“If I’m playing any music at all, it’s Jazz.”
- Ginger Baker
Jazz Village offers you ‘Jazz’ in its most holistic sense.
ALL THAT JAZZ
There are so many great musicians in Sydney… the young and emerging as well as the established and experienced.
Since rising from the creative hot bed of New Orleans around the beginning of the 20th century, Jazz has developed through various increasingly complex styles, but has always embraced variety.
From the free-form style of Charles Mingus that many called ‘dirty jazz’ to the almost spiritual style of John Coltrane, seemingly channelling the divine through his sax… from the fusion funk and then electronic jazz played by pianist Herbie Hancock through to the psychedelic form for which Miles Davis is famous…
Nat King Cole is acknowledged as the great ‘jazz singer’ but there was also Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, even Sinatra… Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Stéphane Grappelli, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker, Dave Brubeck - all so different and yet all considered great Jazz players or singers.
Go to a Jazz Festival these days and you’ll also hear Blues, Soul, Funk, Reggae and so called ‘World Music’. Ginger Baker – wizard drummer of the great psychedelic rock bands Cream and Blind Faith insisted he was always playing Jazz.
And so, Jazz Village offers you ‘Jazz’ in its most holistic sense. Here are just a few of the artists and bands that can help bring your village to life after dark:
Gypsy Jazz at its absolute best. Arabesk plays its own special brand of intoxicating global grooves. A powerhouse of invention and innovation, Arabesk’s music follows many paths at any one time.
Like a river, it is fed from many different tributaries to form the whole, drawing upon strong jazz influences from Django Reinhardt and Wes Montgomery to Eastern European Gypsy/Classical music, all layered upon a backdrop of African and Arabic influenced rhythms.
At any moment the band will swing hard, only to drop into a thick funk-pumped bass line, while the violin always floats above. The drums hammer and thunder beats reminiscent of Motown, Blue Note and Afro Cuban jazz… an extraordinary ensemble.
Soul, Funk and Disco meets Cuban Mambo!
This Sydney-based, 10-piece, all-star collective takes you back to the barrios of New York for some smooth, funky Latin sound, celebrating 1960s and 70s Latin Soul, Latin Disco and Boogaloo.
Playing music by artists such as Mongo Santamaria, Joe Bataan, Joe Cuba, Tito Puente and Pete Rodriguez, Barrio Soul sets the dance floor alight with some serious grooves.
Black Bird Hum
Black Bird Hum has shared stages with the likes of the Original Wailers (Jamaica), Arrested Development (US), Black Slate (UK), Collie Buddz (US), Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Kingfisha, Six60, King Tide and Bobby Alu.
This big band has excited fans from Sydney to Byron Bay and back. Combined with a run of festival performances that includes back‐to‐back appearances at the Peats Ridge Festival, the band’s reputation for an impressive live show has quickly built.
Now regulars on the Sydney reggae scene at go-to venues like Manly's Moonshine Bar and Bondi's El Topo Basement, Black Bird Hum tours the east coast several times a year. The band has been short-listed for MusicOz Awards (Blues & Roots and Acoustic Singer/Songwriter) and nabbed a gong at the Australian Independent Music Video Awards (for innovation).
Another band comprising highly creative Sydney teenagers playing a blend of punchy funk rock.
Winners of the prestigious Northern Composure and Shoreshocked band competitions, Black Iguana has gone from busking on Manly Corso to playing at the Manly Jazz Festival.
The band has recently finished recording its new single and is now delivering shows memorable for their exciting energy.
Bassist Craig Calhoun has had an illustrious career over several decades. Growing up in the US, Germany, Switzerland and Holland, Craig was invited to play bass for Motown’s Supremes and subsequently toured with European Jazz-Funk and World Music artist Chris Hinze.
Soon after, he received an invitation from iconic Australian Jazz artist Don Burrows to headline Sydney, Melbourne and Perth music festivals and has lived in Sydney ever since, playing his own brand of ‘EuroFunk Music’.
He has since performed/recorded with some of the biggest names in Australian music including Jimmy Barnes, Marcia Hines, John Farnham, Eurogliders, Renee Geyer, Marina Prior, James Blundell and Jack Jones. Craig's unique blend of styles spans the breadth of his career from early beginnings in Blues & Soul to his exploration of Funk, Rock and improvised Groove.
Gathered from all corners of Sydney, Five Coffees is a collaboration put together by Conservatorium mates, Dean Adams and Guy Elsom. They recruited the excellence of ‘MC Nick Knowledge’, the mastery of Murilo Tanouye and the slickness of Tim Sampson to create a band that is cooler than Kool and the Gang’s engine coolant!
The band is a blend of jams – Funk, Jazz & Hip Hop regularly describes a Five Coffees song. Plaudits for the band have been rolling in since the release of the debut EP 'Flatline' (now available on iTunes), produced by Steeve Body (De La Soul) and mastered by Ben Feggans (Empire of the Sun). Most recently, Five Coffees has been the featured international artist on a New York radio station and reached No. 6 on Amrap’s Airlt chart.
