MIJF – Summer Sessions

From the media release

Paul Grabowsky | image supplied
Paul Grabowsky | image supplied

Melbourne International Jazz Festival Summer Sessions, 15 – 29 January 2015

Melbourne International Jazz Festival present a series of Summer Sessions, bringing a range of exciting local and visiting musicians to Bennetts Lane Jazz Club in January 2015.

Over six nights, Bennetts Lane Jazz Club will be the place to experience intimate gigs including Belgian piano virtuoso Jef Neve, a celebration of John Coltrane’s seminal album A Love Supreme and a showcase of some of this country’s finest jazz pianists in the Yamaha Piano Series.

The Yamaha Piano Series celebrates Australia’s world class pianists, their compositions, their bands and their contribution to the art form. The first set of the evening explores the intimate creative relationship between the pianist and their instrument through solo performance. The second set features their band and explores the development of their musical ideas through ensemble performance.

Enjoy balmy evenings and cool jazz this summer.

Summer Sessions 2015

Thursday, 15 January 2015 Yamaha Piano Series: Tal Cohen

Thursday, 22 January 2015 Yamaha Piano Series: Paul Grabowsky

Friday, 23 January 2015 An evening with Jef Neve

Saturday, 24 January, Sunday, 25 January 2015 A Love Supreme: A Celebration of John Coltrane

Thursday, 29 January 2015 Yamaha Piano Series: Hue Blanes


Bennetts Lane Jazz Club 25 Bennetts Lane, Melbourne

Summer Sessions on the Melbourne International Jazz Festival website

Tal Cohen website

Paul Grabowsky website

Jef Neve on the web

Hue Blanes on the web

Dale Barlow on wikipedia

Barney McAll on the web


Yamaha Piano Series: Tal Cohen

Thursday, 15 January 2015 at 8pm 

‘Pianist Tal Cohen possesses an awareness and exceptional sense of musicianship that belies any expectations of what is possible to play in a moment. He embodies a true purity of spirit that is the very definition of improvised music.’ – Greg Osby

Tal Cohen visits us from Miami where he’s been studying and performing for the past 2 years. His sublime musicianship has marked him as a rising star on the scene, collaborating with likes of Grammy Award winning trumpeter Terence Blanchard with recent performances at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles and the 2014 New Orleans Jazz Festival.

Yamaha Piano Series: Paul Grabowsky

Thursday, 22 January 2015 at 8pm 

‘Paul Grabowsky shrewdly absorbs contemporary jazz influences and creatively conflates them with the cornerstone ideas of great classical composers. His asymmetrical phrasing, collisions of big ideas and unwillingness to coast in his own piano playing mark him as a major force in jazz. And further, through his band, advertises a thriving and masterful Australian jazz scene.’

Paul Grabowsky, one of Australia’s most distinguished artists, is a pianist, composer, arranger, conductor, educator, artistic director and musical innovator. The scope of his works, the depth of his ideas and the range of his influence has helped sculpt generations of Australian musicians and provide countless opportunities for their development. His portfolio of conquests and awards have identified him as a giant in the landscape of Australian music and his immense contribution to the scene has shaped the psyche of Australian jazz and set it high in the worlds appreciation of it.

An evening with Jef Neve

Friday, 23 January 2015 at 6.30pm 

Marrying intimate lyricism with daring ingenuity, Belgian pianist Jef Neve makes music that is lush, playful, expressive and elegant. From critical acclaim as a soloist and bandleader to collaborations with the likes of Jose James, Neve has established himself as one of the most important voices in contemporary jazz piano. Drawing freely on influences from classical romanticism to popular music, he is equally at home composing film scores to playing major jazz festivals around the world. This intimate concert will see him explore the limitless possibilities of the piano with a solo set performing works from his debut solo album One, before a collaboration with Philip Rex (bass) andDanny Fischer (drums), two of Australia’s most distinctive and inventive jazz musicians.

A Love Supreme: A Celebration of John Coltrane

Saturday, 24 January and Sunday, 25 January 2015 at 8pm

A musical and spiritual journey in four parts, John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme is one of the most important and influential records ever made. 50 years after its release we celebrate the legacy of this seminal album over two nights at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club. Famously recorded in one session and only performed in its entirety once in Coltrane’s lifetime, A Love Supreme is by turns transcendent, fierce and joyous, melding Coltrane’s earlier hard bop sensibilities with his later excursions into modal jazz. This unrepeatable event brings together some of this country’s most accomplished and internationally recognized jazz artists, Sydney based tenor saxophonist Dale Barlow, New York-based pianist Barney McAll and Melbourne’s own bassist Phil Rex and drummer Danny Fisher, as they pay tribute to this masterwork. Joining them on the decks will be DJs MzRizk (Saturday), Mike Gurrieri (Sunday) spinning records showcasing Coltrane’s back catalogue, and his ongoing influence in the jazz world and beyond.

Yamaha Piano Series: Hue Blanes

Thursday, 29 January 2015 at 8pm 

‘Hue Blanes can play the billy-oh out of the piano in a way that most can’t and somehow manages simultaneously to sing like the rarest of birds. He brings a contemporary nostalgia to music making that makes his empathic and iconic compositions reminiscent of both the good old days and the not so good old days.’ – Martin Martini

Hue is classically trained, a jazz fiend, and has pop chops, but despite an ability to bust out good time rags that Jelly Roll Morton would approve of, is no stranger to the black dog. He is a prolific musical craftsman, and turns out introspective, jaunty songs full of quirk and ennui. A virtuoso pianist with a musky, melancholic singing voice, Hue has become a Melbourne institution, dug in deeper than a tick, and co-runs the Jazz Party, a pop-up underground music dive, and is a feature artist on the quixotic Pound Records Label.