We are all sick of attending expensive festivals, where we leave with mud still dwelling in the most hidden crevices of our bodies and no recollection of what the music was actually like. What happened to great music at reasonable prices? Well, you should’ve looked no further than Cross Street in Brunswick last weekend, for the inaugural Melbourne Big Band Festival!
The festival was organised by none other than Mr Jazz of Melbourne, the renowned James Mustafa. Running across the 11th and 12th of February, patrons enjoyed nearly 20 unique jazz ensembles, including the likes of The James Mustafa Orchestra, The Admiral’s Own Big Band, Horns of Leroy and Daryl McKenzie Jazz Orchestra. Each act provided a unique character, all accumulating into a fantastic weekend of jazz music.
Cross Street acted as a perfect venue, becoming an increasingly popular rendezvous for jazz performances. The indoor music hall provided an ideal ambience for the larger ensemble sets, while the outdoor courtyard acted perfectly for the smaller market stage groups. In particular, Horns of Leroy provided two killer sets that brought the bare-foot bowlers from the Brunswick Bowl Club next door popping around to watch the show.
Headlining act was New York saxophonist, Roxy Coss, who joined the James Mustafa Orchestra for the final act of the weekend. Her virtuosic performance truly captivated the audience, through her effortless melodic lines and energetic improvisations. The highlight of the set would have to be Amber Moment, with her sensitive performance of the James Mustafa tune wowing the crowd and band members alike. Her compositions, arranged for the group by James Mustafa himself, provided the crowd with the full display of her potential, with closing chart Push acting as a perfect close to the brilliant weekend.
To imagine that this was only the first festival of its kind in Melbourne, James Mustafa has done a fantastic job as always. We can only wish that the festival will be back in 2018, with a bigger and better setlist!
You might also like...
Jared loves to share his passion for music and artists through music reviews and commentaries. These include a selection of reviews written for community radio stations 3MBS and Radio Monash.