See below for details of some of the amazing artists we have performing at the 2017 festival.
See the Program page to find out what time they are playing and on which stage.
The Africa Entsha (new Africa in Zulu language) performance is from the South African oral tradition, sung a capella in gospel style. Their repertoire includes a wide variety of songs sung in Zulu and some in English—such as their very personal version of Shakira’s ‘Waka Waka’. However, at the very heart of the show are the Zulu songs, full of rhythm, style and spirit that deeply belong to this ethnic group.
Hands, feet and the entire body give the rhythm and create the choreography with a crescendo of feelings and joy. From the very first moments of their performances, the quartet completely captivates their audience who, by end of the show, are left breathless and often deeply moved.
Multi-award winning Melbourne blues diva, Andrea Marr, decided to explore her soul side by creating the Funky Hitmen—an eight-piece explosion of funk and soul, reminiscent of the Blues Brothers, the Ike and Tina Turner Revue and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.
The band recorded an EP in July 2012 aptly titled ‘Sass & Brass’, which was picked up by Chicago record label Blues Skunk Music. They were nominated as soul band of the year at the Cherry Awards, and have been featured in Melbourne Music Week’s Women of Soul show. The band has made several festival appearances, including at Broadbeach Jazz Festival and the Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Festival.
With great high-energy original music, and a soul and funk groove that fits anywhere from Memphis to New York, this is an act not to be missed.
‘Andrea Marr & the Funky Hitmen will make your booty shake in ways you never knew possible’ – The Marshalltown Live Review
‘The best soul act I’ve seen all year’ – Vince Peach PBS Soul Time DJ
The band: Andrea Marr—vocals, Dave Reynolds—guitar, Rob Little—Bass, Roby Corelli—drums, Sean Rankin—trumpet, Stuart Byrne–baritone sax, Jeff Mead—tenor sax, Cameron Fallaw—Hammond organ.
BackBeat is Australia’s only Beatles’ tribute show paying homage to their early years 1957–1964. It is a Melbourne-based band that captures the sound and energy of the early Beatles pre-fab era.
BackBeat don’t wear wigs or do phony Liverpool accents—what they do is play the music with energy, passion, three-part harmonies, with period correct equipment, foolishly dressed in black leathers and winkle picker boots!
BackBeat has recently returned from International BeatleWeek festival, which is held annually over seven days in Liverpool (UK). BackBeat is the first band from Melbourne to be invited to perform at this festival, and is only Australia’s 3rd band in the festival’s 30-year history.
The Boogaloos & The Highway 41 Horns are an eight-piece dance band with a flavour of soul, a wash of blues and rock, all with an individualistic approach in their music and four big brassy Horns.
Their repertoire covers a diverse range, with classics and forgotten tracks from the 50’s to the 90’s, and styles that range from reggae and Latin beats to rock and roll, from jazz to jive, and from ballads to be-bop.
The Blue Souls are a group of five musicians who love and play blues, soul and jazz music. Uniquely interpreting some of the classic tunes of the genre, and also writing their own original songs, the Blue Souls deliver a performance that’s powerful but also seductively smooth.
The band loves the festival atmosphere and can be seen at various festivals over the summer months and also regularly throughout the year at pubs and venues in and around Melbourne.
Whether you see them ripping it up on a Saturday night, kicking back on a lazy Sunday afternoon or electrifying a festival stage, the Blue Souls experience is not to be missed.
Hey Gringo is an eclectic, earthy, funk-injected, original, jazz, blues and roots combo with boogie piano, smoking organ, hot sax, steamy harmonica, sizzling guitar and funky flute over a layer of irresistible rockin’ roots and rhythm with thought-provoking lyrics. Hey Gringo take you on a journey to all corners of the roots-music world.
