SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S JAZZ FESTIVAL

Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival, November 2 to 17, will feature 100 leading female artists at venues across Sydney.

In its 9th year, the SIWJF is a celebration of the artistry of women in jazz, uniting musicians from Brazil, Armenia, the USA, Canada and Australia.

SIWJF First Nations jazz legend Wilma Reading from Cairns opens the festival – a singer whose dazzling international career boasts collaborations with legends like Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson and Ray Brown, and performances on the Johnny Carson Show.

Also performing are two New Yorkers - fiery saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, (pictured) who shared stages with Stevie Wonder, Macy Gray and Alicia Keys, and 24 year old superstar vocalist Veronica Swift, who toured with Wynton Marsalis and appeared at the Monterey and Montreal Jazz Festivals. In addition to her quartet performance, Lakecia Benjamin will collaborate with Sydney’s 10-piece women’s jazz ensemble Pharos, led by bassist Hannah James. The ensemble will perform arrangements of Benjamin’s compositions alongside works specifically composed for Pharos.

After the recent death of bossa-nova giant João Gilberto, fans will rejoice at the inclusion of singer/ songwriter Anna Setton - a São Paulo native who modernises the romantic spirit of Brazilian music with a nylon string guitar and seductively airy vocals. Anna’s performance will headline a day of free activities at Bondi Pavilion, on Sunday November 3 from 3.30pm, including a Latin Rhythms and Cajon workshop – no experience required! Kick on into the night in true Brazilian style with Latin DJ’s courtesy of Beach Road Radio.

Canadian sax composer Chelsea McBride will perform her bustling, ecstatic compositions for big band alongside the Divergence Jazz Orchestra, a group conducted by the award-winning Sydney composer and bandleader Jenna Cave. For lovers of big band, Bell’s Hall of Famer and national treasure Judy Bailey A will lead her 17-piece Jazz Connection orchestra performing original repertoire by the distinguished, ARIA award-winning composer and pianist.

Classically trained jazz pianist Zela Margossian will explore the intersection of jazz and folk music from her native Armenia in a live recording at Studios 301, and leading interstate musical figures like Gemma Farrell (WA) and Tamara Murphy (VIC) are set to stage all Australian work with their full touring ensembles.

Free and low-cost events are spread across the 15-day program. For families there will be FREE outdoor performances and craft activities on Saturday November 16 from 11am at the new Joynton Ave Creative Centre in Zetland. Kids will love multiple ARIA-Award winner and star of ABC TV’s Playschool Justine Clarke. BYO dancing shoes and picnic rugs!

With an eye on the future, the festival will also stage performances by up and coming young women including graduates from SIMA’s Young Women’s Workshops, music students from UNSW as well as hosting the winner of the 2019 Jann Rutherford Memorial Award, Hilary Geddes Quartet. The award, founded by Dr Sandy Evans, aims to assist the professional development of young female jazz instrumentalists.

SIMA is excited to introduce audiences to a group of exciting and innovative female jazz musicians from around the world.

Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival is November 2 to 17 at Bondi Pavilion, Pier One, Foundry616, Venue 505, The Newsagency, Joynton Ave Creative Centre & Studios 301. Bookings and program information here or telephone SIMA on 02 9036 6292.

Featured image: Lakecia Benjamin. SIWJF. Photo Credit - Elizabeth Leitzell