.
A powerful performance of genre-defying music, that sits within the centre and at the periphery of jazz, while intersecting the circles of hip-hop and classical music.

And then there's the exquisite vocals of Alicia Olatuja.  Praised by the New York Times as ‘a singer with a strong and luscious tone and an amiably regal presence on stage’, Alicia Olatuja has been astounding audiences with her exquisite vocals, artistic versatility and captivating demeanor.
Her critically-acclaimed album Intuition: Songs from the Minds of Women, celebrates the achievements of esteemed female composers including Brenda Russell, Sade, Tracy Chapman, Kate Bush, Angela Bofill, Joni Mitchell and Linda Creed.  Olatuja first gained international attention as the featured soloist with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration.
She recorded her first solo album, Timeless in 2014 and has since performed at Newport, Monterey and Montreal Jazz Festivals, among others.
Further highlights include a collaboration between composers Lex French and Christine Jensen, along with perennial favourite the Rodger Fox Big Band spearhead the distinct sounds of New Zealand jazz. The full programme is available now at: https://www.jazzfestival.nz

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