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Norfolk Island really ‘Jazzed It Up’ in 2016

There was something very special about last week’s jazz festival ‘Norfolk Island Jazzes It Up!’ With a fabulous range of top class jazz on offer combined with incredible performance locations, the overall experience was an absolute winner. Where else do you have the opportunity to sit beside crystal clear and coral filled turquoise waters as a delicious lunch and an afternoon of excellent jazz is served up? Or on a cliff-top under sprawling Banyan trees as the sun sets over a World Heritage site and a magical musical night begins.

As the week unfolded jazz was heard all over this beautiful Island, from the local Rawson Hall, to Clubs, restaurants, cafes and Hotels. A genuinely easy going and friendly atmosphere ensued where performers and audience members socialised and mingled together. The Norfolk Island Travel Centre had the pleasure of welcoming six groups accompanying the performers including: Andrew London from The Andrew London Trio; Brett Iggulden and Richard Stevens from The Jazz factory; Mike Garner and Derek Jacombs from Bay City Ramblers; Pearlnoire; and Di Bird from Di Bird Quartet.

jazz-22Andrew London is well known for his eclectic range of original songs that include a high degree of humour touching on quirky aspects of daily life such as middle-class obsessions and taboos, male insecurities, pretentious societies and parenthood. The performance of his own ‘Emily Bay’ – at Emily Bay itself, poignantly delivered the heartbreaking story of a 1840s convict uprising. What an amazing atmosphere and beautiful musical-storytelling experience! Together with fellow Trio members Kirsten London and Nils Olsen, The Andrew London Trio delivered on an excellent week of fun and fabulous jazz.jazz-1

jf1Noosa based The Jazz Factory are now well known on Norfolk having performed at numerous Festivals. Their performances of rip-roaring jazz and love songs from an earlier era brought the tunes of Louis Armstrong, Irving Berlin and Duke Ellington wafting around the island. Fabulous music delivered by The Jazz Factory once again.

sally-garner-under-banyan-treeMike Garner and the Bay City Ramblers excellent performances absolutely lived up to Mike’s reputation of playing “good songs, well sung with plenty of grit”. Mike has played in locations across the Pacific, Europe, Japan – and even at the Himalayan Blues Festival in Kathmandu – so this festival added yet another exotic location to his list! Mike’s love of the Blues really shone through his great performances.

betty-matthews-pearlnoirePearlnoire’s (Black Pearl) stunning velvet vocals brought a unique style to a repertoire that included jazz, swing, soul and soft rock. Also bringing a reggae flavour and taste of Latin America to her performances, it was clear the audiences loved each and every one of Pearlnoire’s captivating shows.

jazz-15The Di Bird Quartet of Di, Steve Brian, Steve Arie and Peter Locke had a wonderful week. Di loves bringing jazz to remote areas and revelled in performing on our ‘remote’ island. Her relaxed singing vocals certainly fitted the mood of the Festival.

The program for the week included various performer groupings, lone and jam sessions; dinner, lunch and morning-tea sessions; indoor, outdoor and almost everything in between! Congratulations to the Mike Perkins and all the Norfolk Island Jazzes It Up! committee for organising and presenting a fabulous event.

Make sure to visit Norfolk Island from 4 – 7 December in 2017 for more great toe-tapping, swinging, jazzy music played in beautiful locations at next year’s Norfolk Island Jazzes It Up!