Crowd dancing to the CumbriaBros in The Library bar.

Wellington Jazz Festival

An electrifying line-up of talent is descending on the city for the Wellington Jazz Festival this October. The festival features a line-up of exciting international names ​and leading homegrown musicians. Over 100 events are planned in an action-packed five days.

Among the first batch of announcements is vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant. The multi-GRAMMY award winner will travel from the United States. According to Rolling Stone magazine “Salvant, regularly and rightly, is considered one of the greatest jazz singers of her generation”.

Also headlining is GoGo Penguin, an experimental jazz trio from Manchester in the United Kingdom. Australian ethno-jazz quintet Zela Margossian is coming from Australia. And the local Rodger Fox Big Band will collaborate with hip-hop legend King Kapisi. A celebration of Amy Winehouse’s 40th birthday will be marked by a performance from the Back to Black band at the Michael Fowler Centre.

At Meow in Edward Street, you can see award-winning saxophonist and composer Jake Baxendale. The New Zealander previously headlined the Wellington Jazz Festival in 2017. He will present ‘Waypeople’ incorporating the guzheng (a Chinese string instrument), the sounds of The Great American Songbook, and words from the Chinese classic Tao Te Ching.

Also playing Meow is vocalist and songwriter Kirsten Te Rito (Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu). Kirsten leads a stellar line-up of Aotearoa musicians as she premiers her trailblazing new work ‘Māreikura’. Rooted in Māori cosmology the work channels the divine through improvisation, rhythm, and soundscape.