Gang of Brothers
Gang of Brothers unleash a musical assault that crosses over genres – it’s deeply Funky and seriously Phat. Their culturally diverse and influential style digs deeper and deeper into the pocket of groove and rock!
This band was born into music. Brothers Andro, Dauno, Fenix and Banel Martinez hail from the prestigious Chilean musical Martinez Family (see Martinez Akustica above).
Joining them on drums and lead vocals is ‘another brother’, Buddy Siolo, whose drumming nd vocal talents have taken him around the globe.
Kate Lush is one of Australia’s most outstanding Soul / Blues vocalists.
An Australian Blues Chain Award winner, she’s gritty and soulful and her vocals are delivered straight from the heart. Think Chicago slick heaped with old school Soul-drenched Rhythm & Blues… kind of Susan Tedeschi and Sara Bareilles with a dash of Aretha’s Soul & Bonnie Raitt’s harder rock edge thrown in for good measure.
She performs her own great original songs and also belts out the occasional classic cover, all with an outstanding band that’s as 'tight as a tin of sardines'. With Kate out front, Matt Roberts (Guitar & Vocals), Tim Wilson (Bass & Vocals), Tony Boyd (Drums) and Wes Harder (Keys & Vocals), inspire an infectious joy among their audience.
This brilliant 8 piece band has an intoxicating, upbeat sound that brings the influences of reggae, funk and rap to West African grooves.
Led by the ever charismatic, Sibo Bangoura from Guinea, the group has enormous energy, giving tradition a modern twist that never fails to fill the dance floor.
KEYIM BA brings together several of Australia's best West African musicians, taking audiences on an exciting musical journey that celebrates a vibrant and colourful culture. Writing in The Australian reviewer Tony Hillier wrote: “AUSTRALIA has a new West African band capable of holding its own on the world stage." While reviewer Lloyd Bradford Syke wrote simply: “Keyim Ba is sensational… an Afro-Australian treasure.”
Formed in Sydney’s Inner West, Kool Vibration combines a mix of roots, reggae, soca and all-round general island vibes.
The addition of sega and seggae from frontman Ras Jamino’s homeland of Mauritius, transports listeners to a different place where life is carefree and relaxed and parties never seem to end.
Audiences can’t help but catch their contagious ‘riddims’ as they sit back and relax or get down and boogie, forgetting about the daily grind.
An unique 10-piece band, Kriola Collective provides a startling snapshot of the late 1960s/early ‘70s ‘Black Rio / Samba Soul Movement’ in Brazil. This was a time when the music of James Brown, Aretha Franklin and other Afro American superstars galvanised young people from Rio to São Paulo, who ‘Brazilianised’ those North American styles into their own thing.
Kriola Collective conquers the dance floor with explosive sets that include the hits of well-known Brazilian artists such as Jorge Ben, Seu Jorge, Banda Black Rio, Tim Maia, Di Melo, Bebeto and Joao Donato.
It’s a vibrant mix of groovy Brazilian beats, Bossa Jazz, Funk and Soul featuring snappy backbeats, deep and funky bass lines and jazz horn sections with tinges of Salsa and home-grown Samba.
At the other end of the scale, each member of this incredible family from Chile is an acclaimed virtuoso. It is said of the Patriarch, Victor Martinez, former head of the Chilean equivalent of our Conservatorium of Music “… he is one of the greatest Avant Garde guitarists ever.” His sons Dauno, Andro and Banel are all brilliant guitarists in their own right, Dauno playing bass like you’ve never seen it played. A fourth son Fenix is a superb keys player.
One minute playing in unison, the next in harmony, then across and against each other, their music is calm then chaotic, beautiful then forceful. The interplay and understanding that flows between them is inspiring and infectious. They’ve toured nationally and around the world with everyone from Julio Iglesias, Michael Franti, Diana Krall and Andy Summers (The Police) to George Benson, Brian Ferry, The Beach Boys, Richard Clapton, Angelic Kidjo and the Blind Boys of Allabama to name but a few. You have to see these miraculous magicians to truly appreciate them.
For lovers of authentic Blues and Soul, the sonic shockwave that is Milena Barrett is like a rip in the space-time continuum. Once described as “like the wild child of Etta James and Steve Marriot”, her voice is a time machine transporting us back to a jumping backwoods BBQ shack, somewhere deep in the Delta… yet it also exudes the sensitive touch of Parisian nights.
Famed music writer Glenn A Baker describes Milena as “One of Australia’s most talented female Blues & Soul vocalists - an outstanding talent like no other.” Whether performing in London, Memphis, Eastern Europe or Sydney, the Aussie-born, British singer resonates all the way through the Blues, Soul and Roots Rock genres. Milena delivers a mystic blend reminiscent of the late great Janis Joplin… but don't be fooled. Hers is also a voice of today, with a knowingly street smart power that evokes the spirit of Amy Winehouse touched with the empathy of Adele.
Strong, feminine, romantic, nostalgic... Michelle Martine’s own brand of Jazz and Vintage Soul has helped her make a name for herself in the Australian music industry. She’s one of the nation’s busiest vocalists having performed with everyone from Smokey Robinson and Robbie Williams to Silverchair, Ronan Keating and Jessica Mauboy.
