Jazz can happen anywhere
Melbourne International Jazz Festival Artistic Director, Michael Tortoni, says that this year’s festival illustrates that jazz is the common ground that brings together a diversity of artists, genres and experiences.
Returning for its twenty-first year, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival is presenting over 100 events over ten days featuring nearly 400 Australian, international and emerging artists. The venues will range Hamer Hall to intimate clubs, café gigs and free festival community events including Jazz Massive – a huge participatory mass-music making event on the lawns of State Library Victoria.
“This year our program focuses on the waves of influence that jazz has – both within itself and also the influence it has on other music genres. We are really excited to showcase some of the future directions of this vital and ever-evolving artform,” said Tortoni.
The 2018 program features legend Maceo Parker (USA) paying tribute to Ray Charles, jazz-blues chanteuse Madeleine Peyroux (USA), the (inter)stellar Sun Ra Arkestra (USA) and the irrepressibly energetic Yemen Blues (USA); plus modern masters such as Branford Marsalis (USA), Gretchen Parlato (USA), Christian McBride (USA) and Terri Lyne Carrington (USA); alongside future masters such as Nubya Garcia (UK) and Francesco Cafiso (Italy).
Some of the outstanding Australian artists showcased in the festival program, include The Others – a new collaboration between Paul Grabowsky AO, James Morrison and Kram; Harry James Angus’ new project, Struggle With Glory; and Brenton Foster as the recipient of the PBS Young Elder of Jazz Commission.
Melbourne-based Barney McAll will premiere two works: Trilogy of Cycles at Birrarung Marr’s Federation Bells and Sweet Sweet Spirit featuring music by the great gospel composer Doris Akers at Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre.
The festival’s international exchange program with the Tokyo and Singapore jazz festivals is supporting the development and world premiere of The Gravity Project, which brings together contemporary Japanese and Australian improvisers Paul Grabowsky AO, Masaki Nakamura, Kuniko Obina and Aaron Choulai and the Chok Kerong Trio from Singapore.