Young jazz musicians to play with the best

The 2014 NZ Youth Jazz Orchestra is swinging into Palmerston North with four local musicians in the lineup, accompanied by New York trombonist Luis Bonilla.

The New Zealand Jazz Foundation has combined with the orchestra to host a showcase of 18 of the best jazz musicians under the age of 19 from around New Zealand. The orchestra musical directors Dave Lisik and Rodger Fox put musicians through an audition process and Fox said the quality was very high.

"Most have come through jazz programmes at school and this big band experience helps to elevate them to the next level and gives them touring experience."

Giving the young musicians a chance to perform with someone who has made jazz his living is guest performer Luis Bonilla. A trombonist from New York, Bonilla is a professor of music at the Manhattan School of Music and is a member of the Mingus Big Band, the Jazz at Lincoln Centre Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, with whom he received two Grammy awards.

Fox said it was a great opportunity to learn from someone of Bonilla's calibre and they would be playing historically significant music from the swing era through to works by modern composers. Among the orchestra lineup are Palmerston North musicians Daniel Medycky-Scott (saxophone), James French (trumpet), Jacob Pritchard (guitar) and Katelin Little (vocals).

Little is an ex-Awatapu High School pupil and is in her first year of studies at the New Zealand School of Music, majoring in jazz. She said she was looking forward to performing in her home town and showing everyone what she had been up to.

"It has been really exciting this year in Wellington. I have met so many cool people and there is always music happening around the city to go and listen to. Not so many chances to perform though, so being involved with the NZ Youth Jazz Orchestra for the last two years has been really cool."

The 2014 NZ Youth Jazz Orchestra will perform at the Globe Theatre on August 18.

Manawatu Standard