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The Melbourne International Jazz Festival was first held in 1998 and has been presented at several different times of year.

It now occurs over the first two weekends of June, including the Queens Birthday long weekend.

Now in its 21st year, each 10-day Festival now typically sees more than 40,000 people attend over 100 public events, with over 500 international and Australian artists performing and collaborating at over 20 of Melbourne’s iconic venues.

In addition to performances by headline Australian and international artists, the wide-ranging program also includes free concerts, family events, late-night art parties, artist workshops, film screenings, in conversations, club sessions and more.

Adrian Jackson was Artistic Director from 1998-2004, after which Albert Dadon became Chairman. Dadon invited the director of Italy’s Umbria Jazz Festival, Carlo Pagnotta, to be guest Artistic Director in 2005. The festival was not held in 2006 due to the Commonwealth Games, and Dadon was Artistic Director for the 2007-2008 Festivals. He was succeeded in 2009 by Michael Tortoni, who continues to hold the position. Sophie Brous was Program Director for the 2009-2011 Festivals, Melanie Pose was the Program Director for the 2012-2018 Festivals'. 

2018 Melbourne International Jazz Festival 

“The 2018 Festival demonstrated once again that the MIJF is a truly international event, challenging listeners with a mix of established performers and new voices...” — Australian Book Review

From June 1 – 10, after 10 days of extraordinary jazz in all its forms, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival has come to a triumphant close for another year. The 2018 Festival brought together a host of intimate club gigs, concerts, events, workshops, Jazz Out West, and Jazz Massive - the huge participatory mass music-making gathering on the lawns of the State Library of Victoria. 

This year’s MIJF made an enormous contribution to our jazz community, the live music scene, and the wider Victorian and Australian arts and culture sector. The 2018 Festival at a glance: 

  • Over 30,000 attendees
  • 104 public events
  • 27 venues activated across Melbourne
  • 39% of the program was available for free
  • 33% of the program sold out/at capacity
  • World Premieres including 3 commissioned by MIJF
  • 11 Australian premieres
  • 16 Australian/International collaborations
  • 19 Festival exclusives
  • Over 400 international, Australian, community and student artists from 9 different countries. 

Headline acts in the 2018 Festival included Branford Marsalis, Maceo Parker with his sold ou tribute to Ray Charles featuring local powerhouse soul-jazz-blues outfit The Meltdown, the world-famous Sun Ra ArkestraChris Dave & The Drumhedz, KNOWER, Yemen BluesGretchen Parlato performed her mesmerising project flor, The Others - a local improv supergroup (James MorrisonPaul Grabowsky and Kram from Spiderbait) - and Madeleine Peyroux brought the Festival to an unforgettable close at Hamer Hall on June 10.  

Club session throughout the Festival featured an all-star lineup; including virtuosic percussionist Terri-Lyne Carrington, Christian McBride's New Jawn, Nubya Garcia, Francesco Cafiso and local firebrand trumpet-playing vocalist, Harry James Angus who delighted audiences. This year's Late Night Jams were led by local outfit The Rookies and their joyous and inclusive line up was a true celebration of local and international talent and were an unmissable highlight each night of the Festival at The Jazzlab.


2017 Melbourne International Jazz Festival

The Festival returned for its 21st year with another incredible collection of intimate club gigs, concerts, events, workshops, films, and a swinging New Orleans inspired Second Line Street Party. 2017 saw:

  • The 20th year of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival
  • Over 400 artists
  • Artists from 10 different countries
  • 120 events across the Festival
  • 27 venues activated across greater Melbourne.

MIJF paid tribute to jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as they brought together Australian jazz virtuoso James Morrison and the superb Patti Austin, delighting packed houses at Hamer Hall.  Revered guitarist Bill Frisell provided audiences with unique access to the breadth of his work presenting two intimate club gigs, a workshop, a premiere film screening and spectacular Melbourne Recital Centre show.  Our Club Sessions saw sold-out shows from Bill Frisell, Armenian pianist Tigran Hamasyan, and The Necks in their four night residency.  Both The Jazzlab and The Toff in Town saw audiences flock to hear a host of artists including saxophonist and Bowie collaborator Donny McCaslin, New York drummers Ari Hoenig and Jim Black, Israeli guitarist Yotam Silberstein, and Australian artists Paul Grabowsky, Speedball and Andrea Keller amongst many others at the top of their game.

