MELBOURNE International Jazz Festival will return from June 3 – 12, inviting international and local jazz guests to perform sets that neither rush nor drag. Zoe Law has the highlights from this year’s festival.
Attracting more than 40,000 attendees last year, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival (MIJF) returns to Melbourne this June for an 18th year.
As one of the marquee festivals of Melbourne’s event calendar, this year’s festival will have more than 100 public events with performances and collaborations by more than 500 international and Australian artists across 20 venues in and around Melbourne.
In addition to word-class performances from special international guests, such as rising singer and festival exclusive José James, MIJF will also be hosting a wide range of events that should meet everyone’s tempo: free concerts, late night art parties, workshops, film screening, panels, club sessions and more are in store for attendees.
For an idea of what to expect from the festival, we’ve gathered some of the highlights to get you prepared.
Esperanza Spalding presents: Emily’s D+Evolution
Esperanza Spalding is many things; she’s a jazz bassist, singer and a Grammy Award winning artist. The multi-talented Spalding will be making her Australian debut at MIJF under her new project and persona, Emily’s D+Evolution.
Set to open the festival, Spalding hopes that the aim of her new project is to go back and reclaim uncultivated curiosity, and use it as a compass to move forward.
“My hope for this group is to create a world around each song… We will be staging the songs as much as we play them, using characters, video and the movement of our bodies,” Spalding said.
Robert Glasper Trio
Robert Glasper has worked with some of hip hop’s biggest names such as Kendrick Lamar, Q-Tip and the artist formerly known as Mos Def, yasiin bey.
In an Australian first, the Grammy Award winning jazz artist will reunite with long-time collaborators Vicente Archer (Bass) and Damion Reid (Drums) at MIJF for an acoustic set.
The Robert Glasper Trio will be reconfiguring the music of icons such as John Legend, Radiohead, Harry Belafonte, Joni Mitchell while performing some of Glasper’s original tracks and other jazz classics.
Hiromi: The Trio Project featuring Anthony Jackson and Simon Phillips
Hailing from Japan, pianist Hiromi will return to Melbourne following sold out shows in the 2012 edition of MIJF.
Thriving on improvisational jazz, Hiromi’s performance will take the concept of jazz into a completely different realm with a show that will share a closer resemblance to that of a stadium rock concert.
Hiromi will be joined by innovative bassist Anthony Jackson and Toto drummer Simon Phillips, in a show that’s expected to light a spark with its highly energetic jazz.
Tomasz Stańko Band
One of jazz’s most important innovators is Polish jazz trumpeter Tomasz Stańko, who for decades has been considered a leading pioneer in experimental and avant-garde jazz.
Performing alongside the Monash Art Ensemble — a collaborated project between Monash University’s Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and the Australian Art Orcehstra — Stanko and company will be bringing the music of film composer Krzysztof Komeda to the festival. Komeda has scored for films such as Knife in the Water and Rosemary’s Baby.
Additionally, Stańko will be running a free two hour workshop at Monash University to provide insight into the working process of a living legend.