The Melbourne International Jazz Festival was first held in 1998 and has been presented at several different times of year. It now occurs over the first two weekends of June, including the Queens Birthday long weekend.

Now in its 20th year, each 10-day Festival now typically sees more than 40,000 people attend over 100 public events, with over 500 international and Australian artists performing and collaborating at over 20 of Melbourne’s iconic venues.

In addition to performances by headline Australian and international artists, the wide-ranging program also includes free concerts, family events, late night art parties, artist workshops, film screenings, in conversations, club sessions and more.

Adrian Jackson was Artistic Director from 1998-2004, after which Albert Dadon became Chairman. Dadon invited the director of Italy’s Umbria Jazz Festival, Carlo Pagnotta, to be guest Artistic Director in 2005. The festival was not held in 2006 due to the Commonwealth Games, and Dadon was Artistic Director for the 2007-2008 Festivals. He was succeeded in 2009 by Michael Tortoni, who continues to hold the position. Sophie Brous was Program Director for the 2009-2011 Festivals.

Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2016

Now in its 19th year, the 2016 Melbourne International Jazz Festival achieved record-breaking attendance and community engagement. Over 44,000 people came together to celebrate jazz as a constantly-evolving art form, ranging from golden-age icons to genre-bending innovators.

  • 129 events across 10 days in 27 venues across Melbourne
  • 478 artists from across Australia and around the world
  • 9.1% growth in overall box office revenue
  • 44,000+ overall attendance
  • $4 million in media value
  • Audience Satisfaction rating of 95%

The 2016 Melbourne International Jazz Festival electrified the city this winter with an extraordinary program of international jazz greats, celebrating jazz as a constantly-evolving art form, ranging from golden-age icons to genre-bending innovators.

Modern Masters This series celebrates the world’s modern masters of jazz alongside the most important and iconic voices in contemporary jazz today. Highlights included saxophone legend Wayne Shorter, wunderkind bassist Esperanza Spalding, pianist come musical rollercoaster Hiromi, Latin jazz titan Eddie Palmieri and Father of Ethio-Jazz Mulatu Astatke.

Explorations in Jazz Exploring the boundaries of jazz and improvised music, the Explorations in Jazz series brought the world’s leading sonic innovators to Melbourne with barnstorming jazz-funk collective Snarky Puppy, the latest of Stu Hunter’s hard-grooving suites the migration and a debut collaboration between Benin-born guitar virtuoso Lionel Loueke and Sydney’s The Vampires.

Club Sessions Like a phoenix from the ashes, the iconic Bennetts Lane Jazz Club returned for another year, hosting packed out nights of jazz, featuring prepared Sardinian guitar maestro Paolo Angeli, an intimate performance by the Robert Glasper Trio, emotive Israeli pianist Shai Maestro and Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life in a hugely-popular weekend residency. Revelry continued into the wee hours every night of the Festival with Late Night Jams led masterfully by Melbourne’s own Hue Blanes Trio.

Unpredictable, unrepeatable and intimate, this series also featured gigs at Uptown Jazz Café, Dizzy’s Jazz Club and the Lido Jazz Room.

Jazz Out West The third year of the Festival’s Jazz Out West program saw enthusiastic, capacity crowds experiencing urban soundscapes, Ethio-jazz and soulful grooves in downtown Footscray. This free series of events featured artists from the exhilarating frontier of modern Australian jazz including 30/70 Collective, Wallace and Mister Ott.

Free Events From lunchtime jazz and late-night parties to artists workshops and intimate conversations, this Festival featured more than 20 free events including the extraordinary Sound Portraits, the highly-popular Los Cabrones at the Winter Night Markets and Transitive Cycles, an original composition for the Federation Bells by Barney McCall.

Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2015

“It is a clear sign of a strong festival when you find yourself wracked with indecision about what to see…” – Des Cowley, Australian Book Review

Now in its 18th year, the 2015 Melbourne International Jazz Festival achieved record-breaking attendance and community engagement, with over 43,000 people coming together to experience jazz in the city’s venues, clubs, bars and laneways. 

