Musical Menu Relished at Jazz Café

August 03, 2015 at 1:19 PM

There was a trio of firsts for this year’s Jazz Café at the College. After being staged in the Music Centre since its inception, the popular event among students and parents was held in the Jack Paine Centre foyer for the first time. TIC Jazz, Mr Paul Norman has joined the College this year and the jazz bands have made huge steps forward under his initial period of guidance. Also making their debut in the relaxed atmosphere were special guests, the Boys’ School Jazz Band.

The Boys’ School performers opened the bill conducted by College Head of Music, Mr Ross Gerritsen and instantly had the crowd rocking. The youngsters have been rehearsing under Boys’ School Musical Director, Mr Ross Hurley and nailed their performances of the popular numbers ‘Gimme Some Lovin,’ the James Bond theme, and Bill Haley and the Comets’ ‘Rock Around The Clock.

Next up was the College Stage Band, conducted by Mr Norman. The group took the audience on journey of classic jazz standards, including ‘Chega de Saudade’, considered to be the first recorded bossa nova song. Every foot in the house was tapping along as they concluded with a rousing rendition of ‘Bebop ‘n’ Georgia’.

The College Jazz Combo opened with the hit song ‘Autumn Leaves’, which has been covered by musical greats including the likes of Miles Davis, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton. With Josh Looker and Michael Ng on saxophone, William Xu on piano and Luke Iso on drums, the boys finished off their flawless set with the South American influenced ‘Blue Bossa’.

A highlight of the night each year is the special guest performance, this time from Old Collegian, Josh Kelly (2009). Now living in Melbourne, the accomplished saxophonist completed a Bachelor of Music at Monash University and has worked alongside a number of Australian jazz luminaries. Performing solo as well as in a variety of groups, he has gigged extensively across the Tasman. Last year, he participated in the Australian Art Orchestra's Creative Music Residency in Cairns and is now undertaking his Honours thesis at the University of Melbourne’s Victorian College of Arts.

Joshua gave a virtuoso recital, accompanied by arguably the best jazz musicians in Auckland, Frank Gibson Jnr on drums, Phil Broadhurst on piano, College teacher Sam Elijas on guitar and David Hodkinson on the double bass. The set was a rousing mix of upbeat covers and original songs composed by Josh.

The other perennial highlight of the evening is the chocolate fountain, which had a never-ending line of diners ready with marshmallows and fruit kebabs to be dipped into the delicious flowing treat – all twelve litres of it! A first time experience for our guests from the Boys’ School, the boys didn’t let a moment – or drop of chocolate - go to waste!

Our thanks to the student barista team from Blue Brew for manning the espresso machine, serving up a non-stop flow of coffee and hot chocolate. All profits raised during the course of each year by this enterprising group go to charity.

The combination of jazz, coffee and chocolate had the audience satisfied from go to whoa, ensuring the Jazz Café was an enjoyable evening for everyone who attended.

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