Women Playing Jazz – City Hub Sydney

Melissa Aldana. Photo: Eduardo Pávez Goye

For the eleventh year, SIMA will bring together the best musicians and singers from around the world to celebrate the Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival.

This year’s stellar lineup includes Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana, Finnish pianist/harpist Iro Haarla, Guguyelandji and Woppaburra wife Marlene Cummins, and world-renowned Melbourne/Naarm pianist Andrea Keller.

Venues around Sydney will host a variety of artists, with the headliners all performing centrally at the festival at the Seymour Centre. The Seymour’s foyer will be transformed into a late-night jazz club with live music and lots of atmosphere. Meanwhile, headliners will perform in the spacious York Theatre.

Marlene Cummins. Photo: Shane Rozario, Ku-ring-gai Art Society

Chilean virtuoso, Melissa Aldana, started playing the saxophone at the age of 6 under the tutelage of her father, a professional saxophonist. She showed promise early on, and as a teenager was performing in jazz clubs in Santiago. After being invited to perform at the Panama Jazz Festival, she entered the prestigious Berklee College of Music in the United States, graduated, and then moved to the New York Jazz Center.

From there, his career exploded with appearances at the world’s biggest jazz festivals, popular recordings and prestigious awards. In 2012 she formed Melissa Aldana and Crash Trio, winning awards and accolades.

The Melissa Aldana Quartet formed in 2017. They signed a deal with Blue Note Records in 2019, releasing the album, 12 stars. Described as pensive and emotional, the music of 12 stars will be performed by the quartet in their York Theater show.

Andrea Keller. Photo: Jamil Nawaz

Marlene Cummins is a jazz blues musician, composer, singer, artist, activist, entertainer, dancer and very proud Guguyelandji and Woppaburra woman. She hosts Marloo’s blues on Koori Radio, where she shares her incredible knowledge of jazz and blues music and Indigenous culture.

Born in Queensland into a politically active family, Cummins joined the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in her mid-teens and was a central figure in Aboriginal activism for several decades. His music and creative practice reflect this.

Iro Harla. Picture: provided

The show she will debut at this festival, Marloo’s blueswill tell the musical story of Australian First Nations jazz and blues artists of the 1950s and 60s.

Classically trained Finnish pianist and harpist, Iro Haarla, converted to jazz after meeting jazz drummer, Edward Vesala, who became her husband. Her instinctive talent for arranging and composing was channeled entirely into her husband’s career until his death in 1999. She then emerged as if emerging from a cocoon, earning wide acclaim for her own music and its performance.

Claire Edwards. Picture: provided

For her show, Haarla will play Suomi Suitea specially commissioned work from Australian composer Johnathan Zwartz.

Internationally renowned percussionist Claire Edwardes will open the evening with her solo performance,Rhythms of change.

Australian pianist and composer Andrea Keller will bring together her trio (including saxophonist John Mackey and trumpeter Miroslav Bukovsky) with a string sextet to present a selection of new compositions.

Keller is an imaginative composer and much-loved musician whose music is evocative, moving and exciting.

This is just a sampling of the 2022 Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival offering. Visit the website for the full programme.

October 27 – November 5

Festival Centre: Seymour Centre, Cnr City Rd and Cleveland St, Chippendale

as well as various other places.


Comments are closed.