PREVIEW: Perth International Jazz Festival, Friday 24 May to Sunday 26 May, 2013
If you’ve never heard of this festival, that’s because this is the first. Co-owner of the Ellington Jazz Club Graham Wood, who is also Program Director of Music at the WA Academy of Performing Arts, has planned the festival as an extension of the club, though PIJF is a not-for-profit incorporated association.
The festival has an illustrious artistic sub-committee comprising Jamie Oehlers (Head of Jazz at WAPA), Johannes Leubbers (President of Perth Jazz Society), Mace Francis (Musical Director WA Youth Jazz Orchestra) and Pete Jeavons (General Manager JAZZWA).
PIJF aims to become nationally and internationally acclaimed as one Australia’s best Jazz festivals within five years. The three-day festival hopes to attract 15,000 people to paid and free events. More than 40 performances will be presented over seven stages — The Perth Concert Hall, Bishop’s Gardens, Perth Cultural Centre, Brookfield Place, Weld Square, Barrack Square and The Ellington Jazz Club.
The only Jazz festival in Western Australia, PIJF is intended as a regular event in Perth’s cultural calendar and a source of long-term cultural and economic return. There will be an educational component and PIJF provides access for diverse and disadvantaged sections of the community.
The major headline act for the inaugural festival is saxophonist Joe Lovano, who has eight Grammy Award nominations (winning in 2001 for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album), is signed to the famous Blue Note record label and has worked with some of the biggest names in international jazz. He will perform in a headline concert with four-time Aria Award winning vocalists Katie Noonan and Vince Jones at the Perth Concert Hall on Saturday 25 May at 7.30pm.
Lovano will open the evening with a set accompanied by Perth musicians Sam Anning (now living in New York) on bass, Ben Vanderwal on drums and Tal Cohen on piano.
Lovano collaborated with Noonan on her 2009 ARIA Award-winning release Blackbird. After a few numbers with Lovano, Noonan will perform music from her album Elixir featuring Steve Magnusson (guitar) and Zac Hurren (saxophones). Noonan will also perform duets with celebrated vocalist Vince Jones, with whom she worked on Songs of Love and War.Noonan and Jones will be backed by a trio led by pianist Matt McMahon (piano).
In a media release, PIJF Artistic Director, Associate Professor Graham Wood said, “I’m genuinely excited to hear and see such an amazing selection of musicians performing, as well as collaborating, for the Lovano/Noonan/Jones concert. To see artists of this calibre as headline acts on separate concerts would be sensational, but to combine them on the one bill headlining PIJF will provide a rare experience that promises to be extraordinary.”
Other artists on the program include the cutting edge Kneebody (USA), guitarist Gilad Hekselman (Israel/USA) and gypsy jazz from the UK guitarist Hank Marvin. Some of Perth’s favourite sons, now based overseas, who are returning to help celebrate include bassist Sam Anning, saxophonists Troy Roberts and Brandon Allen and eclectic trio ‘The Grid’ (featuring Tim Jago, Dane Alderson and Ben Vanderwal), and fusion supergroup ‘VOID’.
And of course there are many award-winning, highly acclaimed local artists such as Jamie Oehlers, Tom O’Halloran Trio, Mace Francis Orchestra, Johannes Luebbers Dectet, Russell Holmes Trio, Tal Cohen Quartet and Libby Hammer.
Good luck to the inaugural Perth International Jazz Festival!
Tickets for the headline concert ($80, concession $60) on sale now through Ticketek 1300 795 012