Jazz can be a difficult musical style to relate to but this year the Melbourne International Jazz Festival hopes to change that. Going a bit after-school-special on us, the festival this year is showing people jazz is not so different from our fave music genres. Throughout this year’s program MIJF will be drawing parallels and hosting crossovers in the hopes of engaging new fans, and we think they’re pretty on the money.
Classics with Jazz Hands
At the Opening Gala, Everybody Wants to Rule the World featuring Sarah McKenzie, Michelle Nicolle and Mahalia Barnes will be Mark-Ronsoning a bunch of rock classics and pop anthems at the Palais.
Gumbo Marching Band
While getting you in the mood on the first full day, the Second Line Street Party, a musical New Orleans march from Southbank to Fed Square, led by the Rebirth Brass Band. After making you feel like you should be stuffing your face with gumbo, the parade will have brought you to the Opening Celebration Concert at Fed Square, where a top-secret lineup of international and local artists will perform for freezies.
Van the Man
That night, though it’s rumoured he has hated the comparison in the past, Joe Camillieri will be celebrating the works of Van Morrison with the Voodoo Sheiks Orchestra.
An unmissable night comes from Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. He’s collaborated with Ray Charles, Flying Lotus and Aloe Blacc, and at the Hi-Fi he’ll be joined by members of the Bamboos, Hiatus Kaiyote, Axolotl, Kirkis and Brous in performing a musical odyssey. Word on the street is it will include some of his orchestral reimaginings of J Dilla’s back-catalogue.
Not the Anime Series
If you’re down for a dance, get along to see the ‘mutant jazz cat’ Thundercat with Nai Palm and Hiatus Kaiyote at the Forum. He’s done stuff with Erykah Badu and, you guessed it, FlyLo.
Totally Addicted to Bass
Thundercat will be playing bass, which seems to be a theme this year. Bass players feature throughout the program including performances from the incredibly versatile Christian McBride Trio, Leigh Barker and the New Sheiks, and Michael League’s band Snarky Puppy. You can also take a dip into jazz fusion with Mike Stern’s band at the MRC, or dabble in the current directions of jazz with Kneebody who have collaborated with Snoop Dog, Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins and Jimmy Chamberlain.
Multiple award winning composer and arranger, Maria Schneider, and steampunk composer Darcy James Argue will be joining forces like the Avengers with the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra.
For a pure jazz experience, head to the cavern of the Bennets Lane Jazz Club for nightly jams where festival artists and festival-goers can throw their hats in the ring to collaborate supported by the Grid.
A Great Gatsby Party
The Pièce de résistance of MIJF is designed for those who a) like to Time Travel, or b) cannot freaking wait for the Baz Luhrman film to come out. The guys from the Jazz Fest and 774 are throwing a big hullabaloo dance 1920s dance party. Roaring Swing will have Charleston dance classes from the Swing Patrol, and explosive live music from Michael McQuaid and his Red Hot Rythmakers and Leigh Barker and the New Sheiks. Set your tardis or Delorean for Saturday 8 June, 2013, or maybe just book your tickets (or enter our competition) ‘cos it’s totally going to be like this:
Originally published 03 April 2013 on Everguide.com.au