ARTicle Magazine

The Doctor calls

12 April 2017

Wellington's very own Doctor of Jazz, Nick Tipping shares his pick of the 150 gigs just announced for this year's Wellington Jazz Festival, 7-11 June 2017.

Nick Tipping on the 2017 Wellington Jazz Festival

Nick Tipping


The Wellington Jazz Festival is on 7-11 June 2017.

Few folks know more about jazz in the Capital than Nick Tipping.

Nick recently completed a PhD on the Wellington jazz scene at the Victoria University of Wellington's Te Kōki New Zealand School of Music, and gained a Masters in Jazz at the University of Nevada under the tutelage of Tom Warrington. Formerly Head of Jazz at the New Zealand School of Music, Nick currently presents RNZ Concert’s weekly jazz show Inside Out and works in development for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. 

He’s performed at clubs and bars around the world in places as diverse as Italy, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Seoul. Locally, Nick has performed with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Rodger Fox Big Band, and the Reuben Bradley Trio. Nick is also part of the popular Wellington group The Jac, who are set to debut Seoul Jazz, an exciting collaboration with South Korean ensemble Black String, at the 2017 Wellington Jazz Festival. 

With more than 150 events on offer at this year's Festival, we asked Nick to choose his top five must-see gigs.

Ari Hoenig

Ari Hoenig at Wellington Jazz Festival

Ari Hoenig

I was thrilled to see this guy in the 2017 Wellington Jazz Festival line-up. A former player with the One O’Clock Lab Band at the University of North Texas, Hoenig is one of the best drummers in New York! We are super lucky to have him here. This Pyramid Club gig isn’t just for drummers, he’s got broad appeal.


When: 8pm and 10pm on Wednesday 7 June and Thursday 8 June

Where: The Pyramid Club

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Jazz at St Peter's: Brad Kang

Brad Kang at Wellington Jazz Festival

Brad Kang

I first came across Brad Kang when he was playing guitar in a secondary school jazz competition, and attending Burnside High School in Christchurch. I remember thinking at the time that he was definitely going places. As it turns out he went all the way to the US where he studied jazz guitar at the University of North Texas - like Ari Hoenig he was also in the One O’Clock Lab Band. We are really fortunate he is back in New Zealand and playing a free gig at St Peter's on Willis church this Festival.


When: 6pm on Friday 9 June

Where: St Peter's on Willis

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Lex French and Jasmine Lovell-Smith

Lex French & Jasmine Lovell-Smith at Wellington Jazz Festival

Jasmine Lovell-Smith

Lex is based in Montreal now, but he’s back for the Jazz Fest and will be teaming up with the incomparable Jasmine Lovell- Smith. Jasmine, a composer, arranger and soprano sax player, has been living in Mexico and the US in recent years. She has worked with some of the best jazz composers in the world and I featured her on my RNZ Inside Out jazz show earlier this year. Whatever Lex and Jasmine are cooking up for their free show at Havana Bar on Wednesday 7 June, you can bet it’ll be great!


When: 9.30pm on Wednesday 7 June 

Where: Havana

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Rogue Classic Albums Live series

Rogue & Vagabond Classic Albums Live at Wellington Jazz Festival

Rogue Classic Albums Live: The Brecker Bros

Everyone loves The Rogue & Vagabond's Classic Albums Live series that runs each year throughout the Wellington Jazz Festival. Audiences love it because they get to hear their old favourites performed live; musicians love it because they get to perform these amazing albums they grew up revering. This year the classic albums series includes Michael Costeloe taking on Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five, and 2014 Wellington Jazz Festival headliner Alda Rezende and her band bringing back the bossa nova with Getz/Gilberto.


When: Various times, Thursday 8 June to Sunday 11 June

Where: The Rogue & Vagabond

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Seoul Jazz: The Jac & Black String

Seoul Jazz with The Jac & Black String at Wellington Jazz Festival

Black String

Ok, so I should admit that I play in The Jac, but our collaboration with contemporary South Korean ensemble Black String will be really unique and interesting! Jac members Jake Baxendale and Callum Allardice went to Korea to meet the Black String musicians and soon realised they had a completely different way of working to us, so a lot of this collaboration has been about learning how to make music together in a way that both parties understand. This show will be a totally unique experience.


When: 4pm on Saturday 10 June

Where: Opera House

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