Four must-see concerts at the 2021 Melbourne International Jazz Festival


The 2021 Melbourne International Jazz Festival kicks off this Thursday and runs from December 2-5, with 70 live music events taking place over just four days.

The 2021 Melbourne International Jazz Festival is expected to revive Melbourne’s jazz community after two years of immense struggle, and weather permitting, it will likely delightfully overwhelm the senses of music-loving Melburnians as Melbourne Music Week is on the line. point to start at the same time.

We got a taste of what to expect on November 26 at Hamer Hall with the Jazz Festival Opening Gala, featuring the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Eddie Perfect and lineup including Vince Jones, Harry James Angus, Kylie Auldist , Michelle Nicolle and Thando.

Now the festival itself is set to take over every corner of the city, including the new Jazz Hub at The Toff in Town, which will bring “late night” back to the CBD. While Fat Freddy’s Drop, headliner of the 2021 Melbourne International Jazz Festival, has had to step down due to COVID uncertainties, there remains a vast array of local talent who will deliver a calming and moving long weekend; here are our favorites.

What would you like to know

  • The Melbourne International Jazz Festival will run from Thursday 2 to Sunday 5 December
  • It offers 70 live acts spread over four days and several Melbourne venues
  • Tickets are available now on the Melbourne Jazz website.

Keep up to date with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Thando: The Jill Scott Project Thursday December 2 at Toff in Town

Speaking of Thando, this is the first of our must-see events for the festival. Born in Zimbabwe, Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Thando wowed Australian audiences with her electric stage presence and powerful voice.

She is an imposing performer with a natural ability to tell a story and take her audience on a journey of reflection. The singer grew up feasting on the musical offerings of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, QUEEN and TLC. Along the way, she found Jill Scott and created her genre sound with an electric live set.

30/70 + Tamil Rogeon Friday December 3 at 170 Russell

30/70 is a Melbourne-based collective of musicians dedicated to truth through sound and the beauty of endless movement. From swirling opening pads to sax-laden shimmers, the band effortlessly transition from future neo-soul jazz to astral and authentic vignettes of British club music history.

They will be joined by viola-jazz pioneer Tamil Rogeon (The Raah Project) on this double list of new jazz excellence, featuring tunes from his recent critically acclaimed release, “Son of Nyx”. Its swirling prism of exploratory modal jazz, Afro-Latin percussion, and string-led composition is heavily inspired by the spiritual jazz and jazz fusion movements of the 60s and 70s.

Jazz Westside Friday December 3 at Footscray Night Market

The festival brings jazz to the west with a free evening of music at the new Footscray Night Market for Jazz Westside, and features a set by Gordon Koang – a household name in South Sudan and an incredible performer with 9 albums to his active. Accompanied by his cousin Paul Biel and his new Australian band, Gordon spreads a message of peace, love and unity, dancefloor style. Gordon’s Unity album was released last year via Bedroom Suck’s label Music In Exile, and saw him nominated for the Australian Music Prize 2020.

The Experience, Sunday December 5 at Toff In Town

The Experience pays homage to the music of late South African jazz father “Bra Hugh” Masekela and Zimbabwean music legend Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi.

With over a century of music and hundreds of albums between them, Bra Hugh and Tuku were instrumental in liberating South Africa and Zimbabwe and paving the way for young musicians across the continent. Led by ZIIMUSIC and featuring members of The Experience and Zimbabwe-born singer Thando, these superb musicians pay homage to the legacy of these legendary artists.

For full details, visit the Melbourne International Jazz Festival website here.


Willie J. Johnson