I was honoured to be invited to speak at the NYC Jazz Congress 19 for the ‘Spotlight on Australian Jazz’ panel! Held at the Lincoln centre, hundreds of industry workers, media and musicians specialising in jazz from around the globe flocked to the city for two huge days to discuss ideas, present workshops and network. The panel talks program was truly excellent and it was wonderful to be a part of it. I made some great connections and gained some valuable insights into artist touring, programming and marketing. The congress also hosts talks that delve into social justice issues, examining how current events and issues intersect with the music industry – I think it is so important in a contemporary industry program to dive into these conversations. I really loved the openness and honesty the speakers provided. Fortunately you can watch back some of the forums online and I recommend that you do. Listen back to some of the talks sessions HERE.
Whilst in the big apple I caught as many shows as I could at Winter Jazz Festival. Taking over venues across the East Village and beyond, the festival is truly a jazz marathon. I had the season pass so I could go from venue to venue – to be honest though, it is beyond cold and the venues aren’t that close, so unfortunately it’s not easy to get between venues. So I did miss quite a few acts I wanted to see. Best bet really is to pick one venue and stay there for the night. Highlights included BBC Introducing showcase hosted by Gilles Peterson, Big Yuki, Toshi Reagon and Helen Sung.
I also visited the iconic Birdland club to catch Kurt Elling (his special guest was Australia’s own James Morrison which was amazing!). This was an incredible show. Kurt is as master performer with an incredible voice and storytelling ability. The band was fire, the song choices were great, the sound was excellent. A great experience. I also caught Ben Williams and Friends at the Blue Note Jazz Club showcasing some new material. Plus I caught the epic 5-hour long tribute to Roy Hargrove at Lincoln Centre featuring Cristian McBride, Gary Bartz, Ray Drummond, and Jimmy Cobb, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Norah Jones and so many more.
In-between all the jazz I managed to squeeze in some vogue dance classes at Perezio dance, Ailey Dance Extension and Broadway Dance studios and a wee bit of vintage shopping. Picked up a gorgeous 1960s green ballgown from NYC Vintage and had a couple of hats made at East Village Hats. I heart NYC.
Huge thanks to Creative Victoria for supporting my trip and also to Monash University and Stonnington Jazz.