Tag Archives: Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival

No Mildlife crisis for women’s festival

SNAP PREVIEW

Sumire Kuribayashi on piano at Wangaratta during her visit to Australia in 2018. Image: Roger Mitchell

Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival 2022
Sunday 4 December – to Sunday 11 December
The Jazzlab, Leslie St, Brunswick

Kudos to Sonja Horbelt and Lynette Irwin for presenting what the founder of the MWIJF, Martin Jackson, has described as “one of the strongest programs in the festival’s 24-year history”, starting today for a week.

There’s a lot of music on offer, including international talent including pianist and composer from Japan, Sumire Kuribayashi, lots of gigs with opening sets and the opportunity to hear emerging musicians along with established players such as Sandy Evans and Morgana.

What’s more, there’s not much chance that ARIA-award-winning Mildlife will be doing a live concert on the coast to confuse everybody about what really is jazz.

Details are available on the MWIJF website and also via The Jazzlab, but it may be useful to mention some highlights.

The fun begins at 3pm today when well known pianist/composer Monique diMattina presents STELLA, which draws on the extraordinary life story of Australian writer Miles Franklin and features an impressive line-up of musicians.

Then, at 7.30pm Sumire Kuribayashi will be joined by Sam Anning double bass and Kyrie Anderson drums after an opening set by saxophonist Gen Kuner’s quartet.

For those who have stayed up late or arisen early for sporting events questionably staged in Qatar, Claire Cross’s score entitled Sleep Cycle (Monday 5 December at 7.30pm), informed by graphs of brain waves recorded during phases of sleep, may be restorative. It’s exploring “the radical act of self-care in an age of hyper-productivity”. The opening set will feature ethereal soundscapes created by Ashley Ballat trumpet and Ollie Cox drums and percussion.

Sumire Kuribayashi returns on Tuesday 6 December at 7.30pm with two ensembles of Monash University students.

In a family-friendly matinee at 11.30am Wednesday, babies and toddlers will be welcome at the hugely successful Nat Bartsch’s concert Lullabies, which blends neoclassical piano and melodic improvisation with music therapy research.

Tertiary students from Monash university, Melbourne Polytechnic, and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music will feature in the opener at 7.30pm, celebrating the music of Australian composers Vanessa Perica, Jenna Cave, Andrea Keller and Nadje Noordhuis. They will be followed on stage by Lucy Clifford on electric bass for some “symbiotic rhythms and pulses that interlock with all things motion, stillness and freedom”, ably aided by Phil Noy tenor sax, Andrea Keller piano and Darryn Farrugia drums.

On Thursday 8 December at 7.30pm, UK vocalist Anita Wardell joins Australian pianist Dave McEvoy to launch their duo album Star, which explores “love and loss, the vulnerability of human experience and the vast expanse of sky”. The opening set of jazz/blues grooves will feature StAT, comprising Stella Anning guitar, Claire Cross bass and Joshua Barber drums.

The stage will be richly laden with well-known names on Friday 9 December at 7.30pm when Rebecca Barnard and The d’Affinois (nothing cheesy here) launch of her fourth solo album The Night we Called it a Day of jazz standards, by artists such as Hoagy Charmichael, dating back to 1933. The luminous line-up will comprise Monique diMattina piano, Sam Lemann guitar, Ben Robertson bass, Paul Williamson sax and Mat Jodrell on trumpet. The opening set will feature Sunny Reyne’s lush vocals, synth-laden sounds and disjointed grooves.

For those, like me, who missed the opportunity to hear the re-formed incarnation of quintet Morgana during the Melbourne International Jazz festival, they’ll perform on Saturday 10 December after opening sets from 7.30pm by Mia in Motion and then the amazing saxophonist Sandy Evans in a duo with the spectacular Andrea Keller. In Morgana, Keller will join four of the five original members – Lisa Young voice, Fiona Burnett soprano saxophone, Annette Yates double bass and Sonja Horbelt drums.

From 11pm there’ll be an opportunity for female and non-binary musicians and vocalists to play in the session dubbed “Jam & hang”.

Gender will also be front of mind at 4pm on the final Sunday of the MWIJF when Andrea Keller, Head of Jazz & Improvisation at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, brings us Gender Defying Jazz, previously known as Girls Do Jazz. This live performance with saxophonist Sandy Evans will showcase the outcomes of six term 4 workshops.

