New Zealand International Jazz and Blues Festival - Celebrating 23 years!

Celebrating its 23rd year, the 2018 Cavell Leitch New Zealand International Jazz and Blues Festival will host more than 30 shows featuring some of the best musicians and artists from New Zealand and around the world.

Throughout the history of the festival, we have presented Christchurch audiences with programmes that are both appealing and dynamic, and this year is no exception. Our twenty-third festival, from 23 – 27 May, is a gem. Headlining is American jazz wonder Kurt Elling with his Quintet.

Grammy winner, Kurt Elling is among the world’s foremost jazz vocalists. He has won the DownBeat Critics’ Poll 14 consecutive times and was named “Male Singer of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association on eight occasions. Grammy-nominated more than a dozen times, Elling has also been honoured with several international jazz awards, including the prestigious Edison Jazz Oeuvreprijs (Lifetime Achievement Award).

A handful of festival favourites fill out the rest of the 2018 festival programme including Australian treasure James Morrison accompanied by the New Zealand Army Band at the Isaac Theatre Royal for a big, bold and brassy festival kick off; fabulous American Jazz singer Fantine is on board for two nights of jazz, soul, and funk; Nathan Haines and Jonathan Crayford present Adagio; New Zealand blues master Darren Watson is here with his latest album release show; our own local master chef Richard Till joins The Eastern for two great nights of food and music at the Lyttelton Arts Factory; a Jill Scott tribute will be presented by Roslen Ulaula, and the wonderful Mary Coughlan returns with her Billie Holiday show. There’s more, including lunchtime concerts, Jazz on the Tram, the ARA Music Arts series, Orange Studio and UC Music School shows and the festival’s High School Jazz Band concert featuring six Christchurch school bands.

A huge thanks to our sponsors: Cavell Leitch Law, Publica, Christchurch City Council, Rata Foundation, the Embassy of the United States of America, Dormer Construction, Pernod Ricard, The Press, QSM, Blue Smoke, Ara Music Arts, The George Hotel, Hotel Montreal, The Classic Villa, Creative Communities, and The Southern Trust. These, and many other, loyal and generous supporters of the Cavell Leitch New Zealand International Jazz help make this annual event the best it can be. Thank you!


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