Sirens Big Band Photo by Yanni Kronenberg

Sirens Big Band puts women of jazz in spotlight


07 Mar 2019

Blue Mountains Theatre will host a very special Sunday afternoon concert on 24 March 2019, when 13-piece powerhouse Sirens Big Band presents [A]part. This ground-breaking suite of music by Ellen Kirkwood features legendary musicians – saxophonist Sandy Evans, pianist Andrea Keller and vocalist Sonya Holowell.

A dynamic collective bringing new sounds to the traditional big band setting, Sirens Big Band are passionate about increasing gender diversity in jazz through their predominantly female and trans line-up. 

Ellen Kirkwood, a member since Sirens’ formation in early 2010, has been an important contributor to the group’s unique repertoire. Pianist Andrea Keller, saxophonist Sandy Evans and vocalist Gian Slater are three of Australia’s most celebrated and in-demand jazz performer/composers, and have played a significant part in inspiring Ellen and her generation of creative jazz musicians. 

This stunning concert is Ellen’s emotive and captivating response to growing issues in a rapidly changing world: the wonder and malignance of the internet, the refugee crisis, greed and climate change, and reflections/reactions to the present.  

[A]part traverses a diverse series of moods and influences. The musical metamorphosis from one section to another sees a vast array of ideas and styles including neo-classicism, chorale, afro-cuban, afrobeat and electronica. 

Penned in 2016-17 during Ellen’s Australia Council-funded composition mentorship with composer/pianist Barney McAll, [A]part was a 2018 finalist in the APRA Art Music Awards for Jazz Work of the Year. Ellen was also a finalist in the 2017 Freedman Jazz Fellowships, largely due to this work.   

This concert will also feature a supporting set by the Young Women's Jazz Orchestra, a dynamic jazz orchestra for talented women aged 15-21 and an educational partnership between Sirens Big Band and Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA). 

Sirens Big Band, Sunday 24 March, 3pm at Blue Mountains Theatre - 106 Macquarie Road Springwood.  Tickets $35/$32. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Box Office, via phone 4723 5050 or online at bluemountainstheatre.com.  

Pic: Ellen Kirkwood from Sirens Big Band.

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