 Download the 2017 program here. 


2016 Melbourne International Jazz Festival

Now in its 19th year, the 2016 Melbourne International Jazz Festival achieved record-breaking attendance and community engagement. Over 44,000 people came together to celebrate how jazz is a constantly evolving art form, ranging from golden-age icons to genre-bending innovators. 2016 at a glance: 

  • 129 events across 10 days in 27 venues across Melbourne
  • 478 artists from across Australia and around the world
  • 9.1% growth in overall box office revenue
  • 44,000+ overall attendance
  • $4 million in media value
  • Audience Satisfaction rating of 95%. 

Modern Masters This series celebrates the world’s modern masters of jazz alongside the most important and iconic voices in contemporary jazz today. Highlights included saxophone legend Wayne Shorter, wunderkind bassist Esperanza Spalding, pianist-come-musical rollercoaster Hiromi, Latin jazz titan Eddie Palmieri and Father of Ethio-Jazz Mulatu Astatke.

Explorations in Jazz Exploring the boundaries of jazz and improvised music, the Explorations in Jazz series brought the world’s leading sonic innovators to Melbourne with barnstorming jazz-funk collective Snarky Puppy, the latest of Stu Hunter’s hard-grooving suites the migration and a debut collaboration between Benin-born guitar virtuoso Lionel Loueke and Sydney’s The Vampires.

Club Sessions Like a phoenix from the ashes, the iconic Bennetts Lane Jazz Club returned for another year featuring Sardinian guitar maestro Paolo Angeli, an intimate performance by the Robert Glasper Trio, emotive Israeli pianist Shai Maestro and Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life. The revelry continuing into the wee hours with Late Night Jams led masterfully by Melbourne’s own Hue Blanes Trio. This series also featured gigs at Uptown Jazz Café, Dizzy’s Jazz Club and the Lido Jazz Room.

Jazz Out West The third year of the Festival’s Jazz Out West program saw enthusiastic, capacity crowds experiencing urban soundscapes, Ethio-jazz and soulful grooves in downtown Footscray. 

Free Events From lunchtime jazz and late-night parties to artists workshops and intimate conversations, this Festival featured more than 20 free events. 


2015 Melbourne International Jazz Festival

“It is a clear sign of a strong festival when you find yourself wracked with indecision about what to see…” – Des Cowley, Australian Book Review

Now in its 18th year, the 2015 Melbourne International Jazz Festival achieved record-breaking attendance and community engagement, with over 43,000 people coming together to experience jazz in the city’s venues, clubs, bars and laneways. 

The program presented the world’s leading jazz masters and sonic innovators, shining a light on some extraordinary musical collaborations from around the world and at home.

  • 118 Events across 11 days in 22 venues across Melbourne
  • 348 Artists from 11 countries (Australia, USA, Norway, Puerto Rico, Israel, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Italy, Brazil, India and Poland)
  • 19 World Premieres
  • 6% growth in overall attendance, with nearly 25% of events selling to capacity
  • 43,000+ overall attendance
  • $3.5 million in media value 
  • A post-Festival broadcast audience of 2.5 million+
  • Audience Satisfaction rating of 96% 

Headline acts included: Chick Corea & Herbie Hancock (USA), Kurt Elling with the MSO (USA / Australia), Pharoah Sanders Quartet (USA), Dee Dee Bridgewater & Irvin Mayfield with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (USA), Stefano Bollani and Hamilton de Holanda (Italy / Brazil) Joe Lovano with Paul Grabowsky, Phillip Rex and Dave Beck (USA / Australia) The Bad Plus (USA), Richard Bona Quintet (Cameroon) Tord Gustavsen Quartet (Norway), Nyilipidgi (AUS) and Eric Harland Voyager (USA). 


2015 Summer Sessions

Held at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club over 5 nights in January, our 2015 Summer Sessions program saw a series of intimate collaborations between leading international and local artists, culminating in three sell-out shows over the Australia Day weekend.

