For 11 days in May the City of Stonnington transforms itself into a swingin’ den of the hippest vibes during the annual Stonnington Jazz Festival. Now in its 12th year, it features the most groovy local and national jazz musos.
You can catch Australia’s elite jazz crew at a variety of ticketed and free events, including during the dedicated concert series. Plus there are club shows, special events, workshops and satellite events for those flung further afield. With so much good stuff for the ears, start with a few of our highlights to get the party started.
Provenance … More with Vince Jones and Paul Grabowsky (Fri. 12 May)
Jazz pianist and composer Paul Grabowsky has been teaming up with Vince Jones to complement his smooth, smoky vocal stylings for over 30 years now. In their latest collaboration, their new album Provenance, the duo have pulled together a collection of ballads showcasing why they’re both jazz legends.
Big Band Funk Party: Lake Minnetonka, Pickpocket, Arthur Penn and the Funky Ten (Thurs. 18 May)
Prepare for a frenzy of jazz-funk fusion when these three Melbourne bands hit the Melbourne Bowling Club. Lake Minnetonka is a Minneapolis-inspired funk extravaganza, paying ode to Prince. (Quick piece of trivia: Lake Minnetonka was the body of water into which our Late Purple Highness chucked Apollonia in Purple Rain.) Pickpocket is an eight-piece ensemble that goes for a deep funk groove; and Arthur Penn and the Funky Ten is a crew of eleven cats who unstintingly bring it with their high-energy blend of funk and soul. Wear comfy shoes, because getting down is mandatory.
Mad Jazz 2: The Road Warrior meets the Shaolin Afronauts (Tues. 16 May)
As if Mad Max 2 wasn’t a wild enough ride already, Adelaide’s Afro-beat babies the Shaolin Afronauts are going to score the movie live at the Astor theatre. Hi-octane, dystopian-jazz good times, with popcorn.
Jazz High Tea with Olivia Chindamo (Sun. 14 May)
Enjoy petit fours, sandwich fingers, champers, tea and other tasty comestibles, backed by the gypsy-jazz and swing stylings of the Olivia Chindamo Trio all in the salubrious environs of the Malvern Town Hall. It’s a super-civilised way to treat your Mum this Mothers’ Day
South Yarra Street Jazz featuring the Royal Jellies (Sat. 13 May)
This free, all-ages gig features the big-band brass of one of Melbourne’s most fun bands. If you’re not already familiar with the Royal Jellies check out their 2013 album Burrows St. Poolside. Hit single ‘Addicted to You’ is an ear worm of choice.
Don’t forget to fuel up for your jazz exploits at the splendid range of local restaurants across Prahran, South Yarra and Windsor partnering up for Stonnington Jazz Festival fun.
Meg Crawford is a freelance journo and full-time rockabilly. A rock dog to her core, she also likes Ghostbusters a little bit too much. Follow her on @rockabillywriter.