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  • intouch Magazine

34th Newcastle Jazz Festival

From Friday, 25 – Sunday, 27 August, the 34th Newcastle Jazz Festival will bring music lovers from around Australia and beyond to the iconic Newcastle City Hall. Fifty-two bands with over 200 musicians will perform over 60 hours of music across four stages during the weekend.


This year’s line-up is one of the most diverse and exciting yet, with an eclectic program encompassing everything from traditional New Orleans jazz, swing bands, jazz orchestras and funk and blues to solo jazz piano through to contemporary, Gypsy and Brazilian jazz. There’s something for every music lover across the weekend.

This year’s program features some of Australia’s best female jazz music artists. The Emma Hamilton Quartet will be channelling the flavours of Edith Piaf across vocal, piano, and accordion as she takes us on a musical voyage from Paris to New Orleans. Internationally acclaimed bassist/vocalist Nicki Parrott is not to be missed on Saturday, and for the first time, the festival will feature an all-female jazz band, ‘Mousai.’

The festival also welcomes the internationally renowned Gregg Arthur and his tribute to Tony Bennett. Guitar virtuoso Bruce Mathiske will feature on Sunday. The Blues Point Vocal group will sing acoustic jazz accompanied by one of Australia’s best double bass players, Craig Scott. Bob Henderson will lead talented Sydney jazz players in his quintet.

Popular Newcastle performers to entertain the crowd include Terrence Koo Trio with Brynn Hulls, Fish Fry, Half Nelson, Heather Price and the Dungeon Small Band, the Australian Army Newcastle Big Band and young talent with the HSPA Stage Band.

New to this year’s festival is the Civic String Quartet with a tribute to Duke Ellington, fun band Exploding Happiness and guitarist Steve Brien, giving insights and observations on the evolution and style of Jazz, from Bebop to Broadway. The Hunter and Brown Quintet will play vibrant swing-style music, and the Paul David Trio will present a Jazz/Latin combo. The Chris Dawson Band will feature original songs composed by Chris.

Those who love traditional jazz will find it difficult to choose their favourite performance over the weekend. Acts include The Bridge City Jazz Band, The New Orleans Ramblers, The Port Hunter Jazz Band, Canberra’s Zackerbilks, Sydney’s famous Unity Jazz Band with Dan Barnett and George Washingmachine and Bill Dudley will lead his New Orleanians. You can also catch the ever-popular Licorice Allsorts, and Greg Englert will present a tribute to Louis Armstrong. The Jack Mclauglin Memorial Band will celebrate the life of a committed trad jazz clarinettist.

Sunday mornings at the festival are always popular as jazz fans enjoy a taste of New Orleans Gospel music with the Geoff Power Jazz Band and acclaimed jazz Gospel singer Lee Gunness. The audience will be invited to pick up an umbrella and join a colourful New Orleans-style umbrella parade to the iconic, ‘When the Saints Go Marching In.’

Swing is king in this year’s program, with dance floors available to those who like to move to the music. Dancers can enjoy the Dungeon Big Band will presenting ’You and the Night and the Music”, featuring vocals and double bass from the multi-talented Heather Price, The New Empire Ballroom Ragtime Dance Orchestra will host a roaring twenties dance party on Saturday evening. You can also catch The Jive Bombers, Geoff Power’s Great Gatsby Jazz, Swing Company with vocalist Renee Berger, the Swing Kings with Sheriden Nelson on vocals and the Rehab Brass Band.

Those who like their jazz with a modern twist will enjoy the sounds of the Freddie Stafford Trio, the Steph Russell Band, the Zach Horne Quartet, Miau and the Chloe Gill Trio. Dedos Curiosos bring acoustic Brazilian jazz to the mix, while Cygan Groove will bring a touch of Gypsy Jazz to the festival. Steve Edmonds and Daryl Aberhart feature blues in their sets. Andrew Dickeson, Peter Locke and Craig Scott are sure to please with their classic piano trio.

A complete weekend festival pass costs just $130. Session passes range from $40 to $75. Weekend passes, and session passes are available online through Civic Theatre Ticketing at the door or via a link on our website:


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