That’s A Wrap – 2018 Melbourne International Jazz Festival

What an incredible 10 days celebrating the world’s best jazz in Melbourne! This year’s Festival showed that jazz can happen anywhere, enjoy our wrap of highlights from the past few weeks.

Kicking off the 2018 Festival in style, An Evening with Branford Marsalis was a sold-out show at Melbourne Recital Centre, with Marsalis delighting audiences with his wit, stage presence and virtuosic ensemble interplay.  The opening weekend continued at Melbourne Recital Centre with Gretchen Parlato’s latest project flor delighting audiences with their masterful command over such beautifully delicate rhythms.  Funk legend Maceo Parker blew the roof off Hamer Hall with his tribute to Ray Charles featuring local blues-soul-jazz outfit The Meltdown Big Band and The Raelettes! It was a privilege to see and hear such an incredible collection of local and international artists at the top of their game paying tribute to a true icon of jazz.

Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2018 wrap from Melbourne Int Jazz Fes on Vimeo.


This year’s Club Sessions were a real treat. The Opening Weekend alone saw two world premieres, with The Gravity Project, Australian musicians Paul Grabowsky AORob Burke and ex-pat Australian Aaron Choulai collaborated with Japanese musicians as a part of our International Exchange program with Tokyo Jazz Festival.  That same evening the 2018 PBS Young Elder of Jazz, Brenton Foster, premiered the critically acclaimed, Love, As We Know It to a packed house at The Jazzlab. Terri Lyne Carrington’s two-night residency with social consciousness project Social Science addressed issues of freedom, racism, sexism, fluidity and multiculturalism. This extraordinary project left audiences both fired up and spellbound in equal measure!

Photo > Scenes from Late Night Jams at The Jazzlab.

The Australian stated that the opening weekend performances:

“set a standard for elegance, artistry and innovation”, and The Age wrote of Social Science “this was undeniably music as social activism – sometimes tough and uncompromising, bristling with elusive grooves, but also glinting with a kind of dark beauty”.

Incredible Club Sessions continued throughout the festival, with UK saxophonist and composer Nubya Garcia, Italian saxophonist Francesco Cafiso in collaboration with Mina Yu, Sam Anning and Danny FischerTony Malaby’s two club shows, Steve Sedergreen’s improvisational glory and Daniel Susnjar’s Afro-Peruvian Jazz Group with the launch of their latest album.  It was standing room only at The Jazzlab as Harry James Angus charmed audiences with his wit, soaring vocals, superb band and cunning storytelling in the presentation of Struggle with Glory.  Rounding out the second weekend was double bass legend Christian McBride playing with Marcus Strickland, Nasheet Waits and Josh Evans over four superb shows which left audiences wanting more!

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