Arts & Entertainment

Sydney’s International Women’s Jazz Festival hits the stage

BY ASTON BROWN

The Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival prepares for welcome the return to the stage across 10 days of music to highlight the contribution that women are making to jazz.

The festival, which runs from November 12 to 21, will showcase a diverse range of acts across several Sydney venues.

In conversation with City Hub the internationally acclaimed Dr Sandy Evans – named Australia’s most influential saxophonist – said she is thrilled to be part of the festival.

“There are no words to describe just how important it is, it’s incredible that they are going ahead,” Evans said. “Everybody is just dying to play music together, and as far as I can tell audiences are really hungry to actually have the experience of live music.”

On November 19, Evans will be playing alongside ARIA award-winning bassist Steve Elphick and Japanese koto-master Satsuki Odamura, as part of double bill performance at The Opera House’s Utzon room – which boasts harbourside views and impressive acoustics.

The 10 day festival will also feature at the outdoor spaces of the Joynton Avenue Creative Centre in Zetland and through the dimly lit corners of Foundry616, Sydney’s only dedicated jazz club.

The festival which started 2012, has grown to showcase the best female talent in jazz that is often underrepresented in a male dominated scene.

“It’s still not an equal representation… most of the bands I play in I’m the only woman,” said Evans. “I think the festival is partly responsible for that change, because it’s giving a platform for women to develop creative work and have their work presented to the public.”

In conversation, Evans reflects on the struggles of the past two years amidst endless cancelations and rescheduling.

“It’s just been shocking… I sort of begun to wonder, am I a musician? If you can’t get together and play with other people, it’s challenging to keep your sense of who you are as a musician.”

With this in mind, Evans has never been more excited in her more than 40 years as a saxophonist to play live with other musicians.

“I think having this is such a huge celebration and opportunity to create a positive vibe for the future… we definitely need to heal the music industry, it’s one of the hardest hit. We really need to nurture it back to its health, strength and creativity. I’m just so over the moon it’s happening… I think it’s just going to be incredible.”

Nov 12-21. Various Venues & Prices. Tickets & Info: www.siwjf.org.au

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