Chaka Khan and Nile Rodgers and Chic To Perform At Melbourne International Jazz Festival -
Nile Rodgers and Chic Rod Laver Arena on Sunday 8 April 2017. Photo by Ros O'Gorman

Nile Rodgers and Chic Rod Laver Arena on Sunday 8 April 2017. Photo by Ros O'Gorman

Chaka Khan and Nile Rodgers and Chic To Perform At Melbourne International Jazz Festival

by Paul Cashmere on August 29, 2023

in News

The 2023 Melbourne International Jazz Festival program has just dropped with Chaka Khan and Nile Rodgers & Chic listed for a double header at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on 21 October.

Chaka Khan was lead singer for US funk band Rufus in the 70s. Their big hit was ‘Ain’t Nobody’.

In 1984 Chaka had a solo global hit covering Prince’s ‘I Feel For You’.

Nile Rodgers has produced Madonna, David Bowie, Debbie Harry, Duran Duran, INXS, Mick Jagger, Grace Jones and The B-52s and with Chic and Sister Sledge had the hits ‘Le Freak’, ‘Dance Dance Dance’ and ‘Good Times’.

The 2023 Melbourne International Jazz Festival program offers 11 World premieres, 10 Australian exclusive performances, 16 new Australian and International collaborations and the largest proportion of free programming in the festival’s history.

Melbourne International Jazz Festival Artistic Director Michael Tortoni said: “I’m honoured to announce this program of incredible artists for MIJF 2023. This is one of our most bold and ambitious festivals yet – and we cannot wait for audiences to witness some of the world’s greatest jazz musicians and iconic artists as they converge on our great city over a huge 10-days in October.”

The 2023 program includes:

• The festival kicks off with an explosive launch event at Sidney Myer Music Bowl Saturday 21 October with six hours of funk, jazz, disco and soul, featuring music legends Chaka Khan – in her only Australian performance – and Nile Rodgers & Chic, supported by ARIA-winning neo soul queen Kaiit and Melbourne’s finest purveyors of jazz and funk Horns of Leroy.

• The festival will host its own massive Second Line Street Party through the heart of the city bringing a classic New Orleans jazz parade banging and swinging through the streets of Melbourne. New Orleans legends of the Second Line, the Hot 8 Brass Band, will lead a joyous and jumping musical march along the Yarra, through Southbank and Federation Square.

• Musical icon and the founding father of highlife, Ghanaian guitarist Ebo Taylor will perform in Australia for the first time alongside Melbourne’s own 17-piece band The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra.

• For one night only at The Substation, Raw Denshi combines bilingual rapping with structured and free improvisation. Based on Aaron Choulai’s critically acclaimed 2020 release, and reimagined for the Australian Art Orchestra, Raw Denshi explores new pathways of experimentation in hip-hop and improvisation, bringing together two of Tokyo’s most prominent and influential pioneers of Japanese hip-hop, Kojoe and Hikaru Tanaka

• At Federation Square, free performances by a line-up of international legends and local heroes will roll out over Friday 20 and Saturday 21 October, including performances by MIJF First Nations Resident Artist Bumpy, Zimbabwean-born First Lady of Soul Thndo and singer-songwriter Rita Satch

• For the first time ever, award-winning actress and Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist, Lisa Simone, will grace the Hamer Hall stage to honour her mother’s legacy. Blessed with the same deep velvet voice as her inimitable mother, jazz legend Nina Simone, Lisa Simone will bring the Simone repertoire to life in a lushly orchestrated and deeply personal main-stage performance accompanied by a swingin’ all-star big band.

• Also at Substation is the previously announced special MIJF collaboration by the formidable Nduduzo Makhathini (South Africa) and distinguished ARIA winner and 2023 Queensland Australian of the Year William Barton, the world’s pre-eminent didgeridoo musician.

• Making her MIJF debut is celebrated Grammy-winning vocalist and composer, Cécile McLorin Salvant, performing for one night only at Hamer Hall on the closing night of the festival

• UK instrumental trio GoGo Penguin will visit Australia for the first time, performing at The Forum for an electrifying performance that is guaranteed to thrill audiences and convert even the staunchest jazz non-believer.

• Hailed as one of the most gifted jazz trumpeters of her generation, Canadian Ingrid Jensen takes over The JazzLab for two nights of musical alchemy

• Jazz takes over the gym for Dead Weight – a kooky yet ambitious site-specific work at Melbourne City Baths – devised, composed and directed by Cologne-based Australian trombonist and composer Shannon Barnett. Gym clothes are optional.

• Celebrated Australian folk jazz trio Elixir featuring the sublime and haunting vocals of Katie Noonan, alongside saxophonist Zac Hurren and guitarist Benjamin Hauptmann will perform Melbourne Recital Hall

• In a performance that crosses cultural and musical boundaries, Chinese-Australian composer,
performer and pioneer of modern guzheng music Mindy Meng Wang will join distinguished jazz artist and multi-award-winning Australian composer and pianist Paul Grabowsky AO at Chapel Off Chapel

• In the city’s west, over 3 huge days MIJF is taking over Spotswood hotspot Grazeland. A unique outdoor dining experience sure to tantalise your senses featuring over 50 food and beverage vendors, enjoy an eclectic mix of local jazz, soul, funk and swing by the likes of Cookin’ on 3 Burners, The Sugarfoot Ramblers and The CB3 as you explore this expansive foodie’s playground.

• And for the first Sunday of the festival on 22 October, celebrate the joy of jazz at the Moonee Ponds Street Party. From 2-6pm enjoy the spring sunshine and local talent – with The Georgia Brooks Swingtet, Jake Amy Trio and Kaiit – at the Hall Street pop-up stage. Then from 6pm onwards, go on a jazz crawl and soak up the tunes at nearby Hall Street restaurants and bars.

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