If you are in Sydney over the October school holidays , then the long weekend belongs to the Manly International Jazz Festival. This year’s festival marks 42 years  of jazz celebration in stunning locations near Manly Cove and on Manly beach.

Although some jazz acts occured in venues for which an entrance fee was required, the overwhelming number of acts were free to the general public over the three days.

There were five outdoor venues at which these performances took place and they included  the beachside arena at Manly beach, Sydney  Road stage, the John Speight stage, Jazz Stars Of The Future stage which hosted school bands and was located near Manly Cove. A fifth free venue was St Matthew’s Church but I must confess in all my years of attending this Festival I have never ventured into this venue, as I find the outdoor atmosphere intoxicating.

I was only able to attend on the Sunday and although parts pf the day were overcast, the jazz sounds never failed to pop and create splashes of sonic colour.

A highlight for me was the Soul Gospel choir called ‘Jubilation’, just ahed of all the other bands which were hugely entertaining.

The Artistic Directors of the Festival are Caroline and Andrew Speight and they were especially proud that they had snared the services of US bassist Rodney Whitaker who performed a tribute to Duke Ellington. As in previous years, for some sessions, they enlisted the talents of swing  dance groups from various parts of Sydney.

All pics by Ben Apfelbaum (c)