Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2019
Melbourne will soon be overrun by trumpets and saxophones, syncopated rhythms and twinkling ivories for the 10-day Melbourne International Jazz Festival (MIJF), which kicks off on May 31.
From legends such as Herbie Hancock who’ve changed the course of popular music, to fresh local faces such as WVR BVBY, the line-up pays homage to the many facets of jazz.
The Modern Masters sessions are a chance for audiences to witness the power of Hancock’s classic composition Cantaloupe Island firsthand at Hamer Hall, while the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is taking on George Gershwin’s fifteen-minute epic Rhapsody in Blue during its Reimaging Gershwin performance.
Melbourne Museum’s monthly after-hours party, Nocturnal, is putting on performances by Melbourne’s eight-piece powerhouse Jazz Party, and New Orleans-style brass band Horns of Leroy, fronted by local soul singer Thando. Other artists will roam the museum so you can check out the exhibitions without missing the music.
The festival is also heading west for Jazz Out West, a two-day showcase of artists from Moonee Ponds and Maribyrnong. On Saturday, Ajak Kwai will perform afro-beat interwoven with reflections on her South Sudanese roots. Kwai will be followed by instrumental groovers WVR BVBY, whose cosmic synthesisers take listeners on an experimental journey down winding avenues of contemporary jazz.
Keen to learn more about jazz and its pioneers? MIJF’s film program explores some of the genre’s rich history. Betty Davis: They Say I’m Different examines the funk and soul icon’s influence in the ’60s. Other films include Miles Davis: Birth of Cool, Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives and the 1958 French crime classic Elevator to the Gallows.