Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival 202

Tickets for the Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival go on sale today. Running from Thursday October 27 to Saturday November 5 it will feature musicians from around the world for the Sydney Improvised Music Association’s (SIMA) annual celebration of women in jazz.

Now in its 11th year, the 2022 Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival headline events include Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana (Blue Note), Finnish pianist/harpist Iro Haarla (ECM Records), Guguyelandji and Woppaburra woman Marlene Cummins, and world-renowned pianist Andrea Keller from Melbourne/Naarm.

The first week’s events are at the Seymour Centre, in Chippendale. Its York Theatre will be home to the headliners, with opening artists from 7.30pm, whilst a late-night festival club with live music will take over the foyer. A curated program of additional festival events at clubs and venues throughout Sydney will be announced in mid-September.

The York Theatre:

Thursday October 27: Fiery Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana and her quartet will kick off the festival, on performing her debut Blue Note release 12 Stars. Melissa is one of the world’s leading tenor saxophonists. She’s a story-teller and an improvisor with a deeply meditative interpretation of the language of jazz. There is a special guest opening performance from Jo Lawry and Dan Tepfer, guaranteed to be playful, deeply connective, virtuosic and full of surprises. 

Friday October 28: Marloo’s Blues by Marlene Cummins. In this world premiere, proud Guguyelandji, and Woppaburra woman Marlene Cummins tells the musical story of Australia’s first nations jazz and blues artists of the 50s and 60s – one of vulnerability, strength and survival. It will speak of their shared experiences before and after the Aboriginal Rights Movement. She’ll be celebrating these pioneering artists, such as legendary blues women Big Mama Thornton and Bessie Smith through her music and stories. Marloo’s Blues will open with a special guest performance from SHAMIN, an experimental jazz duo based in Brisbane/Meanjin, comprising Sophie Min and Benjamin Shannon.

Saturday October 29: Suite Suomi by Iro Haarla and Jonathan Zwartz. To celebrate the extraordinary Finnish ECM recording artist, Iro Haarla, SIMA invited composer Jonathan Zwartz to write a new suite of music. Suite Suomi is an exploration of their diverse and vast landscapes, while finding commonality through elemental language. This will be the first ever concert in Australia for harpist, pianist and composer Iro Haarla. For two decades Haarla dedicated herself musically to her late husband, Finnish drummer Edward Vesala. When Vesala passed in 1999, she began to record and perform her own work to great critical acclaim – taking home the Georgia Award in 2006, the highest honour for a Finnish Jazz Musician. Acclaimed percussionist Claire Edwardes will open the night with her solo performance Rhythms of Change.

Pier 2/3, ACO

Thursday November 3: Melbourne’s Andrea Keller Trio will be joined by a string section at Pier 2/3, ACO, to premiere new compositions for trio with saxophonist John Mackey and trumpeter Miroslav Bukovsky. Combining her dedication for creative music and improvisation, with an affinity for chamber music, this series of new works features varying combinations of the trio and strings. The music creates expressive landscapes through lush harmonies, fluid movement between pulse, rubato and tempo shifts, and nuanced melodies – at times impassioned, while at others understated.


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