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Perth International Jazz Festival

Graham Wood
Graham Wood
Troy Roberts Nu-Jive 5
Troy Roberts Nu-Jive 5

Bright Return

The Perth International Jazz Festival returns for its second year this Friday-Sunday, May 9-11, at venues all around the city (full details at perthinternationaljazzfestival.com.au). BOB GORDON catches up with Artistic Director, Graham Wood. 

Your illness last year precluded you from attending your own festival. How’s it feel – in all respects – to have the second Perth International Jazz Festival approach this week with you in attendance?

It is a great relief to be well enough this year to be able to perform and participate in what was by all accounts a really exciting weekend last year. I’m really thrilled that the event is back bigger and better in 2014.

What are the challenges in staging a jazz festival in Perth?

The biggest challenge is pulling all of the different elements of the festival together, but most importantly generating an income source that will make the event viable in the long term. We are very fortunate to have the very generous support from Lotterywest, City of Perth and The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, as well as our major corporate sponsors Brookfield and NAB.

In addition to this we have a fantastic list of festival partners who really make the event possible.

What events within the festival do you consider the ‘hidden jewels’?

I think the main hidden jewels are The Singers Lounge with three amazing artists – Chris McNulty (US), Kristin Berardi (Brisbane, see story this page) and Josh Kyle (Melbourne) performing in the State Theatre Centre courtyard. The other hidden jewels are at The Jazz Quarter at Brookfield Place on Sunday with eight bands – Troy Roberts Nu Jive 5 (USA), Leo Salvo (Melbourne) & the Afro Cuban Quintet, Mat Jodrell (back home from the US), Manteca, Belleville, Carl Mackey and Jordan Murray (Melbourne), Daniel Susnjar Afro Peruvian Group and James Sandon (Brisbane). All of those mentioned are for an incredible ticket price of $25.

What are the highlights in general?

The main highlight is definitely the Concert Hall on Friday night with Kate Ceberano and the PIJF Allstar Big Band. This concert will see Kate return to her roots as a jazz singer and is a rare chance to see her perform in this environment. The band will be amazing with the best players selected from the PIJF program. In addition to this, the heavy hitters from the US, Greg Osby and Peter Bernstein, will definitely be highlights.

What are your hopes for the Perth International Jazz Festival this time around?

Our goal is to be a success both artistically and financially so we are able to continue to build into one of the best jazz festivals in the Australasian region. I think we are heading in the right dire