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Manly Jazz again set to enthral thousands

Source: Northern Beaches Council
Archived 12 Nov 2019 - Posted: 22 Sep 2019
Rodney Whitaker in Manly
Australia’s longest running jazz festival returns to world famous Manly beach on the October long weekend (5 October – 7 October, 2019).

The internationally acclaimed Manly Jazz is known worldwide for its beautiful location and the diversity of music it presents, from traditional New Orleans jazz to funk, Latin, fusion, blues, gospel, swing and roots.

Mayor Michael Regan said the festival continues to attract thousands of visitors every year, drawn by the enticing combination of cool music, great food and a laid-back atmosphere.

“Manly Jazz is first and foremost a music festival - a real celebration of sound, but it is also a celebration of Australia’s beach culture, great times and especially the wonderful Northern Beaches vibe.

“The Festival has a rich history of dishing up some of the best live jazz performances from across Australia and around the world,” Mayor Regan said.

“Now in its 42nd year, we’ll be showcasing young local musicians alongside professional national and international acts.”

This year’s headline acts include:

Rodney Whitaker: Internationally renowned bassist and Mack Avenue recording artist, Rodney Whitaker, currently holds the titles of Professor of Jazz Bass and Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University where he has built one of the leading jazz degree programs and performing faculties in the US. He is considered one of the leading performers and teachers of the jazz double bass in the United States. He is also the Artistic Director of the Michigan State University Professors of Jazz, former Artistic Advisor of Jazz @ Wharton Center, Director of Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Civic Jazz Orchestra and a member of the Jazz @ Lincoln Center Orchestra. Whitaker received his first national recognition performing with the Harrison/Blanchard Quintet.


Modesto Briseno:Modesto is a third generation musician whose father played with Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton, Harry James, Red Norvo and others. He grew up listening to many of the most talented jazz players in the world, so it was only natural that he would take an interest in music. Modesto has been a member of the Ray Charles orchestra, the Chris Cain band, the Smith Dobson Quintet, and others.


Charito:One of the most prominent jazz vocalists in Japan, Charito has achieved global recognition with her voice, expression, and musical artistry.  With multi-awarded albums recorded and released internationally, Charito's artistry continues to establish its global presence as she tours in Europe, Asia, North and Latin America.


Fantasy - Earth Wind and Fire:FANTASY (Spirit of Earth, Wind & Fire) is founded on a deep love and appreciation of the music and history of ‘Earth, Wind & Fire’ - one of the greatest music groups of the last 50 years. The group boasts multiple Grammy Award wins, 90 million album sales, eight Top Ten Hits, and some of the most glamorous and exciting live music shows ever presented! 


Jade Macrae: Raw soul, delivered with a unique blend of vulnerability and power. Jade MacRae’s voice tells a thousand tales, from joy to despair, bearing all the marks of humanity in between. Jade’s rich and varied musical history colours not only her vocal delivery, but also her song writing which channels the great RnB artists of the 50s and 60s, and tips a hat to her love of jazz from a young age.


Andrew Speight:Andrew Speight is a clear-toned, hard driving alto sax player, one of San Francisco’s most lively and lyrical exponents of straight-ahead, joyous jazz. A native of Sydney, Australia, Speight came of age playing with jazz royalty like Percy Heath, Nat Adderley, Benny Carter, Phil Woods, Nat Adderley, Wynton, Ellis and Branford Marsalis. He leads jazz programs at Michigan State University, San Francisco State and regularly leads education programs at Stanford University. 


Other program highlights include:

Great female artists: Look out for this year for headline acts Charito and Jade Macrae plus female bands - Young Women's Jazz Orchestra’, and ‘343 Brass Band’ – who began their romance with jazz in their high school stage bands that often played at this event.  It’s fantastic to see they have continued their pursuit of jazz music while mentoring and encouraging others to follow the same path.


Swing Dancing: A new feature of this year’s festival is an afternoon of swing at Sydney Road on Saturday 5 October from 4pm. Everyone is encouraged to bring their swing dance moves and come celebrate the rhythm of swing. In preparation for Manly Jazz we will be providing free swing classes to show you the right moves. Spaces for the classes are limited so please pre-register via


Director’s Choice Concert and specialist music workshops:

Our 2019 headline act, bassist Rodney Whitaker will be appearing not only on the main stage on Monday 7 October, he will also perform at an intimate Director’s Choice Concert on Sunday 6 October. He is also teaching at two specialist workshops over the festival weekend.

Get in early and book your tickets for the Director’s Choice Concert ‘Ellingtonia Duke at 120’ or the specialist music workshops ‘Improvisation for All’ and ‘Band Workshop from all points of view’


Wine Garden: As in previous years, we are welcoming back the Manly Jazz wine garden run by the team from the Bearded Pigs. Enjoy great atmosphere around the festival and have a game of mini golf.


Official Venue Program: Besides our well-known outdoor stages, Manly Jazz has an extensive official venue program with diverse music offerings and event specials. Be sure not to miss some great deals and additional entertainment.


For more information about the event and a full line up of performances visit

This article archived 12 Nov 2019

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