2016 Melbourne International Jazz Festival program announced

MIJF 2016 The Vampires photo by Karen SteainsElectrifying the city this winter with an extraordinary program of international and Australian jazz artists, the 2016 Melbourne International Jazz Festival will celebrate jazz as a constantly-evolving art form, ranging from golden-age icons to genre-bending innovators.

Bringing together artists from Australia, Ethiopia, Israel, Italy, Poland and the USA, this year’s Festival program features unmissable headliners, intimate club gigs, late-night jams, close encounters, workshops, family events and free concerts.

Michael Tortoni, Melbourne International Jazz Festival Artistic Director, explains that there have been a number conversations and interactions when shaping this festival, “Jazz is such an eclectic and evolving artform and I want to present a ‘unique moment in time’ – like a live improvisation that is influenced by what is being played around you in real time. This Festival profiles the relevancy of this artform – it captures the current moment in jazz’s ongoing evolution.”

“The Festival embraces the ongoing connections between different generations – it sees emerging legends interacting with some of the greatest musicians. For example, Wayne Shorter recently wrote a showcase for the young gifted bassist and vocalist, Esperanza Spalding, called Gaia which they performed together with the Los Angeles Philharmonic,” explained Tortoni.

This year’s Festival will bookend with these two modern masters – the Festival will open with jazz wunderkind Esperanza Spalding making her Australian debut with her groundbreaking new project: Emily’s D+Evolution and will close with the fearless, challenging and groundbreaking Wayne Shorter Quartet featuring three of the world’s finest jazz musicians: Danilo Perez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade.

Offering an amazing range of performances to delight those with a deep love of jazz, as well as entice those who are new and curious about this ever-evolving artform, the Festival brings together Australian and international musicians and also fosters collaborations between artists and showcases the creation of new works.

This year the Festival presents many illustrious artists who have been defining and redefining jazz for generations – these include Wayne Shorter, Gary Bartz, Eddie Palmieri, Mulatu Astatke and Tomasz Stanko. In addition to Esperanza Spalding other artists who represents the current and future directions of jazz and are featured in the year’s program include Robert Glasper, Marcus Strickland, Keyon Harrold, Snarky Puppy and Hiromi.

The Festival is also proud to showcase many outstanding Australian artists this year, with new works by Kristin Berardi, Stu Hunter, Barney McAll, Peter Knight’s Way Out West and Joe O’Connor. The club sessions will continue throughout the Festival with Bennetts Lane Jazz Club programming a tribute to Allan Browne, the Shai Maestro Trio and late night jams with the Hue Blanes Trio.

Free events throughout the Festival include personalised Sound Portraits, Transitive Cycles – a new commission by Barney McAll at the Federation Bells in Birrarung Marr and the Close Encounters program with some of the world’s leading jazz artists in a series of intimate conversations, inspiring workshops and live demonstrations.

Other events in the Festival feature the Jazz Out West program that includes the popular Jazz-a-Bye Baby with Mister Ott and also free concerts at Federation Square on the opening weekend, the Julliard Free Lunchtime Jazz at on Bourke Street and in a new collaboration with the Queen Victoria Market, Los Cabrones will play at the Winter Night Markets.

The 2016 Melbourne International Jazz Festival runs 3 – 12 June. For more information, visit: www.melbournejazz.com for details.

Image: The Vampires – photo by Karen Steains