The Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival returns in November


This November marks the 5th Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival, under the auspices of the Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA), being held at the Foundry 616 and supported by the City of Sydney and the Anthony and Sharon Lee Foundation. After the success of last year’s event, which featured Canadian saxophonist Jane Bunnett and the amazing Cuban ensemble Maqueque, this year is headlined by the 27 year old Chilean sax player Melissa Aldana and her trio. Aldana was the first woman to win the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, and is now based in New York. Her Wommusic release “Back Home” was released on March 11, 2016, and was described by the New York Times as both ‘unburdened by legacy’ and ‘a supremely focused statement’. Inspired by Sonny Rollins, whom she recently interviewed, this is her fifth album and full of what Billboard called ‘lyrical, gutsy solos’.

Other international guests include Canadian sisters Ingrid and Christine Jensen, on trumpet and saxophone respectively, who are sharing the stage with the Mike Nock trio, French guitarist and vocalist Tricia Evy, performing selection of jazz standards by Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong as well as originals with a Caribbean touch, US pianist and vocalist Fiona Joy, Iranian singer Tara Tiba, who is classically trained in the Persian ‘Radif’ system, which she combines with improvisation.

Local support will also be strong – the Sydney Women’s Jazz Collective has formed especially for the festival, and will perform with the Jensen sisters, led by trumpeter Ellen Kirkwood and bassist Hannah James, and including Jann Rutherford prize-winning pianist Emma Stephenson, who is also part of Microfiche, a minimalist improvising ensemble, and local saxophone legend Sandy Evans. Cologne-based trombonist Shannon Barnett, who was the 2007 Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year, will perform with her German ensemble, and there are a number of free events, including a Jazz Record and CD Fair at 616 on the last day of the festival, November from midday to 4pm on Sunday 13th November.

You can read our review of last year’s festival here.

Sydney International Women’s Jazz festival, November 2-13. You find more information here.


About Author

Tony Mitchell is an honoraray research associate at the University of Technology, Sydney. He has edited a number of books: on global hip hop (Global Noise, 2001), on Australian Popular Music (Sounds of Then, Sounds of Now, 2008), and New Zealand Music (Home Land and Sea, 2011). He is currently co-editing a book about Icelandic music.

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