EVERYONE loves jazz—they just don’t know it, says singer Kristin Beradi, who’ll soon be in town for the Perth International Jazz Festival.
The booming base notes of Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World prove her point.
And who doesn’t know Glen Miller’s In the Mood or that the Boogie Woogie bugle boy was in Company B.
Beradi is happy to admit she’d thought she’d hated jazz, in her youth consigning it to the bin of old people’s music, until “I heard something I could relate to”.
That was Australian singer and trumpeter Vince Jones.
Beradi ordered his entire catalogue of music which, “started a love affair with jazz”.
“Jazz is fairly modular, it can go into many places.”
The Queenslander had been destined for a career in classical music—she’d taken up violin at five, influenced by, of all things, Play School. She also went through a phase of wanting to be a policeman and a fireman, she says.
Joining the high school band was Beradi’s first real brush with jazz.
By the time she’d left school for the Queensland music conservatory she was switching from playing violin to singing jazz.
Now 33, Beradi has taken out the international prize for voice at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and has supported George Benson and Al Jarreau on European tours.
A host of jazz musicians is heading to Perth for the festival this weekend.
“Heavy cats” Kate Ceberano and Greg Osby from the US head up a stellar mix, PIJF director Graham Wood says.
“The [aim] is to bring inspiring music by many talented musicians to Perth in an accessible and vibrant way.”
Local interest in jazz has grown in recent years, Wood says, aided by the opening of The Ellington Jazz Club in 2006.
“Having a dedicated jazz club made a big difference to the scene.”
Now in its second year the PIJF will see more than 30 performances across 12 venues over three days, Wood says.
“Jazz is fairly modular, it can go into many places. It doesn’t have to be too loud and can mold to the places available.”
US jazz guitarist Peter Bernstein, Sydney’s Rai Thislethwayte and Melbourne’s Chris McNulty will also play.
Each day winds up with a chance for some late-night mingling with fellow aficionados with a jam session at the Ellington, from midnight “till late”.
The Perth International Jazz Festival kicks off May 9 to 11. See the program online for details.
by JENNY D’ANGER