Modern Jazz Greats Confirmed For Wellington Jazz Festival In June

The Wellington Jazz Festival returns, 6–10 June 2018, to host an exciting line up of modern jazz greats, including six-time Grammy Award–winner and Director of the legendary Newport Jazz Festival, Christian McBride. Jazz bassist McBride, who has collaborated with heavyweights from Sting to James Brown, will bring his talented new quartet Christian McBride’s New Jawn to open the Festival in style on Wednesday 6 June at the Opera House. 

One of the world’s hottest big bands is also set to descend on the capital when John Beasley’s MONK’estra, an innovative tribute to jazz pianist Thelonious Monk, takes over the Opera House on Saturday 9 June. A pianist, arranger and music director on American Idol, John Beasley started his all-star 15-piece big band to bring to life fresh arrangements inspired by the musical spirit of jazz giant, Thelonious Monk. With a handful of New Zealand musicians joining MONK’estra for the concert, this one-nighter will be something special.

Fans of sultry vocals are sure to be charmed by Gretchen Parlato’s “flor”. A Californian native turned regular on the New York jazz scene, Parlato has made appearances on more than 50 albums, and has recorded two critically acclaimed vocal albums, 2009’s In a Dream and 2011’s The Lost and Found. Parlato’s eclectic repertoire spans across Latin and Brazilian influences to R&B and Pop, and her voice is often compared with that of Cassandra Wilson and Diana Krall. Catch Parlato and her band at the Opera House on Friday 9 June.

Rolling Stone magazine declared him one of the “100 great drummers of all time”, and he appears on Adele’s 21 and D’Angelo’s Black Messiah.  Chris “Daddy” Dave, known for his explosive stickwork across jazz, gospel, rock, R&B and hip-hop genres, has just released his first album, Chris Dave and The Drumhedz featuring collaborations with Anderson Paak, SiR and more. Dave and The Drumhedz play Wellington Jazz Festival Sunday 10 June.

Jazz Festival Artistic Director Shelagh Magadza says she’s delighted to host these dazzling international musicians and urges jazz enthusiasts to their secure seats early.

“Once again there is no excuse to stay home over the week of the Wellington Jazz Festival.  We have a cracking line-up of international greats coming to Wellington, and when the full programme is released on 18 April, you’ll be able to add some fantastic gigs by the best of New Zealand’s jazz talent to your Festival plans.” Shelagh says.

Tickets to headliners are on sale to The Culture Club supporters from Monday 26 March and general public from Wednesday 28 March 2018.  The Wellington Jazz Festival programme is available at The full Wellington Jazz Festival line-up will be announced on 18 April.

About the 2018 Wellington Jazz Festival 

  • Wellington Jazz Festival runs 6–10 June 2018
  • More than 100 gigs will take place over five days at around 40 venues
  • The Jazz Festival draws a national audience of around 30,000 music fans
  • The Jazz Festival also hosts the New Zealand Jazz Awards
  • Visit and follow us on Facebook or Twitter @welljazzfest