Michelle appeared on The Voice Australia 2013 and as an original artist, she's established herself as an accomplished songwriter. Her debut EP peaked at #1 on the Australian iTunes Soul/RnB Album chart and she landed a reoccurring performance role in the television drama series ‘Love Child’ on the Nine Network. Michelle is dedicated to seeking out and celebrating the beautiful life in all its forms as she entertains and inspires.
In an age of fast food, fast living and antisocial media, someone’s bringing the romance back ...it’s Michelle Martine.
An explosive 13-piece feelgood Latin Big Band featuring Australia's best Latin and Jazz musicians, Mucho Mambo blows an audience away with their tight arrangements, brilliant musicianship and unique retro visual element.
The Mucho Mambo experience is one of a kind in the music world - truly authentic and timeless with world class arrangements influenced by those of the classic orchestras of the 1950s and ‘60s. The band’s dynamic and distinctive sound and original look is reminiscent of this golden era of Latin and Jazz.
Mucho Mambo’s powerhouse sound blends bold, brassy riffs and driving percussion with big brass arrangements and the cool old style Latin grooves of Mambo, Cha Cha Cha and Salsa, reinventing each with a funky new edge.
Damien Watson (aka 'Pana') is one of those rare musicians blessed with the ability to be able to play anything and everything on his instrument.
By the age of 17 he was playing professionally and he has performed to audiences of thousands. He plays classical, jazz, rock, world, shred and just about every style imaginable on the guitar.
A Sydney-based, 8-piece Soul/Funk/Jazz outfit, Pezcobar formed in 2015. This mob of like-minded Funkaholics has been moving in clandestine circles ever since, with the ‘soul’ purpose of infiltrating the local Funk underworld and disseminating their unique contraband grooves.
Self-summarised as a "cartel of Funkaholics who’ve come together to pimp their supply and make you move.... " Pezcobar has played all the cool Sydney venues from Lazybones Lounge to Foundry 616 and Frankie’s ‘Pizza By The Slice’.
Revolution Incorporated mixes together Reggae, Roots, Ska, Latin and Mauritian Sega into a tasty musical stew that reflects the diverse backgrounds of the band's members and their influences.
Their heavy harmony-driven melodies sit alongside positive, uplifting lyrics to represent a message, a movement and a revolution of sorts.
Since forming in 2012, the band has recorded two singles (Sunshine - 2013 and Little Dub - 2014) followed by their debut EP ‘Manifesto’ in 2016. Revolution Incorporated has played at a number of prominent festivals and major music events throughout Australia, most recently supporting The Original Wailers on their Australian tour.
Soul Roots Revival Band
The ‘Soul Roots Revival Band’ is a killer 8-piece band featuring the wonderful vocal talents of Michael Duchesne (The Voice, X-Factor) and Lana Rita Sayah (The Voice, Ricki Lee) – seriously two of Australia’s hottest young singers.
Led by world renowned sax player Jason Bruer, this band celebrates the music of the great Soul artists from Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin to Dr John, Taj Mahal, Donny Hathaway and Gladys Night.
The band plays their own Jazz-infused arrangements of tunes by these Legends (as well as those of more recent artists like Oleta Adams), creating a freshness and vibrancy that will take your breath away.
Sugar Bowl Hokum
Sugar Bowl Hokum has gone way back to the dawn of recorded music to create its vibe.
Driven by the band members’ love of obscure songs from the 1920’s and 30’s, they’ve scoured the crackly grooves of old 78’s to find the best Blues gems of that era. A large part of their repertoire comprises songs by feisty, almost forgotten trail blazers like Merline Johnson, Barrel House Annie, Rosetta Howard and Ma Rainey.
This band does not stick slavishly to one style, but rather incorporates the many sounds of Blues from the classic sound of Bessie Smith to the R&B of Ruth Brown, the Ragtime of Blind Blake and Blind Boy Fuller, the Hokum of Bo Carter and the gritty songwriting of Memphis Minnie. Swing, Country, Blues and Early Jazz are all included in the mix.
Sugar Bowl Hokum features the virtuosic trumpet playing of Tanya Maree, the cool, charm-filled vocals of Parisian chanteuse Tisi Mahicka, the finger-licking picking of Michael Meissner’s guitar and a rhythm section that swings like a monkey in the jungle. The result is a fun, entertaining, sultry yet upbeat take on the Blues. Bring your dancing shoes!
The New South
Young teenagers still a year from sitting for their HSC, these kids are well on their way to mastering Blues, Funk and Soul.
You’ll be amazed that anyone so young can be so good… but once you deal with that initial surprise, you start to appreciate their selection of music, the soaring guitar, the haunting keyboards, the stunning vocals and the super solid rhythm section.
Close your eyes and you will forget their age and be swept up by the music.
Cooking up sweet reggae and serving it hot, this 10-piece outfit with Tongan heritage takes inspiration from Bob Marley as well as Lucky Dube, to UB40, The Four tops, Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars and Katchafire. Rivalling the Martinez family, five of the band members are related.