The best jazz festivals are celebrations not only of the music, but of places, people and community. In beginning with a long-standing local residency gig and finishing with a tribute to one of Brisbane's historical venues and it inspirational founder, the BIJF 2015 acknowledged important institutions in the community. Likewise, Wilma Reading's top billing on Saturday evening was recognition of a nationally historic, ground-breaking figure.
Musically, the menu of old, contemporary and newly commissioned music offered something to just about everyone. Australian jazz-and in particular that from Queenslandfeatured prominently on the program, reflecting the strength and depth of the local jazz scene. It's surely encouraging to aspiring young jazz musicians to see that BIJF is so supportive of home-grow talent.
The inclusion of Japanese and Korean bands was a reminder of Australia's proximity to Asia and the cosmopolitan make-up of its population: Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia are all closer to Australia than Perth is to Brisbane and it would make sense on multiple levels to encourage further musical exchanges with Asian countries.
Finally, though many people were involved in the successful staging of BIJF 2015, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the tremendous work of Artistic Director Lynette Irwin. Her efforts to ensure everything ran as smoothly as possible were notable, but more than that, it was her infectious warmth, kindness and good humor that to a large extent made BIJF 2015 such an enjoyable festival.
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