Sydney Con Jazz Festival 2022

6 April 2022
Artists from around the world alongside the best of homegrown talent
Sample the best of jazz from here and abroad at the fifth Sydney Con Jazz Festival (SCJF), taking place at Sydney's Conservatorium of Music on 5 June. Over 100 leading jazz artists from Australia, US and Europe will perform in over 24 concerts.

All five concert halls and performances spaces of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (SCM) will be on show, as audiences immerse themselves in a myriad of jazz contemporary styles.

"The festival is a celebration of jazz, one of humanity's most vibrant and creative art forms," says David Theak, Festival Artistic Director and Senior Lecturer Jazz Studies, Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

"Jazz is an incredibly broad genre and we invite you to immerse yourself in the wide variety of music on offer in our unique, single-day festival."

Headlining the festival Gala is Trio Grande 2.0, featuring multi-Grammy award winner Eric Harland (USA). A boss of the New York scene, Harland is one of the most in-demand jazz drummers today. He will be joined by saxophonist Will Vinson (UK) and guitarist Gilad Hekselman (Israel), each with their own formidable reputation. Pianist and Aria Award-winning Barney McAll will open the gala with a solo performance that will dazzle and inspire.

One the most prolific & talented jazz composers, Florian Ross (Germany) will present beautiful, melodic, and intriguing big band compositions in 'Architexture'. Ross (piano) is accompanied by Will Vinson on saxophone, Hannah James on bass, Jamie Cameron on drums, and seven-piece wind ensemble.

Outstanding Melbourne artists in the SCJF 2022 program include acclaimed saxophonist Julien Wilson and his quartet STOCK whilst prodigious vocalist and composer Gian Slater will present the Sydney premiere of her sixth album 'Grey is Ground' with Barney McAll, Simon Barker (drums) and the Sydney Con Jazz Choir directed by Naomi Crellin. 

Emerging female quartet AURA will shine alongside other visiting Victorian artists such as luminary pianist Andrea Keller with Helen Svobada and Niran Dasika join the Ben Devries Trio in Converge. Winner of the 2021 APRA Arts Music Award for Best Jazz Work, Vanessa Perica will conduct the National Youth Big Band which features Australia’s leading young musicians from across the nation.

Acoustic offerings include experimental folk duo Meatshell, the soulful and interactive Chris Cody Quartet, and lush harmonies from the Emma Stephenson Quartet. Visions of Nar featuring Zela Margossian, Jeremy Rose, Hilary Geddes, and Adam Yilmaz, promises a fusion of folk, jazz, and classical. Steve Barry's Blueprints Trio will unite for the first time since 2019 plus K2 featuring Matt Keegan and Chloe Kim will conjure electro-acoustic, groove-based improvised dialogue.

The SCJF’s mission includes providing opportunities for emerging artists to work with established artists in the CONVerge series. CONVerge concerts for 2022 include Florian Ross leading CONverge with The Conservatorium Jazz Orchestra, directed by David Theak and Vanessa Perica conducting leading interstate and local musicians from the ANJO Youth Big Band. Mingus Amongst Us will re-awaken Charles Mingus with an Australian twist.

James Valentine (ABC Jazz and 702 Afternoons) will moderate a panel discussion of distinguished festival artists. The talk will give Insights into how leading musicians approach their art form, what inspires them and how the world of jazz continues to change today.

The Jazz Cafe will host outstanding groups including New Zealand supergroup GRG67 featuring Roger Manins (one of the leading jazz saxophonists in the Southern Hemisphere) with Michael Howellon guitar, Mostyn Cole on bass and Tristan Deck on drums. Julien Wilson's STOCK will delight with Wilson's electrifying original compositions. Expect bold new Australian compositions from Delay 45 and extreme virtuosity from the next wave of the Sydney jazz scene with Turismo.

The feel-good, smile-provoking ensemble The Pocket Trio will perform free to festival attendees in The Atrium.

The SCJF 2022 is a collaboration between Sydney Conservatorium's Jazz unit, the Conservatorium Open Academy, and the Sydney Improvised Music Association. This dynamic team has sought to create an event where the musicians and their art is the primary focus.

Image: Julian Wilson’s STOCK

Related articles