DESPITE all the obstacles thrown up by covid, this year’s Perth International Jazz Festival will be the biggest yet with the jazzers embarking on a tour of regional WA.
Festival director Mace Francis says a $612,000 federal arts grant has enabled them to hire people to work on the festival all year around, whereas previously they used volunteers and short-term contractors.
“The RISE grant will make a huge difference to the overall running of the Festival and its expansion and reach across WA,” she says.
“This year we’ll be heading down to Busselton on Saturday November 13 following the Perth festival, and we’re now planning our 2022 PIJF On Tour into the south-west reaching down to Albany in May.
“In following years we’ll be heading east and north of the state to make sure we include as much of WA as we can and to share this jazz music that we love.”
The core festival in Perth has also been expanded with loads more free gigs in and around the CBD.
“I’m particularly excited about the Northbridge Piazza stage which will feature jazz infused funk, pop and hip hop bands, which you will be able to enjoy with a special jazz themed beer, specifically brewed by Northbridge Brewing Co,” Dr Francis says.
“We’ll also have a secret rooftop bar featuring hot Brazilian evenings that’s right in the middle of the CBD that no one knows about. If fact you won’t know where it is either until you buy a ticket.”
Despite the increased scope of the festival, the ’international’ aspect has been curtailed by covid, with no overseas artists travelling to WA to perform.
However, at the time of going to print, musicians from South Australia and Tasmania were still allowed into WA and are scheduled to appear.
“Luckily we have local musicians that can hold their own on any international stage and we will feature as many of them as we can,” Dr Francis says.
“We won’t be able to bring in any international artists directly, but we do have a very exciting and innovative performance planned by an international trio who the audience will be able to interact with in real time using their own app.
“Collaborative music making via the internet like you have never experienced before.”
The annual festival will be held in Perth from November 5 – 7, but to get sandgropers in the mood they’ll be a program launch party on September 23 at The Rechabite Hall in Northbridge, where organisers will reveal who is playing at the festival and details of venues and special events.
The launch includes live performances from Bad Whip – improvisational dance music by drummer Alex Reid and keyboardist Josiah Padmanabhan – the renowned Nick Abbey Trio, a modern take on the classic piano trio, and the Carlton/Pass/Valenti Trio, showcasing the trumpet skills of Jessica Carlton.
Tix for the launch party are at megatix.com.au (you can either buy a ticket or become a “jazz messenger” member).
By STEPHEN POLLOCK