Get jazzy at the Perth International Jazz Festival

Libby Hammer with the Jazz Club Choir

The Perth International Jazz Festival (PIJF) announces an incredible mix of more than 60 local, national and international jazz artists for its seventh annual event happening across Perth for one weekend on Friday 8, Saturday 9 and Sunday 10November 2019.

Featuring free and ticketed concerts, intimate artist talks, and workshops, experience new delights and reacquaint yourself with old favourites spanning big band, solo performers, instrumentalists, vocalists, contemporary and avantgarde.

The State Theatre Centre will be the Festival hub incorporating the Courtyard and Heath Ledger Theatre in ways you’ve haven’t experienced before – and all in walking distance to venues The Bird, The Ellington Jazz Club and Downstairs at the Maj, which will also be utilised across the three days.

The free-to-attend parts of the program are also bigger than ever – get set for jazzy sounds spilling out from the Perth Cultural Centre’s Wetlands Stage (supported by Lotterywest, City of Perth & Edith Cowan University), TheRechabite, and Birdwood Square (supported by Lotterywest and City of Vincent).

Leading the international charge of artists is one of the USA’s top young jazz singers – Veronica Swift who’s visiting Perth for the very first time to perform her recently-released album, Confessions. Her sound, charisma and ability to channel the spirits of Anita O’Day, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald are sure to delight Perth audiences.

Prolific trumpeter, singer and composer Roscoe James Irwin (The Cat Empire, The Bamboos) will perform Lost in a Dream – The Musical Life of Chet Baker. Featuring a 20-piece string orchestra, Irwin presents his own gorgeous reworkingsof Baker’s classic material with all the cinematic romance, heartbreak and soul of 1950s California.

Highly-regarded Japanese jazz pianist Fumio Itabashi will extend his quartet to a 10-piece for this very special performance, which also features Australia’s most adventurous improvisers – Daniel Susnjar (drums), Simon Jeans (guitar), Niran Dasika (trumpet), Simone De Haan (trombone) and Dylan Hooper (tenor sax).

Expect Brazilian rhythms fused with elements of jazz and chamber music when Brazilian trio Meretrio hits the stage enhancing a classic trio set-up with a loop machine and digital effects to create completely new textures and sounds.

Australian ex-pats Ben Winkelman (a jazz pianist and composer from Melbourne) and WAAPA graduate Tal Cohen – both now based in the USA – return to Perth for concerts at this year’s event. Cohen, who’s unique piano style owes its roots to the Jewish folk songs and classical music he played growing up in Israel, has become a regular performer with iconic jazz figures such as Terence Blanchard and Robert Hurst and now tours the world performing his unique brand of improvised music.

Fast-rising orchestration trail-blazer Chelsea McBride brings the Socialist Night School from Toronto to Perth, leading a 19-piece modern jazz orchestra that includes some of Perth’s finest musicians. The Socialist Night School has featured Award-winning veterans like William Carn and Colleen Allen alongside the Toronto’s hottest 20-somethings in this contemporary modern big band.

Also on the line-up is Japanese saxophonist Akane Ezawa who for PIJF will co-lead a quintet with Perth trumpeter Ricki Malet performing original material and songs from the great Hard Bop era, along with Tim Voutas (piano), Karl Florison (bass) and Alex Reid (drums).

From the east coast of Australia, Melbourne’s Spirograph Studies with their textural approach to playing improvised music will bring a unique voice to the stage; Brisbane-based trio Berardi/Foran/Karlen aka Kristin Berardi (voice), Sean Foran (piano) and Rafael Karlen (saxophone) will bring their formidable experience after performing around the world at the Montreux, Tokyo, and Manchester Jazz Festivals – and Berardi will also join forces with Melbourne based (ex-Perth) bassist Sam Anning to perform an uplifting concert exposing tantalising improvisations and exquisite original creations.

In addition to the huge number of concerts from talented local jazz performers, PIJF has plenty of free community events to introduce audiences to the inner workings of musicians and their creative process, including:

* Artist-In-Conversations: Informal conversations with visiting guest artists with the opportunity to participate in Q&A’s with the artists.

* Jazz Club Choir: Renowned jazz vocalist Libby Hammer (WA) will work with anyone who wants to sing to create a jazz choir for the duration of the festival – culminating in a festival performance.

“There is so much music from all over the world coming to Perth this November – some you may know and some you definitely won’t,” says PIJF artistic director Dr Mace Francis.

“We’re bringing inspiring music by talented musicians from around Australia and the world to Perth.

“Come and take a risk with us to see as much music as you can. I’ve programmed this festival for you, as we continue the legacy of what the late Graham Wood started back in 2012”.

PIJF is the only dedicated international jazz festival in WA. The brain-child of the late Associate Professor Graham Wood, in its first year it ranked fourth in Time Out’s ‘Top 7 Australian Jazz Festivals’.

Tickets are on sale now and prices vary per individual performance from $10 – $45. Make the most of your Festival and purchase three or more shows at the State Theatre Centre venues and receive 10 per cent discount. Jazz lovers are rewarded with a 15 per cent discount on tickets when you purchase tickets to six or more shows. PIJF performances outside of the State Theatre Centre are all sold separately.

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