‘An upbeat collection of smokin’ rhythm & blues combining jazz-inflected vocal stylings,
polished instrumentation, well-formed solos and seriously funky grooves.’ – Al Hensley, Rhythms Magazine, Noosa FM
Dorian Mode M.A (hons) D.C.A is a multi award-winning jazz pianist and composer. Upon leaving school he sat for a degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and eventually signed to EMI Records. He is one of the few local jazz artists to be signed to a major label in Australia, and released his debut CD ‘Rebirth of the Cool’ with jazz luminaries Bernie McGann and others.
Dorian has recorded numerous CDs earning an ABC Music Award for Best Instrumental and Best Jazz Composition, the latter composition published in the Australian Jazz Real Book. He’s also composed the music for a TV series for FOX in the US, and been awarded an ABC Music Award for Best Theatrical Score for his music for the play ‘The Good German’ at the Seymour Centre.
Eltham High School Stage Band comprises students from years 9 to 12 with a passion for jazz and improvising.
The group plays a mixture of classic big band repertoire, modern composition and new original music.
Geoff Kluke is regarded as one Australia’s leading bass players. Having performed with some of the world’s greatest musicians, he has now put together this ‘all star’ band of veterans to play his original compositions and arrangements.
Grand WaZoo, formed in 1981 by jazz musician John Montesante, is a 13-piece world-class soul extravaganza, with an unsurpassed record for presenting the most entertaining and authentic Afro-American soul-funk music experience in Australia.
Big, bold and brassy, for more than 35 years, this iconic outfit has been presenting 60′s and 70′s soul and R&B hits, forgotten gems and band originals, all meticulously arranged by Montesante, who is reputed for his fine horn lines.
With the fabulous WaZoo Horns—Matthew Jodrell, John Montesante, Andrew Serpell, Jim Glasson, Russell Praetz, Aaron Searle, a rockin’ rhythm section—Peter Ford, Shane Goonan, Michael Rochford, Barney Loveland and fronted by three exceptional soul singers—Wylie J Miller, Samantha Morley and May Johnston.
These legendary Kings of Soul are an Eltham Jazz, Food & Wine Festival must-see!
These four ‘lads’, who often add Wilbur Wilde on sax for festival engagements, play 60’s & 70’s covers, with moments of 40’s and ‘cabaret country’ thrown in. They have reformed for the enjoyment of playing, having first played together in the Seventies.
Blending comedy banter with non-standard rock classics, Greg Champion & The Cool Rockin’ Daddies provide a classic rock show with supreme style and a smile.
Kimba is known for her warm, true tone and ability to find new stories and sounds from the jazz canon. Equally comfortable in the intimate guitar/vocal setting of Kimba and Ryan or her west-coast bop influenced Kimba Griffith Septet, Kimba’s sound has been likened to vocalists like Chris Connor and Anita O’Day.
Mo Award 2001, 2003 & 2004 (Australian Entertainment Industry), National Jazz Award (1998) winner and A.R.I.A Finalist 2001,2004 (Australian Recording Industry), Michelle Nicolle is a jazz musician whose chosen instrument is her voice.
Known for her ability to get right to the heart of a song, as well as being an in-the-moment improviser, Michelle has continually developed and nurtured her art form with the help of her quartet.
Leading her band with a quiet dignity, Michelle’s apparent ease at clever, difficult, and varied improvisation, bring to mind the skills of singers like Betty Carter, Mel Torme or Ella Fitzgerald. But this exceptionally talented woman sounds like none of those singers. What she does hold in common is being true to her artistic self, having an incredible ‘ear’, as well as being a serious jazz musician and lyricist. Her clear tone and impressive breath control indicate hard work and dedication to her art form.
The ‘Pelicans’ were formed in 1986 as an extension to the ‘New Orleans Pelicans’—a jazz band that Barry Wratten formed when he arrived in New Orleans to live in 1982. The current band came together in 2000, at the request of Musical Director Adrian Jackson, to open the Melbourne International Jazz Festival that year.
The music you will hear is not quite in the tradition of our strictly European and English derived brass band music, though it retains many elements of those traditions.
