The jazz talents of young Wairarapa musos will be in the spotlight at the College Jazz Showcase Fresh Jam event in Martinborough on Friday.
Fresh Jam is the Jazz in Martinborough (JIM) College Jazz Showcase that features Wairarapa secondary school jazz bands and groups, says festival publicist Lee Quayle.
"We at JIM are committed to the fostering of jazz talent, young and old, and this definitely fits into the young category," Mr Quayle said.
"Each year Fresh Jam showcases the best of college jazz - big bands, combos and groups from each of the participating secondary schools with about 75 students participating from at least five of the eight Wairarapa colleges including Rathkeale, Kuranui, Chanel, Wairarapa, and St Matthews."
Wairarapa College head of music Ivan Patterson said three groups from the school will this Friday night take the stage at the Fresh Jam show including the 18-piece MOJO (Masterton's Only Jazz Orchestra), and the pair of jazz combos Prop and The Nacho (aka Macho) Warriors.
He said the showcase provided a vital performance venue for secondary school jazz musicians in the region and was a high point on the musical calendar at the school.
"We love the Martinborough jazz festival. We've been there since the start and it's one of the highlights of our year."
Mr Patterson said there was a healthy number of young musicians playing jazz at colleges in the region and each of the three Wairarapa College groups will perform up to four songs at the Friday night show.
"There's a surprising amount of jazz talent happening in such a small area and the festival shows are always very supportive, everyone is fantastic."
Mr Quayle said the Fresh Jam event is sponsored by Genesis Energy, which is a major sponsor of the Jazz in Martinborough festival.
"JIM is grateful to Genesis Energy for helping us to provide this unique opportunity for the students to play jazz in an acoustically-acclaimed auditorium in front of an appreciative audience," he said.
"The students value the fact that it is not a competition or examination, and the musicianship and fellowship displayed is a credit to the fine young musicians who participate."
This year marks the start of a new era for the young musos on the Fresh Jam bill, he said, with workshops running for the participants ahead of the evening show.
"About 40, or two-thirds of the participants, will be attending afternoon workshops run by acclaimed staff of the NZ School of Music Jazz Programme, including luminaries such as Rodger Fox, who will also be performing in the festival proper," Mr Quayle said.
NZSM staff who will attend the workshops includes Mark Donlon, a programme leader of jazz at the NZSM, senior lecturer in jazz piano and respected pianist, composer, conductor and educator; Lance Philip, lecturer jazz drums, who has performed with the Rodger Fox Big Band, Midge Marsden and Dancing with the Stars Band; and American jazz bassist Professor Tom Warrington, who has performed with the Buddy Rich Big Band, Bill Cunliffe and Stan Getz.
Fresh Jam is free and will run at the Martinborough Town Hall from 6pm on Friday.