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23rd Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues

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Paul Grabowsky and Bernie McGannWangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues announces its festival lineup today.

LIGHTHOUSE (UK) - NO TANGO QUARTET (GERMANY) - GREGORY PORTER (USA) - TRIO M (USA)
CYRILLE AIMEE (FRANCE/USA) - JON CLEARY (USA) - CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE (USA)
PAUL GRABOWSKY & BERNIE McGANN - VINCE JONES - MICHELLE NICOLLE - DALLAS FRASCA
NATIONAL JAZZ AWARDS & MORE

The 2012 line up for Australia’s much-loved Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues, was announced with a program of international jazz and blues artists from the USA, France, Germany and the UK, performing alongside the cream of Australian artists.  

Staged over four days and nights the 2012 Festival program features more than 90 events at 8 venues all within walking distance within the Wangaratta township, as well as some additional shows at venues outside the city. As always, the program is eclectic and diverse, the performances fresh and inspiring and feature Australian debut performances, premiere collaborations and bands presenting original repertoire and improvisations.

International artists headlining the jazz program include acclaimed British ensemble Lighthouse (UK) and in their first visits to Australia creative collaborative ensemble Trio M (USA),  leading German saxophonist-composer Christina Fuchs and her No Tango Quartet, rising star from the New York jazz scene Gregory Porter (USA) who blends jazz with gospel and soul influences abrilliant young jazz singer Cyrille Aimee (France/USA), a regular on the New York jazz scene, performing with Australian expats, drummer Raj Jayaweera and bassist Sam Anning.

Special collaborations include performances from Trio M and great Australian improvisers trumpeter Scott Tinkler, trumpeter Phil Slater and drummer Simon Barker. Trio M bassist Mark Dresser and Scott Tinkler will also perform in a special separate duo collaboration.

The No Tango Quartet will combine with Andrea Keller and her Quartet to perform new compositions by Andrea Keller and Christina Fuchs. Acclaimed Sydney pianist Mike Nock teams up with guitarist Stephen Magnusson and drummer Laurence Pike, and esteemed multi-award winning pianist Paul Grabowsky collaborates with ARIA-award winning legend of the Australian jazz scene Bernie McGann. Guitarist Ian Date returns from Ireland to perform with saxophonist/clarinetist Andy Firth, and award-winning trumpeter Bob Barnard will perform for the first time with fellow trumpeter Warwick Alder.

Other highlights from the lineup Australian bands include Phil Slater’s Sun Songbook where Slater performs music by the great Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe. The great oud player Joseph Tawadros will display his skills as an improviser alongside his brother James on percussion and two eminent jazz players pianist Matt McMahon and bassist Steve Hunter. The Festival also features young up and comer Sydney bassist Hannah James and her Quintet, Canberra’s Alex Stuart who is now based in France, the brilliant pianist from Hobart Tom Vincent, multi-reed virtuoso Adam Simmons leading his Origami trio with bassist Howard Cairns and drummer Anthony Baker, as well as one of the premier improvising bands in the Sydney jazz scene Baecastuff.

Lighting up the Blues Marquee - in a Festival exclusive performance - pianist-singer Jon Cleary (USA), brings his own special brand of New Orleans funk, blues, R&B and jazz to Wangaratta, in a trio with Sydney team Jonathan Zwartz (bass) and Hamish Stuart (drums); and legendary old school bluesman, harmonica player and singer Charlie Musselwhite (USA) will perform with his band.

Australian blues artists include exhilarating Sydney guitarist Ray Beadle with his soul-stirring music, and guitarist-vocalist Dom Turner collaborating with harmonica player Ian Collard; Sydney blues guitarist Darren Jack who recently won a swag of awards at the 2012 Australian Blues Music Awards including Best New Talent of the Year, Best Song of the Year and Best Album of the Year; and winner of the 2006 triple j ‘Light Your Fuse’ award, Wangaratta-born blues singer Dallas Frasca.

The voice is the centre of attention at this year’s National Jazz Awards, featuring ten outstanding young singers battling it out for first prize on Sunday 4 November. Each year the competition focuses on a different instrument, and the competition is fierce, with entries from across Australia and around the world, including in 2012, Korea, New Zealand and the USA.  Winner of the National Jazz Awards in 1998, Michelle Nicole returns to judge the competition with renowned Australian vocalist Vince Jones and notable pianist Mike Nock. All three judges will also perform with their own bands. Finalists will be announced in September.

“The Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues has always enjoyed a reputation as the event which musicians from around Australia most want to perform at, because of the festival setting in Wangaratta, the attentive and discerning audiences, and the special events you won’t hear anywhere else,” Artistic Director Adrian Jackson said.

“As November draws near, Wangaratta gets that certain groove about it. It’s that time when jazz legends and rising music stars check in, and locals prepare our region for everyone’s favourite event on the jazz and blues calendar. We invite music lovers to join us for four days of seriously good jazz in a seriously relaxed place; welcome to the 23rd Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues," Festival Chair Dr Max White said.

For detailed program information about all artists (including bios, website links & audio samples) or to book tickets, find transport and accommodation information visit wangarattajazz.com

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