Orange Winter Jazz Festival Limelight Guide

The first-ever Orange Winter Jazz Festival takes hold of the scenic NSW town over the June long weekend, with some of Australia’s biggest names in jazz and stars of the local scene giving over 50 performances across eight venues.

The Zela Margossian Quintet: (LR) Alexander Inman-Hislop, Stuart Vandegraaff, Zela Margossian, Adem Yilmaz and Jacques Emery. Image © Lachlan R Dale.

The lineup was put together by Zoe Hauptmann of SIMA (Sydney Improvised Music Association) and Paul Kelly – no, not that one, or that one, or that one, or that one! – president of Jam Orange, a non-profit association dedicated to supporting music in the orange region. But with so many great shows to choose from, associate editor Hugh Robertson picked his picks from the stacked lineup.

Live and local at the Royal Hotel
One of the most charming elements of the Orange Winter Jazz Festival is its celebration of artists from Orange and the surrounding area, from local performing bands to established touring artists who call the area home. The iconic Royal Hotel is the perfect place to listen to the selection of the local scene, with shows playing all weekend from Friday evening, and open until at least 10.30am every festival night.
June 10-12 until late, The Royal Hotel

Hilary Geddes Quartet
Hilary Geddes is a young guitarist whose star is beaming positively across the firmament right now, hot on the heels of a massive 2021 that included her quartet’s debut album on ABC Jazz and was named a Freedman Jazz Fellow last October. Geddes’ music reflects his approach to band conducting – warm, open, collaborative and constantly seeking more – and his quartet, featuring Matthew Harris (piano), Maximillian Alduca (double bass) and Alexander Inman-Hislop (drums). ), are the ideal collaborators of this brilliant young guitarist. Highlighting his versatility, Geddes also stars in Visions of Nar, performing on the Sunday of the festival.
June 11, 12 p.m., Baptist Church

This World (LR, Hamish Stuart, Mike Nock, Jonathan Zwartz, Julien Wilson).

This World (LR, Hamish Stuart, Mike Nock, Jonathan Zwartz, Julien Wilson). Photo © Anthony Browell.

This world
This new band of pianist Mike Nock, bassist Jonathan Zwartz, tenor saxophonist Julien Wilson and drummer Hamish Stuart released their debut album in 2019, and have since followed up with a second. Both on record and live, their music is vibrant and varied, with the four members sharing songwriting and conducting duties in a triumph of egalitarianism. As Eric Myers wrote in a recent review, “The band’s music, as much as that of any comparable quartet in Australia that I know, tends to embody contemporary jazz. Their music is not just a celebration of a past genre, but is well in the present.
June 11, 5:15 p.m., Orange Conservatorium & June 12, 3:30 p.m., Holy Trinity Church

The vampires
The Vampires may have started at the Sydney Conservatorium, but with saxophonist Jeremy Rose, trumpeter Nick Garbett, drummer Alex Masso and bassist Mike Majkowski now residing in various remote corners of the globe, these performances at Orange mark rare gigs on Terra Australia. But for a band that draws inspiration from its travels around the world, this separation should strengthen the grooves. Already nominated for an ARIA Award and an AIR Award, a finalist at the Australian Jazz Bell Awards, and the first instrumental act to be shortlisted for the Australian Music Prize, they are a serious band that is paving the way for a new generation of Australian musicians. .
June 11, 7:45 p.m. & June 12, 7 p.m., The Uniting Church

Eishan set
Although built around a core line-up of tar player Hamed Sadeghi, Michael Avgenicos on saxophone, Pedram Layegh on guitar, Adem Yilmaz on drums and Maximillian Alduca on double bass, Eishan Ensemble often relies on guest artists for complement his sound – ensuring that no two gigs are ever the same. Interpret Sadeghi’s original compositions that straddle contemporary jazz and his Persian origin, a mixture that limelight Critic Harriet Cunningham described it as a “welded construction of limitless invention” in her review of their 2021 Sydney Opera House show.
June 12, 4:15 p.m., The Uniting Church

Andrea Keller (Photo from the artist's website) and Dr. Sandy Evans (Photo © Karen Steains).

Andrea Keller (Photo from the artist’s website) and Dr. Sandy Evans (Photo © Karen Steains).

Andrea Keller and Sandy Evans
Two of Australia’s greatest jazz citizens – composers, performers, collaborators and teachers – join forces for a rare and thrilling duo performance. Saxophonist Sandy Evans has led the charge in Australian jazz since the 1980s, performing in countless ensembles and with a list of collaborations that reads like a Who is who Australian jazz. Pianist Andrea Keller is an equally generous and enthusiastic collaborator as well as a virtuoso pianist of the classical and jazz repertoire. This special performance, with the two playing each other’s compositions, is absolutely not to be missed.
June 11, 2:15 p.m., The Uniting Church

Visions of Nar & Zela Margossian Quintet
Pianist Zela Margossian transcends genres, her music drawing on a wide range of influences from jazz and classical to her Armenian roots and her studies in Lebanon and Sydney. It all makes for a heady brew that can’t be contained by one genre, or even one ensemble – and so Margossian performs at the Orange Winter Jazz Festival in both his own Zela Margossian Quintet and Visions of Nar, which also includes the saxophonist Jeremy Rose, guitarist Hilary Geddes and percussionist Adem Yilmaz. Both concerts are rich in fascinating rhythms, sounds and styles; both could almost be too much of a good thing – almost.
June 11, 2:30 p.m. (Visions de Nar) & June 12, 7 p.m. (Zela Margossian Quintet), Orange Conservatorium

The Orange Winter Jazz Festival takes place from June 10 to 12, 2022. More information and tickets available here.

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