Two decades of jazz

Celebrate the 20th birthday of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival from June 2-11.

Since 1997, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival has showcased the best jazz acts from all around the world and this year is no different.

With such an extensive program this year it will be hard to narrow down your show choices, but here are some of our top picks to see after work.

If you’re a fan of David Bowie’s Blackstar, then you won’t want to miss The Donny McCaslin Group.

The four-piece set leapt to worldwide fame after its contribution to Bowie’s final Grammy award-winning album and are travelling to The Toff in Town for four shows over two days.

The band’s debut MIJF performance will see them play a set of originals, as well as covers from artists such as Dedmau5, David Bowie and the Chainsmokers.

The Donny McCaslin Group is playing its first two shows on Friday, June 2 at 7pm and 9.30pm.

Watch international and local improvising artists perform together in the incredible collaboration that is the Jim Black Quartet.

New York drummer Jim Black will lead the quartet selected from Melbourne’s best improvising community on a performance featuring originals, improvisations and compositions by all four artists.

This is an opportunity to see jazz in one of its rawest and most creative forms.

The Jim Black Quartet is two playing at The Toff in Town on Monday, June 5.

The first show starts at 7pm and tickets are $55 full price.

Join in on The Toff in Town’s special edition of its weekly jam session, Now. Here. This. on Tuesday, June 6.

Now. Here. This. showcases emerging and established talent and is always followed by a late night jam with house band LØGØ.

This special edition will feature performances from WVRBVBY and Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange.

All are welcome to watch and even better, all are encouraged to play!

Now. Here. This. starts at 9.30pm. Tickets can be purchased for $10 at the door.

In a must-see festival exclusive, US group Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles are also making its way to the CBD.

Its sound has been described as a “blisteringly hot” combination of past and future funk, with roots in soul and gospel.

Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles will perform pieces by Prince and Marvin Gaye as well as some originals.

You can catch this incredible show on Wednesday, June 7 at 170 Russell. Tickets are $59 and the show starts with an opening set from DJ Chris Gill at 8pm.

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