Running 11 – 21 May, the award-winning Stonnington Jazz returns for its 12th year to present more extraordinary performances by Australian artists, both established names and those in the early stages of their career, across a wide variety of jazz styles.
Returning as Artistic Director for her second consecutive year, Chelsea Wilson selects her top 5 things to see at the 2017 Festival:
Miriam Makeba Forever!
Chapel Off Chapel: Sunday 14 May
Born in Johannesburg in 1932, Miriam Makeba was a deeply influential vocalist and civil rights activist. Known as Mama Africa, the Grammy Award winner was a pioneer in popularising African music around the world. Across her forty-year career she collaborated with artists including: Nina Simone, Hugh Masekela, Dizzy Gillespie, Paul Simon and Harry Belafonte, producing a body of work that spanned jazz, soul, folk, rhythm and blues and African traditional. For this specially commissioned one-off show, three of Melbourne’s finest vocalists explore and reinterpret the musical work and influence of this extraordinary musician. Backed by a six-piece band made up of members of Public Opinion Afro Orchestra and Royal Swazi Spa – this is a show not to be missed.
Brenton Foster Album Launch: The Nature of Light
Chapel Off Chapel: Saturday 13 May
Written by pianist/composer Brenton Foster, The Nature of Light is inspired by the essence of colour in our everyday world; the way in which the rainbow kaleidoscopic lens through which we view our world is shaped through our emotional, linguistic and learned associations. These fundamental connections between colour perception and symbolism form at an early age and are rarely challenged. Featuring: Brenton Foster (piano), Tom Jovanovic (Trumpet), Gideon Brazil (Saxophone), Nick Pietsch (Trombone), Marty Holoubek (bass), and Aaron McCullough (drums).
Mad Jazz 2: The Road Warriors meets the Shaolin Afronauts
The Astor Theatre: Tuesday 16 May
In a festival exclusive and for one night only, the epic sequel of Australian cult cinema classic Mad Max 2 is re-imagined for a brave new jazz world. The 1981 film is screened at the famous art deco Astor Theatre with a live reinterpreted score created by seminal futurist jazz outfit Shaolin Afronauts. Drawing on a diverse array of musical and other worldly influences the South Australian outfit, has garnered a cult following in Australia and earned them praise from around world with performances across Europe and Japan.
Sandy Evans Trio – Changing Times
Chapel Off Chapel: Saturday 13 May
For one night only, internationally celebrated touring artist, Sandy Evans presents her new work Changing Times with her trio: Brett Hirst (bass), Toby Hall (drums) and special guest Andrea Keller (piano). With the support of an Australia Council Fellowship, Changing Times explores new ideas inspired by Sandy’s engagement with Indian music. The work intercepts Indian rhythms in a contemporary jazz context with a focus on innovative metric conceptions. Prepare to be awestruck with modern mastery, soaring saxophone lines and transcendental rhythms.
Jazz Poetry Slam
Melbourne Bowling Club: Friday 19 May
Art forms collide when literature meets jazz in Australia’s most unique poetry slam! Take the stage to recite your poetry accompanied by some of Melbourne’s best jazz musicians. With no set themes or strict time limits, the festival invites you to explore and let your inner wordsmith emerge. Hosted by Dave Graney, participants will have the chance to win prizes when audiences vote for their favourite poet. With music provided by the Adam Rudegeair Trio, audiences are in for a treat. Witness unleashed creativity and meet new people in the relaxed atmosphere of our slam.
Stonnington Jazz 2017 runs 11 – 21 May. For more information and complete program, visit: www.stonningtonjazz.com.au for details.
Image: Sandy Evans – photo by Roger Mitchell (www.ausjazz.net)