Australian jazz legend James Morrison returns to New Zealand to play with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) on 16 August, in a celebration of one of the best-known and most-loved collaborations of the jazz world.
Following a sell-out concert with the APO in 2015, the internationally-renowned virtuoso trumpeter returns to New Zealand for Jaguar presents: James Morrison – a Celebration of Ella and Louis, in which he and exquisite Australian vocalist Emma Pask will celebrate the musical pairing of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.
The two leading jazz performers will deliver a concert of enduring hits from the Great American songbook, including 'Basin Street Blues', 'I’ve Got the World on a String', 'Lazy River' and the unforgettable 'Hello Dolly'.
Morrison says the concert really is a celebration of one of the most iconic pairings in music. “In my opinion, there is no greater musical partnership than Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. They seemed made for each other; the way she sang, the way he played and the music they loved just worked so well together.”
James Morrison AM is a multi-instrumental, award-winning Australian jazz musician. Known widely for his trumpet playing, he has also performed on many other instruments including clarinet, saxophone, trombone, tuba, double bass, guitar and piano.
Morrison’s diverse and extensive performance career has included guest appearances at the BBC Proms and with the Berlin Philharmonic, among many of the world’s major orchestras and concert halls, as well as performances for Queen Elizabeth II, and several US presidents. Morrison is also a composer and his work has included film scores, jazz ensemble charts, and the opening fanfare at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. He is passionate about music education, and established the James Morrison Academy of Music in South Australia where he continues to teach regularly. In 1997 he was made a member of the Order of Australia for his service to the arts.
Award-winning vocalist Emma Pask has firmly established herself as one of Australia’s favourite voices in jazz. Her talent was first spotted by James Morrison when she was just 16 years old. Pask sang with his band that night and their musical collaboration continued to entertain audiences all over the world for over 20 years.
Pask has received a ‘Mo’ award for Jazz Vocalist of the Year in 2006, received ARIA award nominations and has performed for numerous VIPs and royals. In 2013, Pask took part in the second series of The Voice Australia, and while she narrowly missed out on a place in the finals, she brought jazz into the hearts and living rooms of a nation, with the support of her vocal coach Ricky Martin.
Their concert with the APO will be a long-awaited reunion for the pair. “This is a bit special for us,” Morrison says. “Over the past few years Emma’s career has taken her elsewhere, and we hardly ever get the chance to get together anymore. We can never quite seem to get our schedules to match, until now.”
Morrison says they know each other well enough to have a bit of fun with the music. “I’m sure we’ll take some chances on stage ¬– improvisation has always been part of our style when we perform together,” he says. “Obviously we’ll try not to upset the orchestra!”