The person who invented the modern outdoors music festival was a meteorological optimist.

The seventeenth Darling Harbour Jazz & Blues Festival began in torrential rain and howling wind and then the weather really closed in. Eight acts were cancelled. One of the four stages was moved under an awning able to accommodate a small audience, and one could more or less enjoy the quality music made by the Sydney Conservatorium jazz students; more or less, because there was sound bleeding from the Tumblong Park venue, and a loud, constant “whoosh” from water jets. These could surely have been switched off.

Nonetheless, there was much merit in music from pianist Daniel Ross’s quartet, and from guitarist David de Vries’s septet, Medium Brown. The latter’s slow grooves and serpentine melodies underscored the breadth of the students’ endeavours, and had fine solos from trumpeter Nick Garbett.

The jazz studies boss, the bassist Craig Scott, led a cross-generational band, including long-time colleague Warwick Alder on trumpet, and budding stars Tim Stocker (saxophone), Tim Fisher (piano) and Tim Firth (drums). Amid the sizzling hard-bop Alder showed how good he is at soft contours and gentle lines (Soul Eyes), as well as his trademark scything, hurtling solos.

Read the full review on The Sydney Morning Herald website.

Hash Varsani is the owner of The Jazz Directory, a network of sites related to jazz, travel and everything else he loves. He also runs a selection of jazz related sites including Jazz Club Jury, a jazz club and festival review site. Check out his Google+ Profile, to see what else he's up to...probably setting up another website from one of his many passions.