The warm spring sun streamed into the tent, I had a pretty good coffee and Sarah Collyer had just launched into Gershwin’s Little Jazz Bird. If I were a little jazz bird, there’s no place I’d rather have been on Friday than the Noosa Jazz Festival. Hastings Street was alive with colour, characters, cool notes and cool dudes, all enjoying the Tastings on Hastings lunches and the street parade to kick the Festival off.
The Festival ran from Thursday evening through to Sunday with performances on the Tingirana Main Stage and Lounge Tent in the Festival Village and various restaurants and cafes, as well as special Jazz River Cruises. Buskers popped up along Hastings Street and other locations around town, market stalls and food vans catered for folk in the Festival Village, and the atmosphere hit just the right note for the beginning of spring.
Headline acts included Emma Pask, Wendy Matthews, Colleen Hewett and Darren Percival, along with some all-time favourites like Jan Preston, George Washingmachine and Clayton Doley. The surprises for me came with the musical talent on show from a great array of bands and combos such as the Escalators, the Wild Silk Strings Project and Fem Belling and Joe Ruberto, just to name a few.
Among the best surprises were the little jazz birds in the Innaburra Big Band – slick, professional and a very tight big band sound from some talented young musicians. Man, those kids can syncopate. Their CD for 10 bucks was my best buy of the day.
Frank Bennett’s 5 O’clock Shadow was a big drawcard at Rococo restaurant where people gathered on the footpath to hear those standards that we all love and have heard so many times but never get tired of. As the song goes, ‘happy as a lark, we stayed till after dark’. A spring evening in Noosa is the place to be for all little jazz birds.