I was thrilled to be invited to be part of the 2015 Stonnington Jazz Festival programming team and hand pick some shows for the 10 year anniversary edition of this fabulous festival. This year the program has expanded to include new venues, new acts and genres never heard before at the festival including soul, afrobeat and spiritual jazz making this a truly exciting and diverse program. I can’t wait! The festival runs 14th – 24th May in the City of Stonnington.
Here are my picks of the festival program:
Friday May 15th @ David Williamson Theatre, Polytechnic
Adam Rudegeair “The Bowie Project” Album Launch!
Bowie and Jazz are two of my favorite things so this project is one of my favorite of Rudegair’s musical endeavours. The album is ambitious, infectious, slightly oddball and superbly creative – much like Adam and David I think! This special festival album launch event will be held in the stunning David Williamson Theatre, a new venue for the festival and the perfect hub for this event. Do check out the album and this show! Info here.
Saturday May 16th
Soul Bowl: Cookin on 3 Burners, The Putbacks and DJ Mz Rizk @ Melbourne Bowling Club
Melbourne Bowling Club hosts a soul takeover! Two of Melbourne’s premier instrumental acts go head to head to present a hammond organ soul-jazz-funk night in the classic Melbourne bowling club. The green will be lit up while the boys jam out in front on the trophy cabinet. The bowlers aren’t going to know what has hit them! Mz Rizk will be spinning in-between sets and after the band to get the parquetry dance floor jamming. I’ts going to be a seriously fun night. Get down there. TIX HERE.
Sunday May 17th
Australia’s First Lady of Jazz: A Tribute to Kerrie Biddell @ Malvern Town Hall DEBUT FESTIVAL EXCLUSIVE!
This show is very close to my heart – I am honored to be part of this beautiful concert, paying my respects to the incredible Kerrie Biddell who sadly passed away last year. Kerrie was an incredible vocalist with an ability to belt, scream and sweetly serenade like Streisand all in the one song. She started out as a backing vocalist for Dusty Springfield at age 19 who urged her to take centre stage as a lead singer. She was offered a three year contract performing at MGM Grand in Vegas and headed over to the states with Count Basie and Mel Torme soon knocking on her door to go on tour with them. However not one for the Vegas lifestyle, she famously left the glitz of MGM after one year to return to Sydney to pursue her true passion – to sing jazz. This premiere concert features repertoire from her solo albums, tracks from her big band collaboration with the Daly Wilson Big Band and jazz originals written for her by Sydney songwriters. The show features vocalists Fem Belling, Elly Hoyt and Kiristin Berardi and myself backed by the mammoth sound of the ATM15 Big Band. I can’t wait. Tickets HERE.
Thursday May 21st
Menagerie – The Shall Inherit @ Chapel off Chapel DEBUT FESTIVAL EXCLUSIVE!
“They Shall Inherit”, Lance Ferguson’s spiritual jazz concept album was one of my favorite albums of 2012. This studio project heralded as “Australia’s’ first Spiritual Jazz album” has been featured on my radio show “Jazz Got Soul” countless times and I have always hoped that Lance would put together a live show version. Luckily for us, he agreed to put together two shows for the 10th Anniversary of Stonnington Jazz Festival at the beautiful Chapel off Chapel. This is going to be an incredible evening of Australian jazz. An exclusive for Stonnigton jazz, do not miss this show! Tix HERE.
Friday May 22nd
Women of Soul Present “The Ladies Sing Jazz” @ Malvern Town Hall EXCLUSIVE FESTIVAL EDITION
Women of Soul are back with an exclusive jazz edition curated especially for Stonnington Jazz. May Johnston (Deep Street Soul) Christina Perfection (The Perfections), Rita Satch, and Lisa Faithfull (Soul Safari) and moi will present a special tribute to our jazz heroines Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James and Esther Phillips in Women of Soul style! In the second half of the show we will perform all original tracks from the Women of Soul album in the grand setting of Malvern Town Hall. Tix HERE.
Friday May 22nd
Ross McHenry Trio @ David Williamson Theatre
The future of Australian jazz is Ross McHenry, Adelaide’s incredible bassist, composer and band leader. His future ensemble work incorporates hip hop, jazz, electronica, broken-beat, soul and world music. You can also catch Ross with Shaolin Afronauts on the 23rd May. Tix HERE.
Saturday May 23
The Afrobeat Summit: Shaolin Afronauts and Public Opinion 6 @ Malvern Town Hall
The Afrobeat take over hits Malvern Town Hall May 23. Melbourne’s Public Opinion Six meets Adelaide’s Shaolin Afronauts for a night of afrobeat, jazz and jams. Wear your dancing shoes! TIX HERE.
Check out all the details on stonningtonjazz.com.au
Enjoy the festival!