International stars and local legends descend into Sydney for the 9th International Women’s Jazz Festival

This year, the co-artistic director’s Zoe Hauptmann and Peter Rechniewski have upped the Australian stakes. Legendary First Nations singer Wilma Reading, whose dazzling international career boasts collaborations with legends like Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson and Ray Brown, will open the festival on November 2nd before it  welcomes artists from Brazil, the U.S and Canada. Touring Australian ensembles from the south and the west will join local artists, making this the most comprehensive program the festival has produced to date.  

Lakecia Benjamin, who shared stages with Stevie Wonder, Macy Gray and Alicia Keys, and 24 year old superstar vocalist Veronica Swift, who toured with Wynton Marsalis and placed second at the prestigious Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition will represent the U.S. Benjamin will play her original funk and soul repertoire in small ensemble as well as working as Artist- In-Residence with Pharos (formally Sydney Women’s Jazz Collective) led by bassist Hannah James. The ensemble will perform arrangements of Benjamin’s compositions alongside works specifically written for the ten-piece ensemble.

 After the recent death of bossa-nova giant João Gilberto, São Paulo native Anna Setton revives the romantic spirit and rich tradition of Brazilian music with her touring trio. Her performances closes a full day of free festivities at Bondi Pavilion including a free Latin Rhythms and Cajon workshop, performances and DJ’s courtesy of Beach Road Radio.

Canadian saxophone composer Chelsea McBride will perform her bustling, ecstatic compositions for big band alongside the Divergence Jazz Orchestra, a group conducted by the award-winning Sydney composer and bandleader Jenna Cave, lovers of big band will also enjoy the inclusion of Bell’s Hall of Famer and national treasure Judy Bailey leading her 17-piece Jazz Connection Orchestra.

On the Australian front, classically trained jazz pianist Zela Margossian will explore the intersection of jazz and folk music from her native Armenia in a live recording at Studios 301, and interstate artists Gemma Farrell (WA) and Tamara Murphy (VIC) will tour with their full ensembles.

A FREE outdoor event at Joynton Ave Creative Centre in Green Square will feature  ABC TV’s Playschool Justine Clarke, Mary Heart and ensembles from UNSW.

The festival will also host a performance by the winner of the 2019 Jann Rutherford Memorial Award, guitarist Hilary Geddes Quartet.

Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival November 2 to 17

Bondi Pavilion, Pier One, Foundry616, Venue 505, The Newsagency, Joynton Ave Creative Centre & Studios 301

Bookings and program information  or telephone SIMA on 02 9036 6292.

Tickets: $49 – $15 FREE EVENTS and special concessions for under 30.