City Hall hosts the 33rd Newcastle Jazz Festival August 19-21 | Newcastle Herald

VERSATILE AND SOPHISTICATED: Modern jazz artist Steph Russell was born and raised in Newcastle and will perform on Sunday afternoons.

Music lovers from across Australia and beyond will converge on Newcastle Town Hall for the 33rd Newcastle Jazz Festival on From Friday August 19 to Sunday August 21.

Fifty bands with over two hundred musicians will perform over 60 hours of music on four stages over the weekend.

This year’s lineup is one of the most diverse and exciting to date, with an eclectic program encompassing everything from traditional New Orleans jazz, swing bands, jazz bands, funk and blues to solo jazz piano through contemporary, gypsy and French jazz.

There is something for every music lover throughout the weekend.

The Emma Hamilton Quartet will channel the flavors of Edith Piaf through song, piano and accordion, with a morning and an afternoon in Paris.

SUPER TALENTED: Artist extraordinaire Ami Williamson, vocals/guitar/dulcimer, will perform a mix of jazz classics and his own compositions.

Artist extraordinaire Ami Williamson, vocals/guitar/dulcimer, will perform a mix of jazz classics and his own compositions.

Award-winning singer/pianist Sharny Russell is known for her eccentric yet respectful rendition of beloved songs and her cheerful stage presence. Emerging local vocalist Brynn Hulls will sing with the Terence Koo Trio and local bassist/vocalist Heather Price will lead the band Dungeon Small.

GENIUS: Geoff Bull (and the Finer Cuts) is arguably the finest New Orleans-style jazz trumpeter produced in Australia.

Those who love traditional jazz will find it difficult to choose their favorite performance during the weekend. Bands include jazz band Black Mountain and Bridge City, Geoff Bull’s Finer Cuts, ever-popular Bob Henderson musicians who played Sydney’s iconic Unity Hall and a Louis Armstrong tribute band from Greg Englert.

Canberra’s dynamic ‘Zackerbilks’ will play Saturday and Sunday with local favorites The Licorice Allsorts. Robbie Mann will perform “Rag the Classics” and pianist Carolyn Packer will lead the Stompin’ Rhythm Aces.

UPBEAT: Australian Busking champions Stitch appeal to anyone who plays songs you know, but in a completely different way.

For something different why not bring along the Australian Busking champions ‘Stitch’ with their unique bassoon/banjo duo or Vov Dylan, the world’s fastest violinist who will amaze music lovers with his lightning-fast renditions.

HOT BLUES: Steve Edmonds’ band always puts on a fantastic live set of killer music.

Blues fans will appreciate the Steve Edmonds Jazz and Blues Band and the Daryl Aberhart Quartet. The acapella jazz group Bella Voce is sure to please.

CLASSY, COOL AND SWANK: The Swing Kings are tearing up the stage with their brand of high energy swing, fun and big band vibe.

Swing is king in this year’s program with The Swing Kings playing on Friday night while Saturday night will bring ‘The Roaring 20s to life when the seventeen-piece New Empire Ballroom Ragtime Dance Orchestra will have the dancers on their feet.

Other bands that will attract dancers include The Dungeon Big Band, Swing Company with vocalist Renee Berger and The Great Gatsby Orchestra.

Sunday mornings of the festival are always popular as jazz fans enjoy New Orleans gospel music with the Geoff Power Jazz Band and famous gospel jazz singer, Lee Gunness.

The Rehab Brass Band will join the Power Band and the public will be invited to grab an umbrella and join in a colorful parade of New Orleans-style umbrellas to the iconic When the saints enter.

Those who like their jazz with a modern twist will appreciate the contemporary sounds of Andrew Dickeson leading the Cookers Trio and emerging local pianist Freddie Stafford with his trio.

Funk bands Spuz and The Bleu Collective will add yet another layer of choice over the weekend. Singer Steph Russell will add a modern twist to Sunday afternoon.

GOOD VIBES: The Bathtub Gin Orchestra is made up of two parts of 1920s pedal, an early 1930s swing part and a hint of gypsy jazz.

The Cameron Jones Trio will feast on Gypsy Jazz as will Cygan Groove and The Bathtub Gin Orchestra with Phoebe Haselden on violin.

ENERGY AND MUSICIANS: Local band Fish Fry is a performer of jump-jive jazz, swing and rhythm & blues.

Popular Newcastle artists to entertain the crowds include Fish Fry, Half Nelson, Rehab Brass Band, Sax Blue, New Orleans Ramblers, De Lovely Trio, Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra and Newcastle Army Stage Band.

The next generation of musicians will be on display when the Hunter School of Performing Arts Stage Band opens the festival on Friday.

A full weekend pass is only $120. Session passes range from $30 to $65. Weekend passes and session passes are available online through Ticketebo, at the door or through the event website www.newcastlejazz.com.au.

For more information, visit www.newcastlejazz.com.au, check Facebook or call 02 4963 7237 or 02 49 296315.

Willie J. Johnson