Queenstown JazzFest Oct 17-26


Jazz aplenty and all that samba

Queenstown’s large Brazilian community is expected to be out in force to party at JazzFest.

A host of Latin-styled acts will appear throughout the 10-day bash – including samba-land favourites Tambolele.
Wellington-based guitarist Julie Bevan helped bring the red-hot rhythm kings to New Zealand – and reckons they’ll be a huge hit with their Queenstown-based countryfolk.

“If there is one group that the Brazilians will know well, it’s Tambolele,” says Bevan, who is also musical director for the show Afro Sambas of Baden Powell. “There should be a good turnout to see them both for their gig and also a workshop they’re hosting.”

She adds: “Everyone hopes Queenstown’s South Americans will support other acts as well and bring a great party atmosphere to JazzFest.”

As well as Tambolele – who play at Earnslaw Park on October 24 – and the Afro Sambas, there are other Latin-flavoured performances from Batucada Sound Machine, Descarga Hunter and Mybro.

Let’s ear it for school’s cool band


Wakatipu High’s Best Served Chilled band is on to a winning formula for creating jazz music.

The popular group – which plays on Saturday at the opening of JazzFest – has a constantly-evolving sound as students come and go, bringing with them different musical instruments.

“This year we’ve got saxophones, a couple of trumpets coming through which we haven’t had before, plus some good vocalists,” Wakatipu High’s head of music Alison Price says.

“We don’t really play necessarily formal jazz all the time. We play a lot of fusion stuff, more relaxed things – although these days we’re doing quite a good mix.”

This year, Best Served Chilled has 14 keen musos aged between 14-17.

Another key to success is the students’ ability to play by ear – something that’s pushed by Price.
“We’re not a big school band so we don’t have to read off music.

“I try to encourage them to be able to play without music because if they do progress – if they want to be able to play in bars later – they have to be able to have the confidence to do it without music.

“It’s improvising – that’s what jazz is all about,” she says.

The band is looking forward to being part of the opening concert – also featuring renowned Kiwi band the Frank Gibson Quartet – on the Village Green from noon-3pm.

They’ll also be entering next weekend’s 2009 Youth Jazz Awards before heading to a secondary schools’ jazz competition in Invercargill on October 28 – the band’s won this event for the last five years.

-Celia Williams

Fest full of freebies

This year’s JazzFest is the most punter-friendly yet – 90 per cent of gigs are free at the district’s bars, clubs and cafes, with the action starting at noon on Saturday.

Free concerts are at the Village Green daily, apart from Tuesday. There are also community spotlight stages set up for performances at Earnslaw Park, Remarkables Park and Arrowtown on Labour Weekend.