The fortifying impact of significant female relationships will be explored in a suite premiered on the Sunday night by vocalist Louisa Rankin along with an impressive line-up of Angela Davis alto saxophone, Paul Williamson trumpet, Andrea Keller piano, Fran Swinn guitar, Tom Lee double bass and James McLean drums. This outing will be preceded by an opening set at 7.30pm in which UK-based pianist Meg Morley performs new music from her trio albums and also revisits her debut piano release from 2018, Through the Hours.

It’s great to have the MWIJF back on the stage with such a feast of music.

ROGER MITCHELL

ENJOY WOMEN AT WORK

Julia Bebenek

Julia Bebenek with Lijuka at The Jazzlab in December 2017.

PREVIEW:

Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival 2018

It’s time to once again do what we ought to be doing all year — celebrating the importance and contribution of women in the valuable work of making music, especially jazz. Melbourne and Sydney have excellent festivals to help us enjoy the work of women composers and improvisers, so let’s support these gigs.

I was unable to make the first two performances at this year’s MWIJF, which was a pity. But here is a rundown of what’s on from now until closing night on 9 December.

This is a small festival, yet there is nevertheless a clash (no festival is ever without one). So on Friday 7 December you’ll have to choose between Sandy Evans at The Salon and Kon Shes a little later at The Jazzlab.

I’m particularly looking forward to hearing Lijuka, the trio that won last year’s MWIJF recording prize. They’re playing in a double bill with Girls Do Jazz on 9 December.

All these gigs are reasonably priced so take the opportunity to hear great musicians at work.

ROGER MITCHELL

Now here’s what’s on:

Tuesday 4 December, 7pm, The Jazzlab, $20/15
Student Night

Young musicians from Mac.Robertson Girls High School, Ruyton Girls School and Siena College play traditional and contemporary big band music.

Wednesday 5 December, 8pm, The Jazzlab, $20/15
Double Bill:
Merinda Dias-Jayasinha Trio (Qld)

Vocalist Merinda Dias-Jayasinha joined by Theo Carbo (guitar) and Isaac Gunnoo (double bass) presents a set of original music (plus a standard or two) exploring streams of consciousness, and the states between reality and dreams.

Claire Cross – Moving Targets

Composer/bassist Claire Cross is joined by Tom Noonan alto saxophone, Harry Cook keys and Tommy Harrison drums to present Moving Targets, a project that explores stress, love, lust and loss through lyrical and unpredictable compositions. Blending folk idioms with contemporary jazz harmony the compositions will explore the transient nature of feelings.

Thursday 6 December 8pm, The Jazzlab, $20/15
Jam Jar CD launch

Energetic Melbourne trad jazz band Jam Jar offer an upbeat repertoire of original songs and beloved standards influenced by Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and local bands The Red Onion Band and The Hoodangers. Their self-titled debut album is a lighthearted commentary on the apathy and anxieties of modern life and a yearning for a romanticised past. Expect toe-tapping tunes.

Jam Jar is Ellie Lamb trombone/vocals, Lauren Mullarvey clarinet/vocals, Bryce Turcato horn/vocals, Fiona Steele banjo, Tom Young double bass and Sean Newell drums

Friday 7 December 7pm, The Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre, $30/25
Sandy Evans – Heart Rhythm Love (Syd/Melb)

Co-presented by the Melbourne Jazz Co-operative, the world premiere of Heart|Rhythm|Love will take the listener on a beautiful, thrilling and dynamic journey, seamlessly interweaving influences from Indian music and jazz in a joyous celebration.

The composer of this work, written and performed in honour of mridangam virtuoso Guru Kaaraikudi Mani, is Sandy Evans on saxophones. She is joined by Tripataka (Adrian Sherriff bass trombone, Jonathan Dimond electric bass guitar, Adam King drums) and Sai‐Sarangan Ravichandhira on mridangam.

Friday 7 December 8pm, The Jazzlab, $30/25
World premiere of Kon Shes (Aus/Sth Africa/Korea)

Fem Belling (vocals & electric violin) brings five of Melbourne’s finest musicians – Mina Yu piano, Tamara Murphy bass, Chelsea Allen drums and Angela Davis alto saxophone – to a new project combining live performance, political prose and the primal magic of music. The performance aims to increase the visibility of women in music in Australia and contribute to a larger voice of a social consciousness.

