• Emma Collison

Musicians from around the globe gather for Sydney International Women's Jazz Festival

Updated: Oct 9


Sydney International Women's Jazz Festival Thursday October 27 to Saturday November 5 https://sima.org.au/ Artist Images


Musicians from around the globe will gather in Sydney for SIMA’s annual celebration of women in jazz. Now in its 11th year, the Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival continues to showcase some of the most talented, inspiring and creative musicians from home and abroad.


Headlining the 2022 festival is Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana (Blue Note), Finnish pianist/harpist Iro Haarla (ECM Records), Guguyelandji and Woppaburra woman Marlene Cummins, and world-renowned pianist Andrea Keller from Melbourne/Naarm.


The first week’s musical adventures will take place in one central hub - the vibrant Seymour Centre, in Chippendale. The York Theatre will be home to the headliners, with opening artists from 7.30pm – whilst a late-night festival club with live music will take over the foyer. A curated program of additional festival events at clubs and venues throughout Sydney will be announced in mid-September.


Melissa Aldana Quartet The York Theatre - Thursday October 27

Fiery Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana and her quartet will kick off the festival, performing her debut Blue Note release ’12 Stars’. Melissa is currently one of the world’s leading lights on tenor – she’s a story-teller and an improvisor with a deeply meditative interpretation of the language of jazz.

The highly contemplative and emotive album ‘12 Stars’ is inspired by the arcs and nuances of tarot, and features a series of tributes to moments of challenge and triumph in Aldana’s New York lifestyle. The album firmly captures her “bold harmonies and attention-grabbing solos” – Jazzwise.

A special guest opening performance from Jo Lawry & Dan Tepfer is guaranteed to be rich in playfulness, virtuosity, deep connection and surprises.


Marloo's Blues by Marlene Cummins

The York Theatre - Friday October 28

In this world premiere, proud Guguyelandji, and Woppaburra woman Marlene Cummins tells the musical story of Australia’s first nations jazz and blues artists of the 50s and 60s – one of vulnerability, strength and survival.

This world premiere will speak of their shared experiences before & after the Aboriginal Rights Movement. She’ll be celebrating these pioneering artists, such as legendary blues women Big Mama Thornton and Bessie Smith through her music and stories.

Marloo's Blues will open with a special guest performance from SHAMIN, an experimental jazz duo based in Brisbane/Meanjin, comprising of Sophie Min and Benjamin Shannon.

Suite Suomi By Iro Haarla & Jonathan Zwartz

The York Theatre - Saturday October 29

To celebrate the extraordinary Finnish ECM recording artist, Iro Haarla, SIMA invited composer Jonathan Zwartz to write a new suite of music. Suite Suomi is an exploration of their diverse and vast landscapes, while finding commonality through elemental language.

This will be the first ever concert in Australia for harpist, pianist and composer Iro Haarla. For two decades Haarla dedicated herself musically to her late husband, Finnish drummer Edward Vesala. When Vesala passed in 1999, she began to record and perform her own work to great critical acclaim – taking home the Georgia Award in 2006, the highest honour for a Finnish Jazz Musician.

From the enormity of the Northern Lights to the sound of wind through the eucalypts, Suite Suomi is sure to be a beautiful and evocative musical journey.

Internationally acclaimed percussionist Claire Edwardes will open the night with her solo performance Rhythms of Change.

Andrea Keller Trio & Strings

Pier 2/3, Aco - Thursday November 3

Melbourne’s Andrea Keller Trio will be joined by a string section at Pier 2/3, ACO, as the renowned pianist and composer premieres new compositions for trio with saxophonist John Mackey and trumpeter Miroslav Bukovsky.


Combining her dedication for creative music and improvisation, with an affinity for chamber music, this series of new works features varying combinations of the trio and strings. The music creates expressive landscapes through lush harmonies, fluid movement between pulse, rubato and tempo shifts, and nuanced melodies - at times impassioned, while at others understated.


Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival | Thursday October 27 to Saturday November 5

Book now at sima.org.au

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