festival review - A masterclass in jazz

Terence Blanchard
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The 15th Annual Melbourne International Jazz Festival descends on the city, which has become a rapidly growing destination for rising stars in jazz.


McCoy Tyner

Melbourne's rich pool of homegrown jazz is, more than ever, attracting collaborative peers from all over the world. And nowhere is this more evident than the annual Melbourne International Jazz Festival.

From June 1 to 10, an intriguing mix of stars of the genre and newcomers, global artists and local musicians, will gather to celebrate the form that legends such as Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holliday, and Benny Goodman made part of society in the United States during the early to mid-20th century, before a late-century ‘jazz revolution’ kicked off new interest, and new branches, from its melodious, syncopated roots.

Qatar Airways is proud to be a premium partner of the 2012 Festival.

First, the free Qatar Airways Opening Celebration Concert on June 2 will offer a glimpse of what’s to come over the next week-plus through this open-air concert at Federation Square. Featured performers include saxophonist Chris Potter and the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, and Melbourne’s own The Cactus Channel. Ideal for music lovers, seasoned punters, families, friends, and first-time concert-goers, this unmissable celebration of jazz will have everyone dancing into the twilight – rain, hail, or shine!

Then it’s on to the Qatar Airways Modern Masters Series, arguably the festival’s premier events.

Included in this assortment of stars throughout Melbourne jazz venues will be American McCoy Tyner, one of the members of John Coltrane’s ‘classic’ quartet and unquestioned jazz piano royalty. Here, as part of a trio that includes Chris Potter and exciting vocalist José James, Tyner will revisit the 1963 classic recording John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman.

James will also be part of a project called Future Now, which wowed New York audiences last year. Exploring and expanding the boundaries of jazz by incorporating hip-hop, R&B, and soul, James teams with MC Taylor McFerrin – son of renowned vocalist Bobby McFerrin – and the outstanding Robert Glasper Experiment. The result is post-modern jazz reaching a new, unimagined height.

Other stalwart acts at the festival will include electrifying Japanese keyboardist-composer Hiromi, jazz diva Dee Dee Bridgewater, five-time Grammy winning trumpeter Terence Blanchard, and legendary singer Patti Austin, in a tribute to the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald.


Melbourne, Australia
Distance: 11,973 km
Flight Time: 13 hours, 30 minutes
Frequency: Daily

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