PICTORIAL UPDATE: Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Saturday 31 May, 2014 at The Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre
Festivals are about more than just providing a feast of music. Through masterclasses and conversation sessions they perform an educative role — for lovers of music and students taking the rocky road to becoming working musicians.
Over recent years it has been hard to keep count of how many young Australian jazz musicians have moved to New York City or to cities in Europe to study and gain experience. Many return only on visits. It’s fair to say these musicians are a significant export.
At The Salon yesterday evening as part of Explorations in Jazz, three groups of Monash University students from the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music had a chance to show what they had learned in some intensive one-hour sessions with visiting jazz greats Charles Lloyd, Reuben Rogers and Eric Harland.
Melbourne International Jazz Festival artistic director Michael Tortoni opened proceedings and had a chance to hear the result before heading to the Reverence Hotel in Footscray, where the Horns of Leroy were performing as part the MIJF’s first foray out in Melbourne’s western suburbs.
Associate Professor Rob Burke then introduced Charles Lloyd, who spoke briefly about the time he, Rogers and Harland had spent with the students and about jazz as “music of freedom and wonder”.
Then each group played two Lloyd tunes — Fish Out of Water, Blow Wind, Little Peace, Passing Through, Sweet Georgia Bright and Forest Flower.
Group 2 had the advantage of being joined by Rogers and Harland, which really provided a solid foundation and kept things moving.
This was a short concert, but its effect will no doubt linger for these young musicians.
Audiences of the future will reap the benefits of insights gathered during the learning and the performing by these students, who have had another valued opportunity to work with experienced mentors in improvised music.