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The 2021 Brisbane Vocal Jazz Festival (BVJF) presented by Ingrid James and the Brisbane Jazz Club is truly “Something To Sing About!”

This Festival is a celebration of the Jazz Voice complemented by some of the most talented musicians in the country. This festival also celebrates three generations of jazz singers.

In the last 20 years, Brisbane has grown to be a unique hub for jazz vocalists, partly due to the wonderful music academy programs available in Queensland and the country, through dedicated private teachers and school programs, but also because there has been one constant in the last 20 years – that is the iconic Jazz Singers’ Jam Night – where community meets the world of academia and the industry – held once a month at the Brisbane Jazz Club (BJC). This has been a welcoming hub, where thousands of singers of many generations and of all levels of skill have had the opportunity to perform with local, interstate and international instrumentalists. It has been a space where singers have felt safe to sing ‘outside their comfort zone’ in front of a supportive audience, in order to develop their specialisation in the art of Vocal Jazz.

This inaugural Festival is a natural extension of the years of dedication many have put into working as a team to provide a pathway for Jazz Singers to showcase their talents…and this year, the festival will gather together top quality national artists to perform alongside local jazz artists at the Brisbane Jazz Club (a dedicated not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers for almost 50 years)

The BVJF and BJC’s intention and philosophy is to create a greater standard of excellence in Queensland so that all jazz singers feel supported and encouraged to excel in their hometown, as well as present world-class performances to a dedicated and growing audience. We hope to bridge the gap between vocalists and instrumentalists demonstrating that the voice is equal as an instrument to any other.

This Festival will celebrate the diversity of the Jazz Vocal art form. Jazz has the power to “develop imaginative thinking, creativity, curiosity, a positive self-image, and a respect for others’ cultural heritage” (www.monkinstitute.org)

The importance of a specialist Vocal Jazz Festival as a unique art form needs to be preserved, providing a powerful voice for the future and celebrating jazz as a unique art form that can help mould and reflect the society in which it belongs!

Ingrid James, Artistic Director (BVJF) 2016-2021 Email Ingrid


“Something to really sing about!”

The iconic Jazz Singers’ Jam Night (JSJN) has come of age! We will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary at the Brisbane Vocal Jazz Festival August 5, 2021. JSJN has become an important voice in Brisbane Jazz in its role as the longest running continuous jam night in Australia, if not globally. JSJN is produced and presented by leading jazz singer and educator, Ingrid James. The Brisbane Jazz Club commends the JSJN as one of the best attended nights each month at the Club and it never fails to enchant! Tonight, we are honoured to celebrate our 20th Anniversary with a stellar band – Dave Spicer Trio and a plethora of incredible singers and special guests!

Shaken but never stirred, Gregg Arthur knows how to deliver a seamless performance. This year, Brisbane Vocal Jazz Festival is delighted to feature this celebrated singer, based in Sydney, featuring material from his latest ABC Music release – “Jazz and Cocktails” along with the inimitable Steve Russell on piano, Andrew Shaw on bass and Dave Sanders on drums. “… this exceptional singer, like Sinatra, delivers immortal melodies with impeccable phrasing” – Eric Myers. The Weekend Australian. Gregg’s new release on ABC Music and live performances are a celebration of classic saloon bar jazz. Featuring classic jazz standards by Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Cole Porter, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Michel Legrand, Eden Ahbez and new songs written by Gregg Arthur & Peter Locke.


DOORS OPEN: 12:30pm PERFORMANCE 1:30pm to 4:00pm

Headlining the festival this year, we welcome back The Idea of North – Australia’s premier contemporary a cappella ensemble for many years. The group’s exceptional ability to connect musically and emotionally with an audience is what really sets them apart. They take songs you know and songs that you don’t know – and tell the stories through their enviably imaginative and arresting vocal arrangements – all without touching another instrument, other than their own voices!

The group has been duly recognised in its time, with international recording and performance awards, as well as two ARIA Awards back here in Australia – it is a sight and a sound to behold.

If you thought you knew the limits of what the human voice can create, then we encourage you to come along and experience this astounding group. A concert by The Idea of North will make you think again.

Support act, vocal group “inVoices from Queensland Conservatorium of Music led by Dave Spicer.


There have been many great jazz musicians, but those considered exceptionally talented have often been informally granted honorific “aristocratic” or “royal” titles as nicknames by audiences and peers. These are the artists that made every song unique and their own, regardless of whether or not they penned the songs.
Closing the festival and back by popular demand, following on from our sell-out previous Kings and Queens of Jazz concerts, this year we pay our humble homage to some more of these greats with the help of a number of local artists. From the Ella Fitzgerald, the Queen of Jazz with Karen Anderson; to Frank Sinatra, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century with Stu Fisher; the renowned Judy Garland with Bernadette Pryde; Cotton Club bandleader, dancer, actor and jazz singer, Cab Calloway III, with Sean Andrews; the sophisticated Peggy Lee with Naomi Doessel; and the unforgettable Nat King Cole with Tom Pegler.


Peggy Lee was a trailblazer of her time. Not only a jazz and popular music singer, she was also a songwriter, composer and actress. Naomi has loved Peggy’s tunes since she was a little girl and recently had a sold-out show Naomi Does Peggy at the Brisbane Jazz Club. Naomi looks forward to once again bringing Peggy to life on the BJC stage.


Frank Sinatra was one of the most influential performers of the 20th century. A cool Crooner, an Academy Award winning actor, and sharp wit, Sinatra recorded more than 1200 songs. He only wrote one song, but he made everything he did his own.


2021 marks 40 years of live performance for local favourite Karen Anderson. Karen will be paying homage to the inimitable tone, range and styling of Ella Fitzgerald. Karen’s first jazz performance at the age of 17 was Ella’s ‘The Lady is a Tramp’ and ‘Ella in Berlin’ was the first Ella vinyl on high rotation in her share-house lounge rooms.


Nat King Cole is known as a giant even among jazz greats. A man whose velvet tone and authentic style captivated and inspired listeners from the 1940’s right up to the present day. Tom will present some of the hits of his timeless career.


Judy Garland loved jazz. But she complained she was never allowed to sing jazz during her early career. When she left MGM studios and became the mistress of her own destiny Judy collaborated with jazz greats on her own television variety show and performed their work live in concert. In the year that celebrates her 99th birthday, Bernadette revisits Judy’s favourite jazz numbers and some classics written especially for her.


Cab Calloway was certainly a character and King in the American Jazz scene. He was a jazz singer, dancer, bandleader and actor in a career that spanned 65 years which originated in the swing era of the 1930’s and 40’s. His niche was mixing his jazz with a kind of vaudeville performance. Sean Andrews is also known to be an incredibly versatile performer, much like “Cab” This will be fun!