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Feast of international and local talent for Christchurch festival

7 April 2016

The Cavell Leitch New Zealand International Jazz and Blues Festival returns to Christchurch this May promising a feast of international and local live music.

“With 26 shows programmed over five days this is an unprecedented opportunity to hear the best Kiwi jazz stars alongside top international acts,” says Festival Director, Jodi Wright.

For the first time the Isaac Theatre Royal features in the festival programme, hosting two of the week’s top shows including the opening night 25th Anniversary Gala Jazz Concert. The 25 May show brings together a prestigious line up of Jazz School graduates, staff and current students to start the festival in style.

Multi-Grammy award winner, American jazz great Ramsey Lewis and his quartet will headline the festival on 26 May at Isaac Theatre Royal, their first and only New Zealand appearance and a show not to be missed.

Tami Neilson tops the Jazz in the City line-up on 27 May with her Crying in the Chapel presented at the Transitional Cathedral. The APRA Silver Scroll winner, whose soulful singing has been praised as a hybrid of acoustic torch and stripped-bare alt-country, will be drawing on the repertoire of greats like Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Mavis Staples and Bob Dylan.

Paying tribute to the great Stevie Wonder, Kate Taylor and her band perform a collection of his greatest hits in a one-off musical extravaganza at the Transitional Cathedral on 28 May. With a full horn and rhythm section to highlight the magic of Wonder’s timeless songs, this concert will feature everything from his upbeat tracks to his big ballads.

Back again in its second year, The Gym at The Arts Centre is home to the Dormer Jazz and Blues Club. This year’s line-up features some of Australia’s best performers including top blues instrumentalist Isaiah B. Brunt, the ‘Queen of Boogie Piano’ Jan Preston, acclaimed vocalist Hetty Kate with James Sherlock, and from New Caledonia soul jazz organist Michael Benebig and his trio.

Last year’s sold-out Jazz Dine at The George is back again with three nights of soulful music, matched with fine food and wine on 25, 26 and 27 May.

Other highlights include Jazz for Lunch at The Dormer Jazz and Blues Club - The Gym in the Arts Centre, and an impressive finale night on 28 May when Christchurch’s top high school jazz bands perform at Christ’s College.

The five-day Cavell Leitch New Zealand International Jazz and Blues Festival runs from Wednesday 25 May until Sunday 29 May. View the full programme

Tickets for Ramsey Lewis Quartet and the 25th Anniversary Gala can be booked through Ticketek. All other performances can be booked at Dash Tickets, and there will be limited door sales for Jazz in the City, Dormer Jazz and Blues Club and Jazz for Lunch.