About the Nelson Jazz Club
The Nelson Jazz Club Inc. was formed twenty four years ago by a group of musicians and individuals with a common desire to share their passion for Jazz. Since then, the club has grown to a database of 220 members and supporters, and is managed by an elected committee.
Much of the early success of the club was due to the energy and leadership of well-respected local musicians and business people such as Brian Smythe, Rupert Winter, Al Leonard and Tony Bowater.
The club has provided jazz musicians, sometimes without fee, for many festivals and public events in the Nelson and Tasman regions and provides jazz for local bars.
The club remains active in the nurturing of potential jazz musicians by providing a big band and a number of regular workshops for players of all levels. Professional Nelson Jazz Club musicians also work with many schools in the Nelson and Tasman-Bay region teaching jazz skills and performance. Jazz education is a strong part of our mission and our website (www.nelsonjazzclub.co.nz) assists us in promoting our mission. July 2011 saw the inaugural Nelson Youth Big Band competition - won by the Motueka High School Big Band. This is now an annual competition - watch out for this event in July.
The Nelson Jazz & Blues Festival
The jewel in the Nelson Jazz Club crown is the annual jazz festival. In its 24th year the festival rebranded as Nelson Jazz & Blues Festival to include the many great blues bands in the country. The festival centres around a number of free outdoor concerts plus a busy performance programme featuring international, national and local bands and artists.
A musically rich and varied programme is presented during the first week in January and features over 50 scheduled events. The festival launches with the Nelson Jazz & Blues in the Park at Fairfield Park in Nelson and is followed by ‘Jazz in the Park’ concerts at Washbourn Gardens. Families usually bring a picnic and relax in a safe and friendly environment listening to musicians and entertainers from mid- afternoon through early evening. We follow the first park concert with entertainment during daytime, afternoon and evening concerts at sponsored venues.
The majority of funding for each annual festival is being provided by sponsors, venue owners and grants from supporting trusts. We are also grateful to Nelson City Council and Tasman District Council for their support.
Supporting venues include The Vic Mac’s Brewbar, Smugglers Pub & Café, Lambretta’s Café & Bar, The Honest Lawyer, Golden Bear Brewery, DeVille, Morrison Square, Old St John’s, The Playhouse Café & Restaurant, River Kitchen, Fairfield House and Washbourn Gardens.