Getting jazzed in the open air

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Queenstown’s Village Green will be transformed into an open-air cinema for this year’s Jazz Festival. 

Dubbed ‘Screen on the Green’, the three-day extravaganza of music movies will be staged from October 20-22. 

Linked with the Queenstown Film Society, it’ll feature a selection of jazz documentaries shown on a large screen. 

It’s part of a series of free events where people are encouraged to come along with a blanket to sit and enjoy the experience or simply drift in and out of the performance as they pass by. 

“Organisers have worked hard over the years to embrace all types of jazz and keep JazzFest’s appeal as wide open as possible,” festival spokesman Luke Baldock says. 

“We can now broaden that even further, including aspects that aren’t necessarily rooted solely in jazz performance. 

“Screen on the Green will be a fantastic addition to the festival and will no doubt capture the attention of those mingling about town.” 

Baldock adds: “JazzFest has always offered plenty of variety in the way of music. 

“We are thrilled to branch out into other areas of film and art as part of this year’s programme of events.”

 Screenings on the Green

What: A Jazz Film (1993)
When: Thursday, October 20 at 9pm
Duration: 50 minutes 

“Jazz is an attitude … how you look at yourself, how you look at the world.” So argues jazz pianist Mike Nock, who is the subject of this rich and moody documentary. The Ngaruawahia-raised muso first went on the road in his teens, and by 18 had left New Zealand for a long career in Sydney, London and New York. Director Geoffrey Cawthorn and his film crew travel with Nock in small-town NZ and big city NYC, capturing memories of childhood, touring and inspiration. Also included are some beautifully-lit performances by Nock and his cohorts. 

What: Calle 54 (2000)
When: Friday, October 21 at 9pm
Duration: 105 mins 

Calle 54 is a documentary film about Latin jazz by Spanish director Fernando Trueba. With only minimal introductory voiceovers, it consists of studio performances by a wide array of Latin jazz musicians. Artists featured include Chucho Valdés, Bebo Valdés, Eliane Elias, Gato Barbieri, Tito Puente, Paquito D’Rivera, Chano Domínguez, Jerry Gonzalez and Michel Camilo. The film takes its name from Sony Music Studios, where much of the film was shot, which are located on 54th Street in New York. 

What: Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1960)
When: Saturday, October 22 at 9pm
Duration: 85 mins 

A documentary set at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island, and filmed and directed by noted commercial and fashion photographer Bert Stern and director Aram Avakian, who also edited the movie. The Columbia Records jazz producer, George Avakian, was the musical director of the Newport Jazz Festival at the time. It features performances by Jimmy Giuffre, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Stitt, Anita O’Day, Dinah Washington, Gerry Mulligan, Chuck Berry, Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden and others.