The program presented the world’s leading jazz masters and sonic innovators, shining a light on some extraordinary musical collaborations from around the world and at home.

  • 118 Events across 11 days in 22 venues across Melbourne
  • 348 Artists from 11 countries (Australia, USA, Norway, Puerto Rico, Israel, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Italy, Brazil, India and Poland)
  • 19 World Premieres
  • 6% growth in overall attendance, with nearly 25% of events selling to capacity
  • 43,000+ overall attendance
  • $3.5 million in media value
  • Post-Festival broadcast audience of 2.5 million+
  • Audience Satisfaction rating of 96%

Headline acts included: Chick Corea & Herbie Hancock (USA), Kurt Elling with the MSO (USA / Australia), Pharoah Sanders Quartet (USA), Dee Dee Bridgewater & Irvin Mayfield with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (USA), Stefano Bollani and Hamilton de Holanda (Italy / Brazil) Joe Lovano with Paul Grabowksy, Phillip Rex and Dave Beck (USA / Australia) The Bad Plus (USA), Richard Bona Quintet (Cameroon) Tord Gustavsen Quartet (Norway), Nyilipidgi (AUS) and Eric Harland Voyager (USA)

Download 2015 Program

Summer Sessions 2015

Held at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club over 5 nights in January, our 2014 Summer Sessions program saw a series of intimate collaborations between leading international and local artists, culminating in three sell-out shows over the Australia Day weekend.

The series featured Belgian piano virtuoso Jef Neve, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane's seminal album A Love Supreme featuring Sydney-based tenor saxophonist Dale Barlow, New York-based pianist Barney McAll and Melbourne’s own bassist Phil Rex and drummer Danny Fischer, as well as a showcase of some of Australia's finest jazz pianists.  

Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2014

“The 2014 Melbourne International Jazz Festival program underlined the true diversity of the jazz music genre…” Australian Jazz

The largest festival of its kind in Australia, the 2014 Melbourne International Jazz Festival brought together over 300 artists from Australia, USA, UK Italy, Israel, Spain, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Greece and New Zealand in a wide-ranging program acclaimed by critics and audience alike. Over 10 days, nearly 40,000 people came together to experience jazz in recital halls, clubs and unexpected spaces across the city.

In 2014, the Festival saw:

  • Nearly 40,000 people attending 101 events over 10 days, with a post-Festival broadcast audience of 2.5+ million
  • The introduction of “Jazz Out West”, a new initiative taking free, accessible events to residents and business in Footscray
  • Pathways for the next generation were created through In Conversations, artist workshops and performance opportunities
  • Multiple avenues for community engagement were provided through free events, programming breadth and a meaningful volunteer program of 200 volunteers

Headline acts included: Chick Corea & Gary Burton (USA), Charles Lloyd Sky Trio (USA), The Greek Project: Charles Lloyd and Maria Farantouri (USA/GREECE), The Glenn Miller Orchestra (USA), Joshua Redman Quartet (USA), Jorge Pardo (SPAIN) Larry Carlton (USA), Derrick Hodge and Chris Turner (USA), Chris Dave & The Drumhedz (USA), Alister Spence Trio (AUS)/ Dawn of Midi (USA), Django Bates (UK)

Download 2014 Program

Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2013

“[MIJF]… has proved a reliable mirror of global trends in jazz…”
The Guardian

“Modern jazz audiences have come to expect a diversity of styles from performers, and in Melbourne last week they got it …. the entire catalogue of jazz idioms was on display, from trad to avant garde and out-there impressionism”
The Australian

In its 16th year the Festival consolidated its position as Australia’s pre-eminent jazz festival, with strong profitability, community and industry participation and program acclaimed by critics and audiences alike.

In 2013, the Festival saw:

  • A 3.5% growth in box office revenue
  • A 14% increase in paid attendance, with nearly 40,000 people attending 101 events over 10 days, with a post-Festival broadcast audience of 2.5+ million
  • Over 30% of audiences as first-time attendees
  • A 94% audience satisfaction rating with a 97% intent to return result
  • 69 international artists from 10 different countries performing alongside 363 Australian professional and 185 student artists
  • Nearly 200 volunteers involved with delivering the Festival.


