The artist, architect and philosopher Justus Jörgensen founded Montsalvat in 1935, which makes this tranquil estate just outside of Melbourne Australia’s oldest artist colony. It is also home to practicing artists from around the country, who use the tranquil surrounds for inspiration, guidance and respite.

The venue, set within 12 acres of established gardens, continues to be a not-for-profit arts centre, which also houses specialised musical concerts.

This Friday night finds Julia Messenger (playing as part of a quartet with Luke Howard, Frank Di Sario and Ronny Ferella) performing at Montsalvat in what is the first in an almighty line-up of performers for Jazz Series 2013.

Melbourne songstress Messenger is both a seasoned veteran and a progressive on the world electronic, soul and jazz scene, having earned critical appraisals from Europe, the UK and Asia.

The versatile singer-songwriter holds her audience with a towering, mesmeric vocal coupled with a stage presence that is sure to gratify the Montsalvat revellers.

A regular at Bennetts Lane in 2012, Messenger also performed at two sell-out shows at Melbourne's Recital Centre, but this gig will be the vocal chameleon’s Montsalvat debut, the stunning backdrop of the venue only adding to the quixotic ambience of her music.

Along with her quartet, Messenger will sing her own compositions and reinterpret some of the great jazz classics, with a touch of chanson embedded in the delivery of the refrains.

The soundtrack for the evening will feature tracks from the unprecedented female trailblazers in Peggy Lee, Roberta Flack, Patsy Cline, Judy Garland, Nina Simone and Edith Piaf, with celebrated songwriters George Gershwin, Hoagy Carmichael, Arlen and Harburg, Arthur Hamilton, to contemporary American icons, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits – not to mention 1920s German composer Kurt Weill – all represented.

Dinner is also available courtesy of The Meeting Pool, where new chef Adam Nye, who previously worked under Thierry Vauzelle at Armadale’s Chez Bob, constructs French provincial style food.

Julia Messenger Quartet Friday February 22 at Montsalvat (Eltham) in The Barn at 7.30pm. Tickets $25/$20. Bookings (03) 9439 7712.

montsalvat.com.au