The finest in jazz - Regional News | Connecting Wellington
Riki Gooch. | Issue 138

Riki Gooch.

The finest in jazz by Sam Hollis

Wellington Jazz Festival will take city dwellers to New Orleans from the 18th to the 22nd of November. Over 100 gigs will take place throughout the city’s streets, cafés, bars, and music venues.   

The annual festival has long given jazz-lovers the chance to hear Aotearoa’s finest along with performances by international stars like Herbie Hancock and Chris ‘Daddy’ Dave. This year’s festival will focus on local, including brand-new music with the Jazz Premiere Series 

The series commissioned new work from four successful applicants, who will each perform their original suites as part of the festival. Creative director Marnie Karmelita says the Jazz Premiere Series was birthed to place Kiwi music at the heart of this year’s COVID-afflicted festival.  

“These performances present some of the most innovative and boundary-pushing jazz being created in Aotearoa at this time, and we’re proud to celebrate the tremendous talent of these musicians.” 

The series will kick off with Blair Latham and The Noveltones on the 18th, who present a two-part suite that captures the highs and lows of the modern day with live sounds and visuals. Pianist Kevin Field takes us to New York and back on the 19th with three compositions, while Riki Gooch [pictured] performs an experimental new symphony with an 11-piece ensemble on the 20thFinally, award-winning Wellington composer Anita Schwabe presents an immersive performance inspired by her city on the 21st 

Taite Music Prize winning jazz and hip-hop project Avantdale Bowling Club, led by West Auckland rapper Tom Scott, will headline the festival with a sold-out performance at The Opera House on the 21st 

Find the full list of participating venues and gigs at

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« Issue 138, November 10, 2020