The 2015 Melbourne International Jazz Festival (MIJF) is set to warm up the city in midwinter with an incredible program featuring some of the world’s most important and iconic jazz artists, genre bending innovators, virtuosic instrumentalists and soulful singers.
The rich 2015 program brings jazz into the heart of the city with intimate club gigs, late-night art parties, film screenings, conversations, workshops, events for families and children and a wide range of free events.
According to Michael Tortoni, MIJF Artistic Director, jazz is the most important artform of the 21st century, “Jazz continues to be a vital contemporary artfom that is constantly evolving – which is strongly reflected in this year’s program featuring a stunning array of artists from across the globe.”
Shining a light on some extraordinary musical collaborations, the 2015 MIJF program celebrates long established and newly formed connections such as the opening night performance featuring two jazz legends: Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock; and the closing night concert celebrating the spirit of New Orleans showcasing vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater and trumpeter Irvin Mayfield with the 15-piece New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.
Italy’s piano virtuoso Stefano Bollani collaborates with Brazil’s master of the bandolim Hamilton de Holanda in a joyous duo performance of Latin American music, while four heavyweights of modern jazz (Joe Lovano, Paul Grabowsky, Phil Rex and Dave Beck) unite for a series of rare intimate club sessions.
The 2015 MIJF program also plays on the notion of fusing musical worlds – jazz meets symphony as charismatic jazz vocalist Kurt Elling joins forces with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, while ground-breaking Puerto Rican saxophonist Miguel Zenón pairs his Latin roots with contemporary jazz compositions in his dynamic new big band work Identities are Changeable.
The Festival also sees the world premiere of Nyilipidgi by Paul Grabowsky – a new work blending the musical heritage of Australia’s first people with cutting edge compositions and improvisations by some of the leading figures in the Australian contemporary music scene.
Following on from the 2015 MIJF Summer Sessions which featured leading pianists Jef Neve, Tal Cohen and Hue Blanes, this year’s MIJF program further highlights the importance of piano to the jazz idiom. As well jazz piano pioneers Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock and emerging European master, Stefano Bollani, MIJF warmly welcomes back Tord Gustavsen with his quartet and Barney McAll who launches his latest album Mooroolbark.
MIJF also celebrates the achievements of Freedman Fellowship recipient Marc Hannaford by presenting his quartet of local and international collaborators (Ellery Eskelin, Scott Tinkler and Tom Rainey) at the fore of contemporary music making.
The 2015 Melbourne International Jazz Festival runs 28 May to 7 June. For more information, visit: www.melbournejazz.com for details.
Image: Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea (Copenhagen 1978) – photo by Jan Persson