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Brisbane Vocal Jazz Festival: Jazz From Here, There And Everywhere

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Wojciech Myrczek and Pawel Tomaszewski Wojciech Myrczek and Pawel Tomaszewski
Following the great success of the inaugural festival last year, the Brisbane Vocal Jazz Festival will be back at the beginning of August, as a flagship event for the Brisbane Jazz Club.

This year, Festival Director Ingrid James will be taking on the knowledge she gained from last year's event to create an even bigger and more popular gathering of some of the finest voices in jazz from Queensland, Australia and the world. Although the genre has its roots in the late 19th and early 20th century popular American musical forms, it was soon embraced in many other parts of the world – especially Europe.

By now, practically every country has gone on to develop its own signature jazz style and this year's headline act, Wojciech Myrczek and Pawel Tomaszewski from Poland are an example of that. Wojciech was awarded Best Male Jazz Vocalist in Poland for the Jazz Press International Jazz Magazine. He also received first prize and the Public Prize of the 11th Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competitions in 2013. “It’s amazing that two musicians sound like a symphony orchestra and a big band in one,” Polish jazz musician Michal Urbaniak says of the duo.

The headline act is just the beginning of what to expect during the festival, too. The first night, 3 August, will be the Jazz Singers' Jam Night 16th Anniversary Special. Vocalists of all generations and jazz styles will come together to spontaneously celebrate jazz as an art form, accompanied by the Dave Spicer Trio.

Next up, on 4 August is two shows... Dorian Mode Quartet's 'Jazz At The Movies' show is up first, where you'll witness jazz standards first heard in films sung by the likes of Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Frank Sinatra and more. After that show, you can head straight to 'Myrczek & Tomaszewski', who will also lead a jazz vocal workshop the following day.

The Queensland Conservatorium Of Music will premiere an eight-piece vocal jazz ensemble led by Dave Spicer on 5 August called 'In-Voices', or you can see the Blue Point Vocal Group from Sydney combining jazz standards with pop tunes before you head to the after party from 10pm.

The final day of Brisbane Vocal Jazz Festival is the most full, with three acts and a finale concert to celebrate Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th anniversary. The Harmony Wednesdays a capella group (formed in 2016) will perform earlier in the day in a wide range of styles including baroque, jazz and pop with arrangements by Helen Russell. Melissa Forbes and Helen Russell will share their love of great melodies, beautiful harmonies and the combination of both. Finally, before the Ella Fitzgerald finale, Elly Hoyt and the Boutique Brews Brass Band, playing radio hits in a New Orleans style.

Before you depart after four days of jazz splendour, the finale concert promises to be a celebration of Ella Fitzgerald's life in song.

The Brisbane Vocal Jazz Festival takes place at Brisbane Jazz Club from 3-6 August.

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