The series featured Belgian piano virtuoso Jef Neve, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane's seminal album A Love Supreme featuring Sydney-based tenor saxophonist Dale Barlow, New York-based pianist Barney McAll and Melbourne’s own bassist Phil Rex and drummer Danny Fischer, as well as a showcase of some of Australia's finest jazz pianists.  


2014 Melbourne International Jazz Festival

“The 2014 Melbourne International Jazz Festival program underlined the true diversity of the jazz music genre…” Australian Jazz

The largest festival of its kind in Australia, the 2014 Melbourne International Jazz Festival brought together over 300 artists from Australia, USA, UK Italy, Israel, Spain, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Greece and New Zealand in a wide-ranging program acclaimed by critics and audience alike. Over 10 days, nearly 40,000 people came together to experience jazz in recital halls, clubs and unexpected spaces across the city.

In 2014, the Festival saw:

  • Nearly 40,000 people attending 101 events over 10 days, with a post-Festival broadcast audience of 2.5+ million
  • The introduction of “Jazz Out West”, a new initiative taking free, accessible events to residents and business in Footscray
  • Pathways for the next generation were created through In Conversations, artist workshops and performance opportunities
  • Multiple avenues for community engagement were provided through free events, programming breadth and a meaningful volunteer program of 200 volunteers

Headline acts included: Chick Corea & Gary Burton (USA), Charles Lloyd Sky Trio (USA), The Greek Project: Charles Lloyd and Maria Farantouri (USA/GREECE), The Glenn Miller Orchestra (USA), Joshua Redman Quartet (USA), Jorge Pardo (SPAIN) Larry Carlton (USA), Derrick Hodge and Chris Turner (USA), Chris Dave & The Drumhedz (USA), Alister Spence Trio (AUS)/ Dawn of Midi (USA), Django Bates (UK).


2013 Melbourne International Jazz Festival

“[MIJF]… has proved a reliable mirror of global trends in jazz…”
The Guardian

“Modern jazz audiences have come to expect a diversity of styles from performers, and in Melbourne last week they got it …. the entire catalogue of jazz idioms was on display, from trad to avant-garde and out-there impressionism”
The Australian

In its 16th year, the Festival consolidated its position as Australia’s pre-eminent jazz festival, with strong profitability, community and industry participation and program acclaimed by critics and audiences alike.

In 2013, the Festival saw:

  • A 3.5% growth in box office revenue
  • A 14% increase in paid attendance, with nearly 40,000 people attending 101 events over 10 days, with a post-Festival broadcast audience of 2.5+ million
  • Over 30% of audiences as first-time attendees
  • A 94% audience satisfaction rating with a 97% intent to return result
  • 69 international artists from 10 different countries performing alongside 363 Australian professional and 185 student artists
  • Nearly 200 volunteers involved with delivering the Festival.

Headline acts included: Cassandra Wilson (USA), Chucho Valdes and the Afro-Cuban Messengers (Cuba), Christian McBride Trio (USA), Maria Schneider/Darcy James Argue (USA/CAN) with the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, James Carter Organ Trio (USA), Snarky Puppy (USA), Thundercat (USA), Kneebody (USA), Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (USA) to name a few.


2012 Melbourne International Jazz Festival

 “… a varied selection of outstanding international artists…”
The Australian

The 2012 Festival delivered a 7% increase in box office revenue, which combined with an operating surplus made it the most successful festival in the organisation’s history. The 2012 Festival saw:

  • 400 artists from 15 different countries performing in over 100 events, including 31 free events, 11 world and 13 Australian premieres and eight Australian/international collaborations
  • A 19% of first-time attendance rate
  • A 83% audience satisfaction rating with a 95% intent to return result
  • A 42% increase in sponsorship revenue, with 90% of partnerships retained from 2011
  • Over 140 volunteers involved with delivering the Festival.

Headline acts included: McCoy Tyner  Trio (USA) featuring Chris Potter (USA) and Jose James , Dee Dee Bridgewater, Hiromi, Dr Lonnie Smith Trio, Chris Potter with the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, Future Now feat. Robert Glasper Experiment, Patti Austin, Terence Blanchard, Renaud Garcia-Fons, The Fringe, Samuel Yirga Quartet, Tarbaby featuring Oliver Lake and more.