Saturday 8 December 8pm, The Jazzlab, $30/25
Harriett Allcroft CD launch – “Archie”

Harriett Allcroft (voice) launches her debut album Archie. It was recorded with James Bowers (piano), Tamara Murphy (bass), Kieran Rafferty (drums) and Shaun Rammers (tenor saxophone) this year, but Sam Keevers will be at the keyboard for this outing.

Expect infectious grooves and clever lyrics that make the brain tick.

Saturday 8 December 8, The Jazzlab, 11pm free entry
Festival Club – Jam session and general hang
This is a chance for female and non-binary musicians and vocalists to play in the jam session, or just plain hang out and connect with other musicians. In house PA, piano, bass amp, guitar amp and kit provided. All artforms welcome – jazz, trad, pop, funk, contemporary.

Sunday 9 December 3.30pm, The Jazzlab, free entry
Girls Do Jazz Secondary Program Concert

This concert showcases the work of The Girls Do Jazz workshop series, led by Andrea Keller, ran monthly over five Sundays in semester 2, 2018. Along with MCM alumni tutors, and undergraduate volunteers, the students engaged in jazz and improvisation studies covering free improvisation, the American songbook and compositions by contemporary Australian jazz musicians. This free concert showcases what they’ve been up to!

Lijuka: Katrina Owen, Libby Ferris and Julia Bebenek

Lijuka: Katrina Owen, Libby Ferris and Julia Bebenek

Sunday 9 December 7pm, The Jazzlab, $20/15
Double Bill:
Lijuka launch their debut single Registaan

Don’t miss the winners of the 2017 MWIJF Recording Prize, Lijuka. This band featuring Katrina Owen on saxophone and vocals, Libby Ferris on guitar and vocals, and Julia Bebenek on drum kit/vocals, returns to The Jazzlab to play original songs featuring acoustic and electronic sounds combined with live-looping. The gig will feature songs from their recent audio-visual work ‘Macro/Microcosm’ which debuted at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Lijuka would like to thank Myles Mumford (Rolling Stock Recording Rooms), and MWIJF for making this event possible.

Kathleen Halloran with Girls Do Jazz at the MWIJF 2017

Kathleen Halloran with Girls Do Jazz at the MWIJF 2017

Girls Do Jazz VCA
Girls Do Jazz is a jazz ensemble comprised of current Jazz & Improvisation students at the Victorian College of the Arts. The ensemble is led by Andrea Keller, Lecturer in Jazz & Improvisation at the VCA/MCM. From varied musical backgrounds, the members of Girls Do Jazz unite in celebration of female musicianship, with an emphasis on Australian contemporary jazz repertoire.

The line-up is Bella Winter on alto/soprano saxophones, Jade Nye on alto saxophone, Steph Fels on trombone, Alex Rindfleish on piano, Ross Anderson on bass and Ollie Cox on drums.

TWO BIRDS PLUS THREE

Kathleen Halloran

Kathleen Halloran

Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival 2017
Kathleen Halloran guitar, Kim May bass, Darryn Farrugia drums
Two Birds Brewing, 3pm-5pm, November 26, 2017

What a wonderful venue for a Sunday afternoon gig.

Despite living in Melbourne’s western suburbs for many years I have never made it to Two Birds Brewing in Spotswood. On this occasion I was busy cleaning and moving furniture and could only catch the last few pieces by this trio, but the music and the venue made me want to return. The trio played original compositions by Kathleen Halloran and the other band members, Kim May on bass and Darryn Farrugia on drums.

In the performance space, where patrons can enjoy food and the excellent array of Two Birds brews, including Double Sunset, there is a large mural featuring the West Gate Bridge.

Halloran is a guitarist based in Melbourne. At 22, she has over six years’ experience as a working musician, including professional music theatre and also international work with Broadway vocalist Brad Little.

She has performed alongside Australian artists including Kate Ceberano, Kate Miller Heidke, Tim Rogers, Tex Perkins, Jen Cloher and Harry Angus (Cat Empire).

Halloran will perform again in the MWIJF at The Jazzlab on Sunday, December 3 with SPIRE ensemble. The second set will feature Girls Do Jazz.

Below are a few images from this free concert.

Roger Mitchell