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30 April, 2018

My First Jazz Bar Experience - Five minutes with the Kate from Melbourne International Jazz Festival

The world of jazz clubs can be a little intimidating for newcomers to the genre when often there is a silent code of conduct that can make things a little confusing. Take some tips and learn some tricks from jazz lover Kate Rosenberg, Partnerships Coordinator at the 2018 Melbourne International Jazz Festival.  


  1. What do you love about jazz and was there a particular moment that sparked your interest initially?

I love watching passionate musicians performing moving music and I love being close up to the action. All of this is a common occurrence in the jazz world, with most performances taking place in small jazz clubs (where you could – but please don’t – reach the musicians on the stage from the front row). The best performances I have been to are where the musicians are completely immersed and really enjoying the music they are playing and the artists they are playing with. That kind of joy is contagious!


  1. Do you remember your first experience in a jazz club? Can you describe the look and feel?

My first memories of jazz revolve around Bennett’s Lane jazz club. It was usually on a mid-winter Melbourne night and my friends and I would be seeking out some good music and somewhere to warm up. On those first few visits I would always get lost and forget which laneway to turn down - between Exhibition, Russell and La Trobe streets - adding to the mystique around the famous Bennett’s Lane,  but once we got there, Bennett’s never let us down! I remember one incredible show with Katie Noonan who belted out some amazing tunes like only she could, it was extraordinary.  


  1. Do you have any tips for going to a jazz club? (ie. things you should and shouldn’t do)

Don’t go too early! If you can, rest up in the early evening and head out to the clubs later in the night, when the best stuff happens. This will be particularly true during the Festival, when every night The Rookies, a fabulous local ensemble, will be playing Late Night Jams with some special guests joining them along the way.


  1. Who’s on your music shuffle at the moment – any great new discoveries?

A lot of my new music discoveries come from the NPR Tiny Desk recordings which I watch on Youtube. A tip here, don’t forget to read the beautifully penned descriptions of the Tiny Desk performances written by NPR staff members in the description of the videos.  At the moment, I am also really enjoying the August Greene performance, a collaboration between Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins. This performance is particularly special to me as they used it to champion female artists, theming the performance “Foregrounding Women.”    


  1. How has live music impacted your life?

I truly feel that live music has played a significant role in shaping the person I am today and helping me to grow up. I recall that many of the first adventures I had without parents or adults around were some of the music festivals I attended as a teenager. Heading out to festivals like Big Day Out and meeting other wonderful teenage music lovers was a big eye opener - there is nothing like your first mosh pit experience to make you grow up fast!


  1. What are you most looking forward to at the 2018 Melbourne International Jazz Festival?

I am really looking forward to seeing Yemen Blues! I lived in Israel for over ten years and these guys were consistently a sell out whenever they had a gig in Tel Aviv. I never got to see them play so I am not going to miss out on the party atmosphere they’ll bring to their  Melbourne gig. This show is a must-see for all jazz and world music fans who also like to have a jump around.


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