It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. This is never more true than when visiting a new city, travelling or Localing as it may be. Every year around this time Melburnians are treated to a trove of local and international music talent during the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. Dean from Localing has been a key figure behind the scenes there for several years and below we have his take on the coming highlights to keep an eye out for.
Naturally, we get the inside scoop on all the best gigs, festivals and music events around town. Ask about including this sort of thing on your next Melbourne tour or experience with Localing Melbourne.
Festival highlights this week:
Chick Corea and Gary Burton Duets (USA)
Sunday 8 June at 7.30pm
Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall
Spanning the full spectrum of jazz, blues, swing and soul the Modern Masters headline program boasts two of the biggest names in modern jazz, Chick Corea and Gary Burton (USA). Each a musical giant in his own right, as a duo they are nothing short of legendary. Delving into material from the jazz world and beyond with their trademark timbral blend, mercurial interplay and joyful spontaneity, this concert will demonstrate why they remain the most exciting duo in modern jazz.
Davi sings Sinatra (USA)
Saturday 7 June at 8pm
Italian-American award-winning character actor and jazz vocalist Robert Davi (USA) makes his Australian Debut with his acclaimed tribute to Frank Sinatra – Davi Sings Sinatra. One of the film industry's most recognized tough guys, on both the big screen (Licence to Kill, Die Hard), and the small (CSI), Davi comes to Australia with his hard-swinging six-piece band. Davi Sings Sinatra has been hailed as “magnificent”, “a soaring voyage” and displaying an “unabashed passion for the finer details behind Sinatra’s craft”. After seeing the show, Quincy Jones said “He absolutely touched me down to my soul and brought back the essence and soul of ‘Ol Blue Eyes himself.”
Derrick Hodge plus Chris Turner (USA)
Saturday 7 June at 8.15pm
A Festival exclusive double bill, Derrick Hodge plus Chris Turner (USA), features two artists at the vanguard of next-generational, multi-layered jazz. Presented in association with Blue Note Records as part of the worldwide 75thanniversary celebrations, extraordinary bassist and composer Derrick Hodge and his band will perform works from his acclaimed 2013 release, Live Today. The performance also features Chris Turner, instantly recognizable as the voice of ERIMAJ, bringing his distinctively dreamy vocal charm to Australia for the first time.
Mary Stallings (USA)
Thursday 5 June at 7:30pm
Melbourne Recital Centre
With her supple sense of swing, blues-inflected phrasing, and unique gift for interpretation, Mary Stallings - hailed by The New York Times as “the best jazz singer alive today” - returns to Australia with her supremely soulful stylings of hard swinging standards and breathtaking ballads.
Alister Spence Trio (AUS)/ Dawn of Midi (USA)
Thursday 5 June & Friday 6 June at 9pm
Merlyn Theatre, The Coopers Malthouse
The Australian premiere of Brooklyn based trio Dawn of Midi (USA), who weave together elements of ambient, electronica, dance music and classical minimalism, on a double bill with Sydney’s Alister Spence Trio, one of the most spellbinding units in Australian improvised music.
A Celebration of Charlie Parker: Django Bates Belovèd with Monash Art Ensemble (UK / DEN / SWE & AUS)
Friday 6 June at 7pm
Merlyn Theatre, The Coopers Malthouse
Django Bates Belovèd (UK/DEN/SWE) revisit their groundbreaking 2013 BBC Proms homage to bebop pioneer Charlier Parker, taking to the stage with the Monash Art Ensemble (AUS) for A Celebration of Charlie Parker.
774’s Swing Noir
After the wild success of 774’s Roaring Swing in 2013, Hilary Harper hosts 774’s Swing Noir, featuring dance diva and DJ, Miss Sugar Puss and two of Melbourne’s most seductive bands – Ultrafox and Swingville. The talented Swing Patrol instructors will guide the audience through an evening of intoxicating gypsy swing pioneered by the likes of Django Reinhardt and The Hot Club of France.
For more information visit the Melbourne International Jazz Festival Website.