During the evening Roger Manins was awarded the JJA Jazz Hero Award and this met with strong approval from the audience. Roger has been a popular choice as his work in promoting Jazz, teaching, mentoring and acting as programme director for the CJC have endeared him to everyone. Then there is his musicianship which astonishes and inspires, while setting the bar high. The work that Roger, Caroline and Ben do in running the CJC should not be overestimated. Having Roger in town and having a club like the CJC has been a game changer. More and more students are emerging from the Jazz schools and they need clubs like this to play in. Being tested is part of the journey.
Jazz musicians are the alchemists of the modern age: they forge a raw beauty out of the world about us. Musicians like Roger are the keepers of the magic.
This was a night of magic from start to finish and the Auckland Jazz Orchestra were superb. This nimble hard-swinging seventeen piece orchestra played its heart out and the audience never stopped smiling or tapping their feet. Sitting in front of a Jazz orchestra and feeling that surge of power is like nothing else I know. Tonight Auckland felt like the luckiest city on the planet.
Credit must go to the JJA who have been incredibly supportive throughout. Auckland is proud to have hosted its first JJA Jazz Awards Satellite Party and this is only the beginning.
The party continued long after the AJO had packed up and before long a Jam session was in full swing. To have Roger Manins (tenor), P J Koopman (guitar) and Brian Smith (tenor) on the band stand together was the icing on the cake. One by one the students got up to join them. Some looked nervous but they got up anyway. It is nights like this that guarantee the viability of this music we love.
A full review will follow soon – thanks to Jenny and Deepak for assisting.