Captain (Ellen) Kirkwood

Captain Ellen Kirkwood (image supplied)

GIG PREVIEWS: Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival, Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, December 11 and 16, 9pm

Sydney launched the Australian jazz community’s attack on misogyny after Julia Gillard’s famous speech, but before Melbs took up the baton this year, but the balance is now being redressed in an onslaught helped along by three women trumpet players. I say “Yay!” to that.

Jessica Carlton

Trumpet player Jessica Carlton (image supplied)

The Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival — which Jeremy Jankie tells me began on 9 December when Andrea Keller and Genevieve Lacey were featured in Three Lanes, continued on 10 December with Margie Lou Dyer’s tribute to Bessie Smith, Lil Hardin, Jelly Roll Morton and Duke Ellington, featuring bassist Tamara Murphy and a premiere performance by talented young trumpeter Jessica Carlton — continues tonight (December 11) when Captain Kirkwood performs at Bennett’s Lane Jazz Club in Melbourne at 8.30pm. Tonight’s gig is a joint presentation by the festival and the Melbourne Jazz Cooperative.

Captain Kirkwood performs.

Captain Kirkwood performs (image supplied)

The band leader is young trumpet player/composer/band leader Ellen Kirkwood, who is the latest recipient of the Jann Rutherford Memorial Award, which assists in the professional development of outstanding young female Australian jazz musicians.

Her line-up comprises Paul Cutlan (saxophones and clarinets), Glenn Doig (piano), New Zealand bassist Tom Botting and Alon Ilsar (drums).

Kirkwood has written an ‘epic’ 40-minute composition inspired by the classic Greek legend of Theseus and the Minotaur, with narration by Ketan Joshi. Their second set will be full of original pieces by Kirkwood and other band members in an evening of what they describe as “dark, weird and grooving jazz”.

Part 2 of Kirkwood’s “Theseus and the Minotaur” suite was recently recorded at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

A young woman trumpet player is also listed to play in this year’s outing by the Women’s Festival Sextet, also co-sponsored by the MJC at Bennetts Lane on Sunday, December 16.

According to the Bennetts Lane website, emerging new talent and VCA graduate and trumpet player Audrey Boyle (who I am told is in Germany) may join Emma Gilmartin (vocals) and Fran Swinn (guitar) along with the sextet’s core rhythm section members Andrea Keller (piano), Tamara Murphy (bass) and Sonja Horbelt (drums) in a performance of original compositions most band members.

Anyone who missed the Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Festival this year should make a point of being at this gig, if only because Keller and Murphy — who each aired significant suites on that occasion — may well unveil some more fantastic pieces. Fran Swinn — known for her spectacular APRA-commissioned piece at last year’s Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival — may even bring a circus aerialist, though I doubt there would be room on this occasion.

Patrons will also have a chance to quiz Sonja Horbelt about what may pop up on the program at the 2013 Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival.

And now, given my proven inability to accurately record the gigs forming part of the MWIJF, I’ll return to repairing windows, filling and sanding.

Other MIJF gigs at Bennetts Lane, as far as I can tell, are as follows:

Olivia Chindamo with Joe Chindamo Trio, Wednesday 12 December 2012, 8:30pm

Marialy Pacheco Trio, Thursday 13 December 2012, 8:30pm (CD Launch)

Chantal Mitvalsky Band, Friday 14 December 2012, 8:30pm

Michelle Nicolle and Paul Williamson Quartet, Saturday 15 December at 8.30pm

Xani Kolac and The Twoks, Saturday 15 December at 8.30pm


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