JazzFest line-up revealed

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More than 200 performers and 50 bands will star at next month’s annual Queenstown JazzFest.

A stellar line-up of Kiwi and international talent is on the way for the October 16-26 event.

Diverse musical styles being showcased include blues, big band swing, R&B, Latin sounds, Dixie bands and jazz-influenced dance music.

Hot Brazilian quartet Tambolele, who get tunes out of plates and coffee mugs as well as a variety of regular instruments, will perform with percussionist countryman Bruno Buarque.

Coming from the UK is the Neil Cowley Trio, fronted by the acclaimed pianist/composer who won Best Album at the 2007 BBC Jazz Awards.

New Zealand’s dance-floor favourites Tahuna Breaks and Batucada Sound Machine are on the programme too, along with jazz maestro Rodger Fox and his 18-piece big band plus veteran entertainer Ray Woolf.

Another Kiwi with big raps is vocalist Caitlin Smith, who’s been compared with music greats Carole King and Norah Jones.

Queenstown’s festival is unique in NZ because of its high percentage of non-paying events, JazzFest vice-chairman Peter Howe says.

Free venues will be supplemented this year by com­munity spotlight stages at places like the Village Green and Remarkables Park.

Indoor venues will again include local bars, restaurants ands hotels – but the Memorial Hall will be given a miss this time.

There’s also a big accent on involving local musos and artists, especially leading up to the final gigs during Labour Weekend.

Younger musicians will be looked after through nat­­­ional youth and emerging talent jazz competitions, for people aged 12 to 25.

Alongside this is a development programme comprising master classes, workshops and music forums.

Naming sponsor ASB Bank is also increasing its promotion for the event.

Queenstown Lakes District Council arts and events facilitator Jan Maxwell has joined existing festival trustees – chairman Luke Baldock, Nicola Lindsay and Howe, while long-time trust mem­­­bers Harvey Maguire and Trevor Tattersfield re­­cently resigned.