The Emerging Jazz Festival aims to give artists a place where their ideas and work are discussed, explored and celebrated by the jazz community and a broader audience.

“I feel it is time for the jazz sector to move forward and try something new. What could be more fresh and exciting than starting a festival that puts a spotlight on emerging artists and their big artistic and research ideas? We are envisioning an engaging festival full of discussion, artistic and knowledge exchange. Emerging artists form the backbone of the Australian jazz sector. They are full of great ideas, creative energy and open to artistic experimentation, which excites us at the EJF. Now it is up to us to get them the exposure and audience they deserve!” (Dominik Safari)

The idea of the Emerging Jazz Festival (EJF) was born out of an analysis of the jazz sector in Victoria, which forms part of Dominik Safari’s PhD research at the University of Melbourne. One area that is missing in Victoria’s jazz sector is a space, festival or club that is dedicated to showcasing emerging jazz artists, their artistic works or academic research.

The EJF believes that the jazz sector is an ecosystem of musical, academic and industry people as well as organisations with the common goal of promoting and developing jazz across Australia. The festival showcases not only emerging talent, but the relationship between their music and how it both informs and is informed by education, research and performance. We hope to bring a sense of discovery to audiences, support to musicians, and a little enlightenment to the sector.

The 2016 Inaugural EJF will highlight both the academic and performance aspects of emerging work. The program will present some of Melbourne’s leading emerging artists through the lens of engaging performances, workshops and discussion panels.

The artistic program curated by Arlene Fletcher features a range of artists that represent a contribution to emerging work in the Australian Jazz Scene. Specifically, performances James Bower’s Wendy, Matt Hoyne Trio, James McLean’s Blind Spot, Arlene Fletcher Trio, Audrey Powne Quartet, Sugarfoot Ramblers, Barney McAll’s Non Compliance, Catanchin & Chindamo sing Simon & Garfunkel and masters Tony Gould and John Hoffman as they lead the elected Emerging Artist Feature.

This festival shines a light on the collaboration between students and mentors through the Emerging Artist Initiative celebrated on the final evening as a collaboration between Josh Kelly and Stephen Magnusson.

“I think this is a perfect time for emerging artists to present their work. It comes at a start of a new year and means that the jazz scene can be injected with a fresh perspective on what jazz means to them and express how they are influenced by our Australian jazz ecosystem in a creative way. It would be great to see a range of audiences and a range of musicians and artists coming together to celebrate the potential of this festival as a permanent place in the scene. I also envision this to be the start of many more concerts, discussions, masterclasses and mentorships held by the EJF.” (Arlene Fletcher)

In addition to the music performances, EJF offers professional development workshops for the broader workforce of the jazz sector ranging from Digital Media Management, to Artist & Product Development and Grant Seeking & Writing.  These workshops are delivered by high-profile academics and music industry professionals from Melbourne and Monash University, RMIT and Creative Victoria.

The link between academic and performance will be scoped through the Big Ideas night hosted by Paul Williamson (Monash University). The emerging artists Tim Willis, Sam McAuliffe, and Joseph O’Connor will take the audience on a journey through their current jazz research and performance.

Artists, arts managers and governments are integral parts of this ever-changing jazz sector environment and therefore need to work on cultural and arts policy that enables long-term sustainability and prosperity of contemporary live music. The EJF wants to open up the discussion of cultural policy with regard to the jazz sector. In order for the jazz community to have a say in future policy development, EJF presents a Cultural Policy Discussion Panel featuring key policy makers and researchers including Amanda Coles (Melbourne University), Fotis Kapetopoulos (Development Manager Melbourne International Jazz Festival), Andy Miller (General Manager Multicultural Arts Victoria), Judy Morton (Policy Researcher Creative Victoria) and John Smithies (Director Cultural Development Network).

Date: From Sunday 21st February – Sunday 28th February 2016
Venue: Bennetts Lane Jazz Club

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