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5 Must-See Acts At 2023 Sydney International Women's Jazz Festival

Zoe Hauptmann is Artistic Director of Sydney International Women's Jazz Festival.

Three-time Grammy-winning jazz superstar Cécile McLorin Salvant headlines SIMA's Sydney International Women's Jazz Festival, where music lovers can hear the future of jazz across 18 ear-opening concerts.

The festival has everything, from the finest soul and jazz singers, to the cutting-edge of jazz and anthemic alt-pop album launches, showcasing the most talented, inspiring and creative musicians from home and abroad.

The festival sees Sydney music hot-spots collaborating to present Artistic Director Zoe Hauptmann's vision and bring it to life. "This festival is a testament to the power of women in shaping the world of music," Hauptmann says.

"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to present the future of Australian jazz to Sydney. It's never background music with SIMA!"

Hauptmann, who is also the musical director for the Australian Women In Music Awards, sees her role holistically, aiming to create a more sustainable industry for women on the stage, back of house and by using female owned venues such as The Great Club and The Women’s Club.

The festival "captures a sense of what jazz is to me – it's broad and diverse, although stemming from the roots of country, blues and folk, we will traverse the great Venn diagram of jazz, intersecting genres ranging from alt-pop to indie folk to groove," Zoe says.

Here, Zoe selects her five must-see performances.

Cécile McLorin Salvant

Three-time Grammy Award-winning US vocalist and composer Cécile McLorin Salvant headlines the 2023 Sydney International Women's Jazz Festival (31 October).

The nonpareil master of jazz singing, takes the art form to new heights with an unforgettable voice and astonishing interpretive range, with music drawn from the critically acclaimed album 'Ghost Song' and her latest release 'Mélusine'.

Salvant will be joined by Sullivan Fortner on piano (described by Brad Mehldau as 'quietly revolutionising jazz piano playing'), Yasushi Nakamura on bass, and Kyle Pool on drums. Don't miss her exclusive one-night performance in the pin-drop atmosphere of the City Recital Hall.

Shannon Barnett Quartet + Tessie Overmyer Trio

Australian expat trombonist Shannon Barnett returns home for a tour supported by the Goethe-Institut, joined by her quartet of European maestros to embark on an electrifying exchange of ideas.

Born and raised in Victoria, Shannon now resides in Cologne where she's been awarded the WDR Jazz Prize for Improvisation in 2020 and the German Jazz Prize in 2022 for excellence in brass.

Prepare to be blown away by the blazing talent and relentless creativity of saxophonist Tessie Overmyer and her powerhouse trio, featuring bassist Jacques Emery and drummer Chloe Kim.

Experience the cutting-edge brilliance of contemporary jazz at this horn-heavy double bill, in the enchanting stained glassed St Stephens Uniting Church (28 October).

Caroline Davis' Alula + NuovoMondo Symphonies

This double bill (28 October) is international boundary-pushing music for some serious listening.

Recognised by Downbeat's Critic's Poll as a Rising Star, American saxophonist Caroline Davis is unique in all her projects – from angular instrumental outfits to soulful songwriting. 'Davis makes her most daring album with Alula...this work will definitely attract bold listeners.' - Jazz Trail

Alongside Davis, the trio is Noah Garabedian on electric bass, and Eliza Salem on drums.

Journey with Debora Petrina and Giovanni Mancuso to another world through their unique collage of 1930s silent films, anonymous Super 8 home movies from the '50s and '60s, and expedition documentaries.

The duo creates a fresh landscape full of gems, while simultaneously running an original film in the background.

Pangliana + The Rest Is Silence

Straight from the Melbourne underground. Embark on a captivating sonic journey (30 October) with Panghalina and The Rest Is Silence, featuring the best of Melbourne's bristling creative music scene.

Panghalina brings together three compelling Australian soloists: Helen Svoboda (winner of 2021 Freedman Jazz Fellowship), Bonnie Stewart (aka Bonniesongs), and Maria Moles to explore themes of sonic duality.

The Rest Is Silence is a cross-genre quartet that dreams big and sounds bigger. The ensemble, consisting of siblings Flora and Theo Carbo, Maddison Carter and Isaac Gunnoo, explores the space between jazz, post-rock, country, and experimental composition.

Sarah Belkner + EBS

Don't miss this rare opportunity to witness the brilliance of Sarah Belkner and EBS (3 November).

Alt-pop meets jazz in a swirl of effects-ridden saxophone, as the anthemic voice of Sarah Belkner launches her album 'The Apple'. Belkner's existential lyrics and soul-stirring vocals are given a shape-shifting frame by an all-star jazz cast: innovative saxophonist Matt Keegan, drummer Evan Mannell and bassist Neal Sutherland.

EBS, the solo project of Ebony Tait, weaves comforting and reflective music with a warm, folk- and jazz-inspired sonic palette. Her evocative lyrics, drawn from personal experiences, resonate with universal themes.

SIMA's Sydney International Women's Jazz Festival runs at various venues from 25 October-5 November.

2023 Sydney International Women's Jazz Festival Tour Dates

25 Oct - Flora Carbo & Wilbur Whitta @ The Women's Club
26 Oct - Motion Quartet + Sabine and Harley @ Johnston Street Jazz
27 Oct - Tina Harrod + Kate Wadey @ St Stephens Uniting Church
28 Oct - Shannon Barnett Quartet + Tessie Overmyer Trio @ St Stephens Uniting Church
28 Oct - Caroline Davis' Alula + NuovoMondo Symphonies @ St Stephens Uniting Church
29 Oct - Hannah James Standards Quintet @ Bennelong Restaurant
30 Oct - Panghalina & The Rest Is Silence @ Church Street Studios
31 Oct - Cécile McLorin Salvant @ City Recital Centre
1 Nov - Phillippa Murphy-Haste, Paul Cutlan & Mary Rapp @ The Gladstone Hotel
2 Nov - Alma Orquestra + Novo Fado @ Low 302
2 Nov - Spectra Jazz Orchestra @ Johnston Street Jazz
2 Nov - Heather Prowse Trio @ Lazybones Lounge
2 Nov - Freyja Garbett Trio feat. Sandy Evans + Lucy Clifford Trio @ Live @ Rancom Studios
3 Nov - Sarah Belkner (album launch) + EBS @ The Great Club
4 Nov - Day Of The Dead feat. MIRA @ 107 Green Square
5 Nov - Bridie King's Jazz and Blues Revue @ Lazybones Lounge
5 Nov - Leonie Cohen and Nicky Crayson Quartet @ Bennelong Restaurant
5 Nov - SiSi – The Weavers @ Lazybones Lounge

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