In New Orleans—which is often referred to as the northern tip of the Caribbean, rather than the southern end of the U.S.A—the brass bands quickly absorbed the ‘Spanish Tinge’ or rhythms of the prevailing Creole culture, along with the more abandoned, looser marching style of the ancient African village processions.
Great music for all manner of dancing…‘Swing You Swingers!’
Performing on average 150 shows a year across Australia, New Zealand and the USA, Nick Charles is known internationally as ‘Australia’s virtuoso of acoustic roots and blues’.
He has released a dozen albums on Australian and US labels including his latest ‘The River Flows’, which has seen him awarded the 2016 ‘Album of the Year’, ‘Song of the Year’ and ‘Solo Performer of the Year’ in the blues scene. He was named ‘Port Fairy Folk Festival Artist of the Year 2014’ and is a twice winner of the Australian Song Contest. His latest accolade is the 2016 ‘Age’ Blues Album of the Year. He has toured with and supported artists including John Hammond, Guy Clarke, Ralph McTell, Robyn Ford, Junior Wells and BB King.
This is fingerpicking roots-music magic and a lifetime’s stories and songs from the world’s musical highways.
Australian vocalist, Olivia Chindamo is a Melbourne-based musician who is best known for her natural and effortless ability to improvise or ‘scat’. As the 2016 Bell Award winner for ‘Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year’, Olivia has firmly cemented her place in Australia’s flourishing jazz scene and is now being recognised internationally as the result of her acceptance to, and attendance of, the prestigious Banff International Workshop in Jazz & Creative Music 2016.
Often affectionately labeled as a ‘musician’s singer’, at 24 she has already earned the respect of many of her peers and has performed on stages of all sizes, including Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, The Basement (Sydney), Melbourne’s iconic Hamer Hall and several large-scale festivals and concerts, including Sydney’s Twilight at Taronga Zoo Summer Series 2015 and 2016 and Darwin’s Jazz On The Green Festival in 2014.
As well as fronting her own bands, Olivia often appears as a guest vocalist with James Morrison’s Big Band and performs and collaborates with many other Australian bands and projects.
Olivia’s understanding of harmony is second nature and makes each of her performances uniquely rich and spontaneous.
‘She’s what every jazz instrumentalist wants to hear—when Olivia scats, it’s like having another great horn player in the band.’
– James Morrison AM, Australian multi-instrumentalist, composer, educator.
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‘Beautiful intonation and time feel, she’s got the lot!’
– Don Burrows, AO MBE, Australian multi-instrumentalist, composer, educator
Shirazz’s high-energy entertainment has earned them a reputation as a must-have festival band, attracting invitations from all over the county, playing to packed houses and receiving standing ovations Australia-wide. In Melbourne, Shirazz performs regularly at bars and pubs in the city, as well as weddings, functions and corporate events, including a New Years Eve party on board a plane over Antarctica!
The band has recorded four albums, including one nominated for ‘Best Australian Traditional Jazz Album’ at the Australian Jazz Awards. Their music is born in the New Orleans tradition, but they are, by no means, bound by it.
Shirazz extend the jazz genre to inject humour, original compositions, novel rearrangement of pop hits, European folk influences, and their own larrikin style to create a unique and exciting sound.
Despite being a firm fixture in the Melbourne music scene for close to ten years, the Shuffle Club are still able to surprise those who know them whilst blowing the minds and feet of those who are new to the experience.
Their style is most easily described as a hot blend of jazz, swing, blues, and boogie, but that hardly does justice to their raw energy and enthusiasm—the kind of energy that will bring you to your feet and onto the dance floor before you even quite know what is happening.
This four-piece line up of sax, double bass, piano and drums, is not the kind of band to sit back on their laurels. All the performers play a vast array of instruments and are singers as well.
A night out with The Shuffle Club is exactly that, you will find yourself caught up in the show as they draw you into their world of beautiful mayhem. If you are lucky you may even find yourself used as part of the percussion section. Getting these boys to stay still and stick to their instruments is sometimes a bit of a hard task.
