Nelson Jazz Club History

The Nelson Jazz Club was incorporated in 1994 having grown out of a less formalised gathering of local musicians who had been meeting and playing together for several years. During the early days before incorporation, club members met and played every Wednesday evening at Traffers Bar, in what is now the upstairs of the Nelson Museum on the corner of Trafalgar and Hardy Streets. Then, from August 1993, weekly club performances were held on Tuesday evenings at the Victorian Rose, now The Vic Mac’s Brew Bar, in Trafalgar Street. After generous support from five owners during nearly twenty years, the last club gig there was in May, 2012.

The club’s objectives are:

  • To promote and forward the interests and welfare of jazz in Nelson and elsewhere.
  • To provide an environment in which Nelson Jazz musicians can perform.
  • To co-operate with other jazz clubs or musical societies.
  • To act as a medium which promotes and provides musical education and sponsors jazz workshops and visits to Nelson by specialist jazz musicians and tutors.

These objectives are currently pursued through:

  • Weekly club band performances every Sunday afternoon at Founders Park with their ‘Jazz on the Green’ series.
  • Regular performances by the Nelson Jazz Club Big Band at local venues and by invitation at various events.
  • Providing a contact point for people looking to hire a jazz band for parties and events.
  • Exchanging regular newsletters with other jazz clubs and societies around New Zealand.
  • Promoting, obtaining sponsorship and awarding prizes for an annual Youth Jazz Band Competition, in which there are categories for combos of up to seven musicians and for bigger ensembles.
  • Promoting the annual Nelson Jazz & Blues Festival each New Year. The Festival runs for several days and includes concert performances in local parks, street performances in the Nelson business district, evening performances by a roster of local and visiting bands in bars and cafés around the region, and ticketed performances by invited guest bands and soloists. The Festival has grown from an event in which local musicians invited and provided accommodation for visiting musicians into one of the country’s more highly-regarded music festivals. For more details, visit Nelson Jazz Festival Official Website.