The Blog

NJC Newsletter – September 2008

Hello Everyone

It?s all worth it! Yes that?s right! There has never been as much happening as there is at the moment. Since the last newsletter we have had the opening of the new look The Vic Mac?s Brewbar (and personally I love it!) It is fresh, comfortable and with excellent service, I am very safe in recommending to all of you to go and have a look and a sample for yourself. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the official launch at which the Gabor Trio provided exquisite Jazz. The evening went off without a hitch. It was great to see Chris fit and healthy and back behind his Bass – obviously enjoying the occasion. The trio of Chris Cowles, Simon Terrill, and Gabor Tolnay certainly did our club proud.


Since the opening we have enjoyed Denny Behrens entertaining us with his Cocktail Piano style on Sunday afternoon 2 – 5pm. Sunday afternoons will be a regular event hosting a number of solo and duo performances from club members. This is a beautifully relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy a catch up with friends. More recently we featured Johnny Morris and Katie Needham, so check out details in the gig guide ( and make sure you don?t miss enjoying your favourite artist.

Jazz on Tuesday nights is all go again. Breezn? had a great leading night with special guest Simon Williams on sax (sitting in while Ivan tours Europe). The sound was very smooth with Aroha performing to her usual high standard leading Ken, Jak and Warren with some tasteful improvisation. This band has it all! We sat back with a nice red wine and tasting some of the delicious desserts from the menu topped off a great night. These nights are a ?must mark? in your diary as we are going to be featuring some young Jazz musos in the hope of encouraging them and broadening the appeal of Jazz in Nelson.

Some of these young stars recently competed at the Southern Jam in Blenheim a few weekends ago as reported below by Tim Parker. Don?t forget any student under 18 that is keen on Jazz they can join the Club for free!!

The Southern Jam Youth Jazz Festival is held each year in Blenheim, organised by Marlborough 4 Fun. This year proved to be very popular with 17 schools attending. It is an event which brings together young musicians from all over the South Island to take part in a series of musical activities. It gives students an opportunity to take part in public performances with each band performing a 30 minute set in venues which range from local schools to restaurants, bars and the Woodbourn Airforce base. A masterclass run by the Royal NZ Air Force band is a firm favorite with the students, similarly are the jazz workshops.

The students take part in a competition where they perform their set in front of a panel of judges from the Royal NZ Air Force band. There are two categories ? (Big band and Jazz Combo). Three bands from Nelson attended the event, two big bands from Nelson Girls College and Motueka High School. There was also a Jazz Combo from Nayland and Waimea combined colleges led by Tim Parker. All three bands picked up a silver award and the Combo won second place. Ben Wilkinson from Waimea College was the winner of the Best Guitarist Award.

The event is held over a four day period and concludes with a Gala Concert held at the Town Hall where winners of the competition are invited to play in front of a huge audience, followed by a fantastic performance by the Royal NZ Air Force band. The judges were very impressed with the Combo and they were invited to play at the Gala Concert where they performed a rendition of the popular Miles Davis tune “So What”. They followed with a transition in the bridge section to the well known song “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd and then seamlessly returning to “So What” a great crowd pleaser especially with the students!! The whole festival ran very smoothly and fun was had by all. It is a fantastic opportunity for the students to enhance their individual playing skills as they are immersed in music for the four days and great for the tutors to watch the students enjoying the fruits of their hard work.

Upon returning from the Festival, the Combo were invited to be the main act at the regular monthly open mic event at the Boat House where they played to a rapturous crowd. A concert for all of the Nelson bands was then held at The Playhouse where they played to a full house and calls for “more” were echoed by the audience as the evening ended. All in all, a great series of events promoting the talented youth of Nelson.

The Playhouse also recently featured the Nelson Jazz Club Big Band and attracted a sell out audience. This is the second time they have performed at The Playhouse on the last Friday of the month. Working with The Playhouse the club wants to make this another iconic event in the Clubs performance schedule and we are looking for more groups to take part in these Friday nights. The Playhouse is proud to host some unique Jazz groups on the last Friday of every month. Jada Jazz, Something Else and the NJC Big Band have been featured. Details will be posted on the Gig Guide on our website on a regular basis.

Starting this Sun 7th September we welcome the return of our Club Social Nights with a new location – The Vic Mac?s Brewbar, on the first Sunday of every month, 7pm to 9pm with various club performers as the backing band. This coming Sunday will feature Denny Behrens and friends and it?s promising to be a night to remember.
As the Social night is in the public eye, we need to organise the lineup prior to the evening for a smooth running and entertaining evening for everyone. If you would like to participate contact Ken on 545 8381.

Finally it is thanks to Mike McElhinney and Radio Nelson for all their assistance over the years. Without their support we wouldn?t have the facilities to support our performing members. They have also sponsored the design work on our new Club banner that you will see featured proudly at our Jazz performances at The Vic Mac?s Brewbar. And a special thanks to Mark Nihotte from ?The Signman? for making and installing this banner for us.

In finishing there has been a lot of work put in by many and it is all worth it! We look forward to your participation and feedback.

Happy Jazzing!!!
Tony Bowater