Townsville Jazz Festival swings in

The Townsville Jazz Festival will return 27 & 28 August 2022 IMAGE: Joseph Hersh

When it comes to music festivals, jazz musicians may be on the backbeat, but they aren’t on the back foot. This weekend’s Townsville Jazz Festival boasts world class music with a vibe to match. 

Have you Met Miss Jones…I mean Mr Passmore.

When Townsville Jazz Club president Bob Passmore describes the calibre of artists at this year’s Jazz Festival as “world class”, he’s not exaggerating. 

Headliners include celebrated trumpeter, John Hoffman. John has performed with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett and beloved Aussie songstress, Olivia Newton John.

Townsville artists say I Got Rhythm too

The Jazz Fest program will see local musicians perform alongside visiting artists; in ensembles of their own, supplementing traveling soloists, jamming and everything in between.

Bob suspects new-comers to the jazz scene may be surprised by the quality of young and local players. 

“There’s some brilliant musos in town,” he says.

 “They have no trouble keeping up with guest artists.

“Everyone’s got lead sheets to the music or just the melody line and the chords and once you’ve got them, everyone that plays together is good enough to be able to make that work.” 

John Hoffman Quartet at Brisbane Jazz Club

Bob explains the rehearsal process typically entails a quick run-through straight before playing for an audience.

“They sometimes do a couple of minutes rehearsal in the corner beforehand. Because all of the guys that work with the imports are good enough to be able to do that.”

Jazz players are notoriously laid back compared to a stereotypical classical musician.  While a classical musician seeks to painstakingly replicate centuries-old compositions, jazz musicians derive their performance from improvisation and spontaneity.

This knack for flexibility and adaptability is often mistaken for a double dose of “chill”. However, it takes years of refining their craft before jazz players can get on stage with only “a couple of minutes rehearsal”.

Once you experience jazz, it’s Unforgettable

“There’s a lot of young people that have never heard jazz,” Bob says. 

“It’s amazing, the response you get from people who’ve never heard it before. It’s pretty lively stuff. And the more young people can actually hear it, the more they actually find that there’s a lot to like in it.

“And it’s fun music to listen to.

“We got some great music last year. We’ve got better music this year. Next year, it will be bigger.”

The Townsville Jazz Festival will be jamming in Flinders lane on 27 August 2022 and at the Townsville District Rugby Union Grounds on 28 August 2022.

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