David Paquette // Festival Director

David Paquette was born in Connecticut, but was introduced to the music of New Orleans at an early age. His parents took him on regular family holidays to the home of Jazz and they were among the first visitors to the Preservation Hall when it opened. Both parents had musical connections and David got the chance to listen in on jam sessions at the Paquette home. With houseguests like Kid Sheik, Louis Nelson, Sammy Penn, Billie and Dede Pierce, John Handy and Kid Thomas Valentine, David was able to observe great artists at close quarters.

It was no surprise then, when David transferred from Wagner College in New York to Louisiana State University to further his education. It was not long before he was spending most of his time at Pat O’Brien’s bar in the French Quarter. While in New Orleans he met cult figure, Roosevelt Sykes. It was Roosevelt who convinced David to follow the path of a professional musician.

This path took him from New Orleans to Colorado, where he did a stint playing ski resorts, and then on to San Francisco in the early 70s. He scored a steady gig at the Boarding House, where he opened for Dr John and Taj Mahal, as well as Bette Midler, and the Pointer Sisters.

A holiday in Hawaii led to a ten year residency at the Pioneer Inn on Maui. He shared the spotlight with Maria Muldaur, Bonnie Raitt, Kenny Loggins, Turk Murphy and Trummy Young. He released his first album, which was produced by John McVie of Fleetwood Mac.

Since 1983 David has toured extensively - playing several New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festivals, establishing himself on the European circuit and visiting Australia, Indonesia, Mauritius and Bulgaria. Also in the eighties he came to New Zealand to play and ended up settling here. Experience gained while touring gave him the impetus and connections to launch a Jazz Festival on Waiheke Island, which has been his home since 1991. The festival has become a 5 day extravaganza showcasing some fabulous international jazz musicians and attracting over 20,000 fans annually.

David still manages to tour Europe each year. In 1999 he played the Nice Festival alongside Tony Bennett, Joe Cocker and Phil Collins. Other highlights were a show at a casino in Poland and playing on a riverboat on the Danube. In 2000 David played the prestigious solo gig in the Cloisters at the Bayonne Festival and several other festivals with Les Harricots Rouge as well his own band in Ascona. In 2001 the highlights of his European Festival appearances were playing with the headlining Philips Allstars at the Eindhoven Festival and playing a smash hit concert at the Périgueux Festival. In 2002 after seasons in Sydney, Hawaii and Switzerland, David returned to Périgueux for the Festival and played a number of other French Festivals. He repeated the experience in 2003.

Engagements in New Zealand have included the Toast Martinborough Festival at Ata Rangi and a residency at the Regent Hotel in Auckland for some years. He hosted 'On the Offbeat' a series of jazz programs on National Radio. He has also performed with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra at the Taranaki Arts Festival, with the Aotea Synphony for the Childrens' Cancer Foundation and the Devonport Food and Wine Festival amongst other prestigious events around the country.

David also plays regular concerts on Waiheke in and for the Whittaker's Musical Museum of which he is a trustee. The album, 'The Waiheke Sessions' was recorded live at one of these concerts.

This is a recording career that encompasses more than 45 albums. His CD "That Old Feeling" was awarded the prestigious "Hot Club of France Album of the Year" for 2000. Currently, David has a series of 'duo' albums recorded with George Washingmachine (violin), Patrick Artero (trumpet) and David Torkanowsky (piano). Recently David has recorded a CD with Waso, one of the highlight groups of 2003's Waiheke Island Jazz Festival; and more recently a solo CD has been released entitled "Blue Ear".

2003 was an exciting year for David with a request, accepted, to be the Artistic Director of 'Jazz on Ponsonby', held in Auckland. This was a resounding success, and a true example of his ability to choose and work with some of New Zealand's foremost Jazz artists.

David directed and performed at the Montana International Jazz n' Blues Fest 04, held on Waiheke Island and at The Auckland Town Hall, Auckland's premier concert venue over the long Easter weekend 8th - 12th April 2004.

He spent the following six months playing the famous Delta Beach Hotel, Switzerland and the Ascona Jazz Festival.

A jaunt at Sydney Australia's Four Seasons brings another fabulous year to a close for David with just enough time to catch his breath and do it all again.

// Promotional Photos & Biography of David Paquette (4MB .ZIP)

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