Sydney Con International Jazz Festival This Sunday


The Sydney Conservatorium of Music together with its Open Academy will host its second International Jazz Festival this Sunday with international stars and jazz heavyweights descending on Sydney.

Artistic Director and Head of the Sydney Conservatorium Jazz Studies Program, David Theak was thrilled with the response to the inaugural event which celebrated the very best international, national and local music.

Nestled in the Royal Botanic Gardens on Sydney Harbour, this year’s festival will take advantage of the world-class performance facilities of the University of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music. Except for singers, Theak has taken an acoustic performance philosophy by selecting artists who perform without amplification so audiences can enjoy the music as it was designed to be heard.

The diverse program features over 90 musicians in 24 master-classes and concerts. including a headline concert, leading international artists collaborating with Australian musicians, rarely-heard national ensembles of excellence, cutting-edge Sydney artists and dynamic artists of tomorrow mentored by our top jazz musicians.

In the line-up is the long-awaited Australian tour of Grammy-nominated vocalist Gretchen Parlato. Named by Downbeat Magazine as #1 Rising Star and winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition, she has been hailed by international media as one of the most exciting vocalists of this generation. With her blend of African and Brazilian inspired cross-genre jazz, The New York Times has praised Parlato’s ability to pry open sweet spots in her interpretations of jazz standards and pop tunes, calling her an “extraordinary singer”.

In their first visit to Australia, New York giant of the contemporary jazz scene, tenor Tony Malaby and formidable Canadian improvising pianist Kris Davies collaborate with Australian percussionist Simon Barker. Other festival highlights include Berlin-based pianist Magda Mayas and drummer Tony Buck (PERIL, The Necks), pianist and Australia Council Fellow, Barney McAll’s ARIA award-winning ASIO project, Stu Hunter’s The Migration which comprises “one of the great horn sections in Australian music history” (John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald), multi-award-winning artist and Freedman Fellow, pianist Andrea Keller in duo with Don Banks Award recipient, legendary pianist Mike Nock and Jonathan Zwartz’s new ten-piece project, Animarum.

Trad-lovers will hear popular Sydney group Geoff Bull and the Finer Cuts headlining on the Feel-Good Stage. A new initiative in this year’s program, continuous swinging ensembles will perform throughout the day in the relaxed atmosphere of the Con Café.

Gold, Day and Morning festival pass holders will gain access to six masterclasses that include Gretchen Parlato and Tony Malaby. Theak has also devised a mentoring program that sees Conservatorium students work with esteemed leaders of the Australian jazz scene; guitarist Stephen Magnusson, vocalist Josh Kyle, bassist Jonathan Zwartz and pianist Barney McAll.

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