In 2022 Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival (MWIJF) celebrates it’s 25th anniversary.
From Sunday December 4 to Sunday December 11th, MWIJF takes over The Jazzlab. We take a look at some of the festival highlight from a jam packed program comprising the exceptional talents of Australian and International women of jazz.
Opening the festival is celebrated Japanese pianist Sumire Kuribayashi performing with Australian artists Helen Svoboda (bass) and Kyrie Anderson (drums), with support from emerging saxophonist Gen Kuner’s quartet. Exciting young Monash artists are also featured with Sumire in Monash University: Sounding Change on Tuesday Dec 6 in a co-presentation with the Melbourne Jazz co-op.
Monday Dec 5 sees the premier of two new groups – bassist Claire Cross’s Sleep Cycle (before she moves overseas in 2023), and trumpeter Ashley Ballat’s new project “Loom” with Ollie Cox on drums and electronics. Iconic Australian Saxophonist Sandy Evans performs in a duo with outstanding Melbourne pianist Andrea Keller on Saturday December 10th, in a double bill with iconic ground breaking group Morgana who have reformed to celebrate their 30th anniversary. This group features the original line up of award winning vocalist Lisa Young, soprano saxophonist Fiona Burnett, Annette Yates bass and Sonja Horbelt drums, joined by Andrea Keller on piano. The opening set is from emerging Monash drummer Mia Rowland with her group Mia in Motion.
A free 11pm set on Saturday Dec 10th sees the return of The MWIJF Festival Club – Jam and Hang. This session provides a chance for female and non binary musicians and vocalists to play in a jazz and groove jam session, or just plain hang out and connect with other musicians. In a new gender age in the music industry, the festival feels it is paramount to foster meeting places that encourage women across the industry to expand their playing circles and networks.
Sydney bassist Lucy Clifford is the 2022 Jann Rutherford Memorial Award winner. Currently Kate Ceberano’s bass player amongst a myriad of other projects, she performs with a Melbourne quintet including Phil Noy (saxes) Ashley Ballat (trpt) Andrea Keller and Darryn Farrugia (drums) on Wednesday Dec 7. The regular inclusion at MWIJF of emerging jazz students continues this year with an all star tertiary Little Big Band directed by trombonist Ellie Lamb playing a support set for the evening. Wednesday Dec 7 also sees the return of Nat Bartsch and her Lullabies program for the unique and popular Crybaby morning session.
Thursday Dec 8 sees a double bill with Melbourne guitarist Stella Annings trio StAT with Claire Cross on Bass and Joshua Barber on drums, followed by UK vocalist Anita Wardell’s Australian CD launch of “Stars” with Adelaide pianist Dave McEvoy. The CD launches continue on Friday with the launch of celebrated vocalist Rebecca Barnard and The d’Affinois CD “The Night we Called It a Day” – featuring Paul Williamson sax, Mat Jodrell trumpet, Monique diMattina piano and Ben Robertson bass. Monique will also be premiering her Miles Franklin project “Stella” on Sunday afternoon.
Another exciting event in this year’s festival is a composer’s symposium – The Art of Composition – presented in partnership with the University of Melbourne. The distinguished panel of Australian jazz artists – Nadje Noordhuis (on link from NY), Sandy Evans, Andrea Keller, Sam Anning and Barney McAl – will discuss all things compostion, provdin insights into thier own processes.