The winners will be celebrated at this year’s Wellington Jazz Festival
The Wellington Jazz Festival will present the Recorded Music NZ Best Jazz Artist and the APRA Best Jazz Composition at the 2019 New Zealand Jazz Awards on Sunday 9th June.
An incredibly diverse range of musicians are finalists for this year’s Best Jazz Artist Tui, highlighting the freedom and creativity in Aotearoa’s jazz scene.
This is well represented by this year’s Best Jazz Artist finalists with Antipodes for Good Winter, Dog for No Dogs Allowed, and GRG67 for The Thing.
It was also an amazing year for individual compositions and the 2019 APRA Best Jazz Composition celebrates these outstanding works.
Three exceptional works are recognised for the Best Jazz Composition, Callum Allardice for Chungin’, Grant Hughson for Follow The Sugar To The Gee, and Jasmine Lovell-Smith for Cerulean Haze.
Recorded Music NZ Best Jazz Artist
Antipodes is a jazz ensemble led by Luke Sweeting, Jake Baxendale, and Callum Allardice. The group plays original compositions that emphasises melody, emotive soundscapes, and an open improvisational aesthetic.
Their album Good Winter is the group’s first studio album, following four years of touring and live recordings throughout New Zealand and Australia. It was recorded at Free Energy Device Studios in Sydney and mastered in New York City by Nate Wood.
Dubbed a jazz super-group, DOG comprises four of New Zealand’s most renowned jazz musicians, composers, and educators – Kevin Field, Ron Samsom, Roger Manins, and Olivier Holland.
After their self-titled debut album won the Tui Award for best Jazz Album of the Year 2015, the group are back with No Dogs Allowed – a tour-de-force sophomore album that solidifies their spot as one of New Zealand’s leading jazz groups.
After curating a number of compositions, Roger Manins needed to find the right musicians to help bring his visions to life. And so GRG67 was born, consisting of Roger Manins, Michael Howell, Mostyn Cole, and Tristan Deck.
The compositions were developed with these musicians in mind, and this is evident in the cohesion of their album The Thing – an excellent eight song collection of tracks performed by some of Aotearoa’s most well-known jazz musicians.
Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan said the eclectic collection of musicians in the running for this year’s Best Jazz Artist Tui was an impressive statement to the prowess of our musicians.
“Every year we celebrate the jazz releases and compositions from the last 12 months, and the amazing musicians who craft these pieces. Once again, I’m looking forward to seeing the finalists celebrated at the Jazz awards this year.”
APRA Best Jazz Composition
The APRA Best Jazz Composition is also celebrated at the Wellington Jazz Festival and recognises New Zealand’s top jazz compositions from the last year.
With a career starting at the young age of 15, Callum Allardice created his own jazz group and began gigging around the Nelson area, as well as participating in various festivals and competitions.
In 2016 Callum’s Sons of Thunder took home the inaugural Best Jazz Composition Award at the NZ Jazz Awards, and he followed that up by winning the same award in 2017 for Deep Thought. This year, he’s a finalist for his composition Chungin’.
There’s a uniqueness to Grant Hughson’s Follow The Sugar To The Gee that makes it a standout composition that is equal parts confusing and infectious.
Grant has made a career of creating and distorting sounds using both traditional instruments and digital manipulation to compose songs that are utterly unlike anything you’ve ever heard before.
Jasmine Lovell-Smith is the third finalist for this year’s APRA Best Jazz Composition for her sensational song Cerulean Haze.
A composer and soprano saxophonist whose work explores the intersections of jazz, folk, free improvisation and chamber music, Jasmine is an active member of the Wellington jazz scene. She performs regularly with her own ensembles including the Noveltones and the Jasmine Lovell-Smith Quintet.
This year Jasmine’s has two new compositions being premiered at the Wellington Jazz Festival by CODE Quartet on Saturday 8 June.
APRA AMCOS head of NZ Operations Anthony Healy says: “We continue to be impressed by the depth and breadth of the compositions entered for the APRA Best Jazz Composition Award each year, and it’s great to be able to celebrate the very high calibre of jazz being made across New Zealand with these awards.”
The winner of both the Recorded Music NZ Best Jazz Album and APRA Best Jazz Composition will be announced at an invite only event on the final evening of the Wellington Jazz Festival, which runs from Wednesday 5 June to Sunday 9 June and features hundreds of local and international jazz performers.
About Wellington Jazz Festival
The annual Wellington Jazz Festival (5-9 June) is the highlight of Aotearoa’s mid-winter music calendar, featuring some of the finest musicians from across New Zealand and around the globe. Throughout the Capital’s streets, cafes, bars and live music venues, jazz aficionados and intrepid newcomers can explore more than 140 gigs across the city, with five days of serious play bringing the sounds and spirit of jazz to Wellington.
The Festival opens with maestro of jazz Herbie Hancock on Wednesday 5 June and continues over the next four days with groundbreaking trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire (Thursday 6 June), the explosive funk ensemble Ghost-Note (Friday 7 June) and the exquisite vocals of Alicia Olatuja (Saturday 8 June). A new commission from composers Lex French and Jasmine Lovell-Smith performed by Canadian/NZ collaborators CODE Quartet, along with perennial favourite the Rodger Fox Big Band and acclaimed helden-tenor Simon O’Neill, spearhead the distinct sounds of New Zealand jazz in two weekend matinees.