Headline acts included: Cassandra Wilson, Chucho Valdes and the Afro-Cuban Messengers, Christian McBride Trio, Maria Schneider/Darcy James Argue with the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, James Carter Organ Trio, Snarky Puppy, Thundercat, Kneebody, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and more.

Download 2013 Program

Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2012

“… a varied selection of outstanding international artists…”
The Australian

The 2012 Festival delivered a 7% increase in box office revenue, which combined with an operating surplus made it the most successful festival in the organisation’s history.

The 2012 Festival saw:

  • 400 artists from 15 different countries performing in over 100 events, including 31 free events, 11 world and 13 Australian premieres and eight Australian/international collaborations
  • A 19% of first-time attendance rate
  • A 83% audience satisfaction rating with a 95% intent to return result
  • A 42% increase in sponsorship revenue, with 90% of partnerships retained from 2011
  • Over 140 volunteers involved with delivering the Festival.


Headline acts included: McCoy Tyner Trio featuring Chris Potter and Jose James, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Hiromi, Dr Lonnie Smith Trio, Chris Potter with the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, Future Now feat. Robert Glasper Experiment, Patti Austin, Terence Blanchard, Renaud Garcia-Fons, The Fringe, Samuel Yirga Quartet, Tarbaby featuring Oliver Lake and more.

Download 2012 Program

Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2011

“… a great success … a remarkably diverse program where it seemed every taste in jazz was catered for …” 
The Australian

In response to the increasing popularity of the Festival, in 2011 the event expended from 8 to 10 days, moving from April/May to the first two weekends in June.

The 2011 Festival saw:

  • A 7% growth in attendance, setting a new audience record
  • 50% of events sold to capacity
  • Over 400 performers in more than 120 events - including 46 free events, six world premieres, 20 Australian premieres, 16 Festival exclusives and 12 Australian/international collaborations
  • A return of the hugely-popular “festival within a festival”, Overground.


Headline acts included: Sonny Rollins, Ron Carter Trio, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Sun Ra Arkestra, Lee Konitz, Charlemagne Palestine & Tony Conrad, Norma Winstone, Kurt Rosenwinkel Standards Trio, Jason Moran & The Bandwagon, Vijay Iyer & Rudresh Mahanthappa, Faust, Jim Black’s AlasNoAxis and more.

Download 2011 Program

Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2010

“… [The MIJF] must now be classed as Australia’s foremost jazz festival …”
The Australian

In 2010, the Festival continued to develop its artistic programming, attracting new audiences and creating loyalty amongst long-term supporters through the diversification of its program and new cultural partnerships.

In 2010, the Festival saw:

  • A remarkable 68% increase in paid attendance from the previous year, driven by program expansion of 37%
  • Over 400 performers in over 95 events - including 20 free events, 21 Australian premieres and 17 Australian/international collaborations
  • The premiere of the hugely-popular “festival within a festival”, Overground.
  • The debut of “The Cave”, the Festival’s late-night art party.

Headline acts included: Ahmad Jamal, Mulatu Astatke, Zakir Hussain, Charles Lloyd, John Abercrombie, Peter Brotzmann, John Hollenbeck, Theo Bleckmann, Lionel Louke, The Tierney Sutton Band, Tortoise, Paul Capsis, Joe Chindamo Trio, Claire Bowditch, Megan Washington and more.

Download 2010 Program

Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2009

‘ The Festival’s program is imbued with a bold vision of jazz and its continual search for renewal…’
The Age

In 2009, the Festival embarked on a new artistic direction, with a critically-acclaimed new programming strategy that focussed on increasing accessibility to both the program and jazz itself.

The 2009 Festival saw:

  • A 38% increase in paid attendance from the previous year
  • Over 200 performers in over 60 events - including 14 free events, 7 world premieres, 9 Australian premieres and 5 Australian/international collaborations

Headline acts included: Charlie Haden (Artist in Residence), Bill Frisell, Ethan Iverson, Katie Noonan, Choir of Hard Knocks, Joshua Redman Trio, Actis Dato Quartet, Nils Cline, Tim Berne, Jim Black and more.