Sisters and Misters is a vocal group that aims to provide singing opportunities for people of all ages. The group in based in Eltham and Reservoir with members in their early twenties ranging to people in their eighties.
Sisters and Misters perform songs from the 60′s through to current hits, and perform numbers from The Beatles and AC/DC to Adele and John Legend.
The group is led by Irene Bennetts, whose aim was to set up a singing group for people who had always wanted to sing, but have never been given the opportunity to do so. Irene also wanted to take it one step further and give these people performance opportunities in the community and at charity events. There are no auditions and no prerequisites, other than a love for singing.
In 2011 the group appeared on national television in Australia’s Got Talent. They received a standing ovation from all three judges and subsequently were one of 48 acts Australia-wide to go through to the semi finals.
Sisters and Misters is not just a singing group—it is a group of community-minded people who come together as a singing family, bringing smiles to many people’s faces.
Soul Sacrifice is an eight-piece band that pays genuine tribute to the great music of Santana. For the band, it’s all about the music and putting on a great show focusing on classic Santana (late 60′s/70′s) with a splash of later stuff, covering Latin rock, jazz, funk, Latin soul and rock genres. Classics such as Black Magic Woman, Evil Ways, Oye Como Va & Smooth create the infectious grooves and rhythms of Santana.
Genuine reproduction of the Santana sound with note for note solos (guitar and organ/keys), underpinned by the infectious rhythms and grooves of Santana’s signature ‘Latin rock’ sound. Carlos Santana more or less ‘invented’ Latin rock as a brand new genre back in the mid to late 60′s, and now we bring it to 2017 faithfully reproduced. Close you eyes and you will be in Woodstock or the Fillmore West instantly. The Power of Music!!
The band comprises of:
Lead Guitar: Alex Buick.
Keys, backing vox: Linden Compassi.
Congas, percussion, backing vox: Greg Hayward.
Timbales, bells, percussion, backing vox: Leo Ramos.
Lead Vocals, guitar: David Jankos.
Vocal, backing vox: Jane Willison
Bass: Andrew Tsindos.
Drums: Josh Geoghegan
Suzanne Petersen is an accomplished musician, lyrical poet, vocalist and pianist with many years experience. She will play with talented musicians Gary Norman (guitar), Mike Mathews (bass) and Justin Humphries (drums) to showcase Suzanne’s song-writing talent. Together they will invite you on a lyrical impressionistic journey spanning blues and jazz ballads and 70’s rock/pop that will leave you satiated.
Suzanne is currently releasing her third album of original songs with these musicians. Previously, Suzanne has written songs and performed with the Tim Gaze Band for surf movie ‘Band on the Run’, toured with Dutch Tilders RnB6 between 1998 and 2001, received two awards of recognition from Unisong for ‘Here Is My song’ and ‘Hold On’. Her last album ‘I Foresaw This Trouble’ climbed to No.5 and remained in the Australian Radio Blues and Roots Charts in 2015.
Suzanne has been promoting her original material at local venues such as Upwey/Belgrave RSL, Prince Of Wales Hotel in St Kilda, Cherry Bar, the Clifton Hill Hotel, and with her trio at Prahran Market.
Vintage Roots specialise in performing classic pop songs in vintage styles. They add a unique twist to artists such as Cold Chisel, John Farnham, Mondo Rock, Maroon 5, Britney Spears, Blondie, Men at Work and many more.
They’ll be joined by Yvette Johansson, who has all the flair and elegance great jazz vocalists of the past have founded their craft upon. Her range, both vocally and stylistically, points to her versatility, confidence and inspiration, and her work has gained her an enviable and respected place in the Australian jazz music scene. Her dynamic and charismatic performances weave a charming tapestry of insight and entertainment upon the canvas of her technique.
Exploring a plethora of genres from the jazz idiom this is pop music like you’ve never heard before. With catchy arrangements and an all-star line up, Vintage Roots will redefine what you know as pop music.