PIJF was founded by the late Associate Professor and jazz pianist Dr Graham Wood. Wood served as Festival Director until his death in 2017 and was replaced by Mace Francis.

The first festival in 2013 was ranked 4th in Time Out’s “Top 7 Australian Jazz Festivals” (August 2013) and featured in the West Australian’s Art’s “Best in the West” (2013). The lineup featured international acts such as Joe Lovano, Katie Noonan and Vince Jones,[4] local jazz performers like Jamie Oehlers and Libby Hammer, and jazz-based organisations such as WAYJO, WAAPA and JazzWA.