May 21 2015
MIJF Program Manager Melanie Pose shares her top picks for the Festival, some of her favourite jazz records and what got her started in the industry.
What are your top picks for this year’s Melbourne International Jazz Festival?
Miguel Zenon’s Identities Are Changeable is an extraordinary work that I am incredibly proud to be presenting this year. Miguel has composed a work that is a beautiful fusion of Latin rhythms and jazz. This concert is for anyone who loves music, not just for those into big band sounds.
Stefano Bollani and Hamilton de Holanda The connection between these two musicians is very special. There is a great sense of humour and joy in the way they perform which is really infectious and will leave you feeling inspired.
Richard Bona is a stunning vocalist and bass player. The last time I saw him perform live I found it really hard to sit still.
Māyā Gian Slater’s new work for the 2015 Young Elder of Jazz Commission which will premiere at the Festival this year. Gian’s piece is inspired by two of Australia’s most highly regarded contemporary musicians, pianist Andrea Keller and drummer Simon Barker. I can’t wait to hear what she has composed.
I really encourage people to get amongst the action, be brave in your musical choices and try something new. Take a chance on an artist you may never have heard of and take full advantage of the amazing performances on offer over the 11 days.
And finally, don’t miss out on the chance to see a gig a Bennetts Lane. The club is set to close on June 15, just one week after the Festival ends so come join us for a drink to toast this iconic jazz venue and celebrate all that is great about jazz.
What first drew you to jazz?
I first remember listening to Louis Armstrong recordings on long car drives when I was little. I vividly remember my dad singing along trying to imitate Satchmo’s idiosyncratic gravelly voice.
What are some of your favourite jazz recordings?
That’s a really hard one to answer but these are a few of my favourites that I find myself returning to again and again;
The Cannonball Adderley Quintet - Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Live at "The Club”
Alice Coltrane - Journey in Satchidananda
Nina Simone – Wild is the Wind
The Robert Glasper Experiment – Black Radio
What got you started in the arts industry?
I grew up in a family that really valued art and culture so from a very young age I would accompany my parents and older sisters to concerts, dance performances, theatre, festivals and art galleries. At first I am pretty sure I did so begrudgingly (I recall lots of pretty bored moments in art galleries at around age 7 or 8) but thankfully this phase ended pretty quickly.
Growing up in Melbourne I was lucky to have a lot of artistic influences around me as well as some really transformative experiences on overseas holidays. It wasn’t long before I really embraced these experiences and would actively seek out all the amazing offerings.
Once I completed my uni degree (Bachelor of Arts (Honours) I decided that working in the arts was what I really wanted to do. I think it was pretty lucky timing coupled with some experience as an intern in the programming department at MIFF that landed me my first position at Melbourne Festival. It was a pretty incredible organisation to start my career in Arts Management.
What are your fondest memories of previous Festivals?
I have so many incredible memories of the past five festivals. It’s hard to just identify a few but here goes;
- Dee Dee Bridgewater’s Conga line through the auditorium at the Melbourne Town Hall on the closing night of the 2012 festival. I don’t think there was one person still seated at the end of it.
- The reception that Snarky Puppy received at their show at the Forum and at the last minute club shows we organised with one days notice.
- Having the fortune of bringing incredible music to Melbourne audiences and being able to witness their responses to the live music experience.
- Sharing the madness of running a festival with some of the best colleagues imaginable. I seriously don’t know how I would do it without them!