The 2022 Perth International Jazz Festival in review.

2022 was one hell of a celebration of our 10-year anniversary with record audiences, unique venues and world-class acts. Paying homage to the festivals’ history, audiences enjoyed the ultimate homecoming of former Perth International Jazz Festival (PIJF) acts to celebrate the immense talent that the Festival has presented and nurtured over its 10 years. 

PIJF has become bigger(!), and we were delighted to start the festivities early from the 27 October with the amazing ‘Jazz Night Out’ experience, thanks to major investment from the WA Government Department of Local Government, Sport & Cultural Industries through their CBD activation grant program. We were thrilled to partner with 20 venues throughout the CBD, Northbridge and West Perth and present 22 jazz acts truly activating the CBD with music ranging from pubs, bars through to community outdoor venues. We even incorporated a free outdoor film festival in Northbridge Piazza. There really was something for everyone. 

The following week we were treated to gorgeous sounds of Troy Roberts and Tim Jago at Astral Weeks (venue partner) as well as the powerhouse act Libby Hammer & Ali Bodycoat performing ‘Over the Rainbow’ at Connections Nightclub (venue partner). There was also the chance to listen to Bad Whip over dinner at The Rechabite (venue partner).  

All this happened before we kicked off the official 2022 Perth International Jazz Festival at The Rechabite Main Hall for our Opening Night event on Friday 4 November. The Opening Night event featured the Australian National Jazz Orchestra – Youth Big Band, featuring the best young musicians in Australia (aged 25 and under) playing the incredible music of Vanessa Perica. Next the wonderful stylings of Meretrio with Heinrich Von Kalnein (BRAZIL/AUSTRIA) and then finished off with ‘We Made a Thing’ featuring a nonet of Perth-based musicians playing specially commissioned works for the festival by renown Australian jazz composers. We Made A Thing was made possible by the generous support from the Australia Council for the Arts

ANJO Youth Big Band plays the music of Vanessa Perica
Photo credit Ewa Ginal-Cumblidge

The weekend in Perth that followed Opening Night was the continuation of simply sublime programming by PIJF Artistic Director – Dr Mace Francis. There are too many highlights to mention them all but some included Mat Jodrell Sextet (VIC), Aura (VIC), Brekky Boy (NSW), Transients – Wilson/Anning/Keller (VIC), Kari Ikonen (FIN), Sam Anning (VIC), Will Vinson with the WAAPA Big Band.  

The headlining act from the US – Troy Roberts’ NU-JIVE was an absolute standout on both Saturday and Sunday evenings. Treated to the best of the best in the jazz scene, the vibe in the air was electric – the audience was completed absorbed in the performance of Roberts’ compositions played masterfully by Troy (saxophone), Tim Jago (guitar), Silvano Monasterios (piano), Eric England (bass) and David Chiverton (drums). 

We loved our outdoor venues and free community program at Forrest Place and Hyde Park. These events were thanks to Community Program Partner Lotterywest and Community Presenting Partners – City of Perth and City of Vincent, along with Program Partners ECU WAAPA and WAYJO. The outdoor program featured young talent from WAAPA and WAYJO along with exceptional international artists Emiliano Sampaio and Will Vinson, as well as incredible Perth based bands. 

We went into incredible, rarely seen venues – Liberty Theatre on Barrack Street and a secret rooftop on Hay Street Mall, thanks to our partner Humich Group.  Our festival hub was at The Rechabite, where the party continued into the wee hours of the morning – if anyone went to the final jam session on Sunday – I hope you enjoyed the rollicking party! Soaking up the energy in the Goodwill Club on Sunday was just incredible! 

Tal Cohen solo at the Liberty Theatre
Photo credit Ewa Ginal-Cumblidge

The whole festival vibe is also thanks to our hospitality partners Rocky Ridge Brewing Co, Plantagenet Wines and West Winds Distillers. Also, we were chuffed to bring into fruition a beer collaboration with Rocky Ridge Brewing Company – a Pineapple IPA. We had so much fun helping put that all together. Thanks a million Rocky Ridge! 

Dorado performs at the private Rooftop Venue on Hay Street Mall.

But the fun didn’t stop there! We headed down to Busselton and Yallingup to present an expanded program on the 12 & 13 November. On Saturday 12 November we had great jazz acts at Caves House Hotel and Rocky Ridge Tap House followed on Sunday by our great Busselton Foreshore event Jazz by the Jetty. Headlining Jazz by the Jetty was international act – the Tal Cohen Qrtet, with the ‘We Made A Thing’ project also featured along with South West local band the Serge Le Goueff Quartet and Perth-based act, Sassafras. Big thanks to our Community Presenting Partner, the City of Busselton, for their support.

For the first time we partnered with The Capes Foundation in the South West and were given permission to feature the Jessica Carlton and Kate Pass Duo in the gorgeous cave – Ngilgi Cave. This spellbinding performance, enhanced by the natural acoustics of the cave was a favourite with locals, as well as visitors, flocking to the event. 

Also, for the first time we were especially proud to partner with Aravina Estate to present one the best vocalists Australia has ever produced – Michelle Nicolle. In the most beautiful outdoor setting with astonishing acoustics, the audience was treated to a magnificent performance by Michelle Nicolle, backed by wonderful Perth-based musicians Matt Gudgeon, Nick Abbey and Daniel Susnjar. A performance that I personally will not forget in the years to come – this was particularly a personal favourite moment for me from the 2022 Festival. 

Michelle Nicolle at Aravina Estate, Yallingup Photo credit – Richard Watson

WA audiences are absolutely stunning and without you, there is no festival. Thank you all for coming out, supporting the artists and enjoying the festival program and activities. Thanks to our Jazz Messengers for your extra support!  

The Festival could not happen though without the support of our major partner the Australian Government RISE Fund and our other partners who haven’t already been acknowledged include Program Partners Peter and Amy Bennett, Revelation Perth International Film Festival; Media Partner Dingo Jazz; Accommodation Partners Alex Hotel and Doubletree by Hilton – Northbridge; and Venue Partners The Ellington Jazz Club and Pigeonhole. Thank you! 

This is my third festival as Producer and I was honoured to help bring this festival to life. It truly is a wonderful music scene and community we have in Perth and this year’s injection of artists from across the world and the musical spectrum was a delight. If you’d like to see more photos, head to our festival gallery!

There’s much in store for 2023, so mark your shiny, new calendars on the 3 – 6 November (Perth) and the 11 & 12 November (South West)!  

Rest up, recharge and be ready for some big announcements early next year. Have a safe and happy festive season and we’ll see you all very soon! 

Georgie Holst
Festival Producer

Tim Jago, Georgie Holst, Tal Cohen & Silvano Monasterios.
Photo credit – Mark Francesca