Fun small town times for touring orchestra

Six-piece orchestra targets out-of-the-way destinations.

Six-piece orchestra targets out-of-the-way destinations.

EPIC JOURNEY: Members of Miho’s Jazz Orchestra will get as far as Gore before they turn around and head back up the country on the 27-date tour that this weekend brings them to Gisborne. Picture supplied

IN Waimuku their hosts spelled out their name in bunting flags. In Whangarei the venue was a riverside theatre with a golden parquet floor. The stage they played on in Auckland was flanked on three sides by boards bearing inspirational phrases. In Coromandel, Kauaeranga and Whitianga they performed in bowling clubs and classic small-town halls. And they’ll do the same in Opotiki tomorrow before they on Saturday arrive in Gisborne.

As they wend their way down the island it’s been a tour of heartland experiences for Miho’s Jazz Orchestra and, says “punk flute ninja” frontwoman Miho Wada, that’s exactly what they’d hoped for.

The band members were stoked to be selected as one of 10 Creative New Zealand-sponsored Arts On Tour acts for the year, she says.

“So we’re super-excited to be touring our brand new album Bumpy Road on our fun-packed, exciting national tour.”

Together, the six-piece last month held a formal launch for the album in Auckland but for the rest of the tour they’re targeting out-of-the-way destinations.

It certainly has been a change of scene for Japanese-born New Zealander Wada (flute/alto saxophone), whose experiences to date have included studying flute at the University of Canterbury, being spotted in London by violin superstar Nigel Kennedy and later performing in a jazz trio with him, and playing with Iggy Pop (ever heard The Passenger done on flute and piano?) and Jarvis Cocker.

To say she leans to the pop-rock side of classical would be an understatement and, by the time she six years ago returned to New Zealand, Wada had also developed a fondness – and a talent – for Latin music. That’s where descriptions like “Afro-Cuban flute meets J-Pop” come in.

Back in New Zealand, however, she formed punk-rock-ska ensemble Miho Wada and the Shit Fight, which toured extensively before 2011 when she again shifted focus to compile the pint-sized Jazz Orchestra that tours to this day.

  • Miho’s Jazz Orchestra plays The Dome Room on Saturday.

IN Waimuku their hosts spelled out their name in bunting flags. In Whangarei the venue was a riverside theatre with a golden parquet floor. The stage they played on in Auckland was flanked on three sides by boards bearing inspirational phrases. In Coromandel, Kauaeranga and Whitianga they performed in bowling clubs and classic small-town halls. And they’ll do the same in Opotiki tomorrow before they on Saturday arrive in Gisborne.

As they wend their way down the island it’s been a tour of heartland experiences for Miho’s Jazz Orchestra and, says “punk flute ninja” frontwoman Miho Wada, that’s exactly what they’d hoped for.

The band members were stoked to be selected as one of 10 Creative New Zealand-sponsored Arts On Tour acts for the year, she says.

“So we’re super-excited to be touring our brand new album Bumpy Road on our fun-packed, exciting national tour.”

Together, the six-piece last month held a formal launch for the album in Auckland but for the rest of the tour they’re targeting out-of-the-way destinations.

It certainly has been a change of scene for Japanese-born New Zealander Wada (flute/alto saxophone), whose experiences to date have included studying flute at the University of Canterbury, being spotted in London by violin superstar Nigel Kennedy and later performing in a jazz trio with him, and playing with Iggy Pop (ever heard The Passenger done on flute and piano?) and Jarvis Cocker.

To say she leans to the pop-rock side of classical would be an understatement and, by the time she six years ago returned to New Zealand, Wada had also developed a fondness – and a talent – for Latin music. That’s where descriptions like “Afro-Cuban flute meets J-Pop” come in.

Back in New Zealand, however, she formed punk-rock-ska ensemble Miho Wada and the Shit Fight, which toured extensively before 2011 when she again shifted focus to compile the pint-sized Jazz Orchestra that tours to this day.

  • Miho’s Jazz Orchestra plays The Dome Room on Saturday.

Miho’s Jazz Orchestra is made up of:

Miho Wada (flute, alto sax, tenor sax)

Pascal Roggen (violin, electric violin)

James Donaldson (cello)

Andrew Rudolph (guitars)

Leo Corso (bass)

Jared Desvaux de Marigny (drums)

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