Close Encounters

The Channel, Arts Centre Melbourne

Experience a close encounter with the world’s leading jazz artists and industry in our free series of intimate conversations, masterclasses, and enlightening panels.


Sunday 22 Oct – 2:30PM

Masterclass: Ingrid Jensen (Canada)

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to learn from renowned Canadian trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, as she leads an invaluable masterclass on expanded listening and practice techniques.

Hailed as one of the most gifted musicians of her generation, Jensen’s versatility shines as a soloist, collaborator, and educator. An in demand trumpet player on the global jazz scene, Jensen has played in the innovative jazz orchestras of Maria Schneider (1994-2012) and Darcy James Argue (2002-present), performed alongside British R&B artist Corrine Bailey Rae on Saturday Night Live, recorded with Canadian pop icon Sarah McLachlan, and performed with a multigenerational cast of jazz legends ranging from Clark Terry to Esperanza Spalding. Jensen is prominently featured on the Grammy Award winning Mosaic Project, led by drummer Terri-Lyne Carrington, and is an integral member of the Blue Note recording band, Artemis. She continues to write for and perform with her own projects both in New York and beyond.

As an esteemed jazz educator, Jensen’s influence extends beyond her performances. Having shared her expertise at institutions like the University of Michigan, Peabody Conservatory, and now as the Dean and Director of Jazz Arts at the Manhattan School of Music.


Monday 23 Oct – 5:30PM

Industry Panel: International Presenters (USA/Poland)

Join us for an insightful music industry panel on international venue and festival curation, presentation and touring, with a particular focus on jazz.

Gain unique perspectives from distinguished guests, including Director of Programming at SFJAZZ in San Francisco, Lilly Schwartz, Associate Director of Artistic Programming at SFJAZZ, Jeannette Wong, and Artistic Director of Jazztopad Festival in Poland, Piotr Turkiewicz. Delve into the art of pitching to presenters overseas, uncover the realities of managing an internationally touring collective, and receive a crash course on the pathways available to Australian artists beyond our shores.



Tuesday 24 Oct – 3:00PM

Makaya McCraven & Marquis Hill (USA)

 Immerse yourself in an enriching artist talk featuring two distinguished musicians and collaborators at the vanguard of modern jazz: Makaya McCraven and Marquis Hill.

Makaya McCraven is renowned for his groundbreaking fusion of jazz, hip-hop, and electronic elements, pushing the boundaries of post-genre, jazz-rooted 21st century music. According to the New York Times, “McCraven has quietly become one of the best arguments for jazz’s vitality”. The artist explained to NPR in 2019, “I don’t think what I’m doing is necessarily that far off of the legacy of jazz that I grew up in…I think one of the things that gives it strength is that people want to argue over it. That’s a good sign. That means there’s life here.” With numerous critically acclaimed albums and collaborations with the likes of Jeff Parker, Willie Pickens, Nubya Garcia, Shabaka Hutchings and Brandee Younger, McCraven is at the top of his game.

From his beginnings as one of Chicago’s most thrilling young trumpeters, to his current status as an internationally renowned musician, composer and bandleader, Marquis Hill has worked tirelessly to break down the barriers that divide musical genres. Contemporary and classic jazz, hip-hop, R&B, Chicago house, neo-soul—to Hill, they’re all essential elements of the profound African-American creative heritage he’s a part of. “It all comes from the same tree,” he says. “They simply blossomed from different branches.” That mission to bring styles together, complemented by Hill’s absolute mastery of his instrument, is a through line connecting his many achievements, including winning the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition in 2014.

Join us as these two fascinating musicians share their perspectives on pushing artistic boundaries, their creative journeys, and shaping the future of contemporary jazz.

Facilitator: Samira Farah


Saturday 28 Oct – 1:30PM

GoGo Penguin (UK)

“Meticulously structured, deftly paced and futuristic…owes as much to 1990s drum and bass as to jazz…hypnotic and quietly epic.” – Music OMH

 For the 2023 Melbourne International Jazz Festival, celebrated UK trio GoGo Penguin perform to Australian audiences for the very first time, playing music from their exhilarating new album Everything Is Going to Be OK, together with songs from their luminous back catalogue. Bursting with the optimism of new beginnings, with a new drummer, a new record label and a subtly updated and developed sound, the band are ushering in a more sonically liberated era.

Everything Is Going to Be OK is born from a time of turbulence and loss. During a personally difficult period for the band, including deep personal loss and mourning, the studio offered the band a sanctuary from real life. The resulting project draws its strength from a shared understanding and empathy. Through our hardships, together, we will emerge stronger; everything is going to be ok.

The trio sit down in this intimate artist talk to discuss their musical influences, approaches to song writing, and inspirations for Everything Is Going to Be OK.

Facilitator: Owen McKearn


Saturday 28 Oct – 3:00PM

Beyond Words

Presented in partnership with Multicultural Arts Victoria.

Following vital discussions as part of MIJF 2021 and 2022, examining the historical and cultural influences that have shaped modern jazz, blues, Latin jazz, and more, Beyond Words is back at this year’s Melbourne International Jazz Festival for its highly anticipated third round.

For generations, improvisation has provided a unique platform for communication and collaboration, erasing cultural barriers in its wake. Over the past century, the global growth of jazz has been rooted in African traditional expressions. Facilitator Zii Nzira will be joined by Sylent Nqo, renowned as the “Guitar Sangoma” (healer), as they delve into the profound influence of Zimbabwean and Mozambican traditional music on modern jazz, blues, and beyond within the Southern African region.

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