We're all about Waiheke this weekend. We talk to some of the musicians who'll be at Easter's Waiheke Jazz Festival.


Miho Wada is a Japanese-born Kiwi flautist.

What are your favourite jazz albums?

Django Reinhardt -- Swing 41. Nina Simone -- Feeling Good.

I used to host a radio show and these two compilation albums were some of the most-played albums on my show.


I love the stylish touch of Django Reinhardt's guitar playing; together with Stephane Grappelli's romantic violin playing, the music just immediately lightens up the atmosphere. It's like it takes you on a little musical journey to an imaginary Parisian cafe.

I always have a Nina Simone CD in my car. Her music is often my travelling companion. The way she conveys such powerful and influential messages in beautiful and often cheerful songs is just amazing.

I love her soulful voice, and what an amazing pianist she was too.

Who are your favourite jazz artists?

Jacques Loussier.

He was the first jazz artist I have ever met in person. I have been to his concerts several times in London and also went to the concert here in Auckland when his trio came to New Zealand.

I am in total awe of his beautifully flowing piano playing.

I also like Los Van Van. The energy of the band is so impressive and their music always gives me instant happiness. The way they can bring sunshine through their music is something that I very much admire.

What are your jazz credentials?

I've studied the Cuban style of flute playing and improvisation in Havana and Santiago de Cuba. All of the tunes we perform are original and written with influences from Cuban as well as Japanese music, with a twist of New Zealand flavour.

As a band, we have released six jazz albums and performed all around New Zealand and toured Australia and Japan twice. Our violinist (and my husband) Pascal Roggen holds a Masters Jazz Degree from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and frequently performs in the UK and Europe too.

What is your impression of Waiheke Island?

Sunny paradise. It's so close to Auckland yet it has a completely different atmosphere. I love visiting. It always feels like we are on a holiday when we arrive there.

What one thing would you like to do on the island, when you're not on stage?

Soak up the sun and relax. I always feel refreshed breathing in the fresh air. We are going to get there a little earlier before the show so we can enjoy being on the island a bit longer. We might even try some local wines too.


Jackie Clarke, who will be joined by Suzanne Lynch and Tina Cross, discusses her inspiration and jazz cred.

What are your favourite jazz albums?

Probably Ella Swings Lightly. That woman is a master-class in effortless timing, tone and vocal liquidity. It's Billie who makes me cry though -- I got her greatest hits when I was 16 and thought I was the height of sophistication.

I had a jazz saxophonist boyfriend for five years in my 20s, who listened to nothing but hardcore improvised instrumental jazz ... my ears started to hurt. I'm not saying that's why we broke up but I've listened to mostly pop and country since we parted ways.

Who are your favourite jazz artists?

All the great women of course; Ella, Billie, Nina, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, Doris Day and the great goddess herself Peggy Lee. I'm partial to a bit of fruity harmony too: Lambert, Hendricks and Ross style -- we've had some of their tunes on the Lady Killers' "to-do" list for yonks.

What are your jazz credentials?

I've known a few smack addicts in my time -- does that count?

What is you impression of the island?

Waiheke is like the nose on your face, it's easy to take it for granted. You have to take a step back to remember how gorgeous it is. It's the jewel in Tamaki Makaurau's crown, isn't it? My first thought every time I go there is: "why don't I come here more often?"

What one thing would you like to do on the island, when you're not on stage?

Eat, drink and be merry at any/all of the gorgeous vineyards over there. Possibly followed by some extremely hedonistic bacchanalian ritual involving young naked men and grapes.