Legendary US jazz chanteuse, Vivian Sessoms, will join the 29th Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues’ world-class line-up, Festival Chairman Mark Bolsius announced today.
With unrivalled backing vocalist credits including Chaka Khan, Donna Summer, Cher, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Pink, Patti Austin and a host of other headline artists, Ms Sessoms is launching her new album, LIFE, in November.
Not only will she perform a hotly-anticipated show at the WPAC Hall with US bassist and MD Chris Parks and Melbourne pianist Brenton Foster, but she’ll also appear with Australian all-female supergroup Sweethearts for one show only.
Geelong-based Sweethearts is an original soul, funk and blues band of young women that has earned critical acclaim worldwide, through regular appearances at Montreaux Jazz Festival, Jazz à Vienne, the Porretta Soul Festival, and more. The announcement of the Sweethearts—Vivian Sessoms performance comes after the unfortunate cancellation of US drummer, Bernard Purdie, who was scheduled to appear with Sweethearts but withdrew due to scheduling issues.
Securing Ms Sessoms’ appearances is a major coup for the festival, which is renowned for featuring the world’s most accomplished international and Australian jazz and blues artists each year, in the heart of north-east Victoria’s famous wine-producing region.
Ms Sessoms recorded and produced her forthcoming release LIFE in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Chris Parks, displaying adventurous arrangements and an expressive, sophisticated sound that draws on jazz, R&B and pop in fresh and moving ways. Whether she’s presenting her own material, reinterpreting Strange Fruit for our own troubled times, or reshaping classic pop, jazz and soul hits, the result is nothing short of transformational. Her soaring voice is full and robust, unerring in pitch, utterly at home, and highly praised by Rolling Stone, Billboard, Ebony and other illustrious publications.
Since 1989 the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues has grown to become an internationally renowned event attracting around 25,000 visitors and 200+ jazz and blues artists from the US, the UK, Europe and Australia to regional north-east Victoria every November. With its diverse mix of jazz greats and rising stars, each year the program showcases jazz and blues of all styles, including original, contemporary, traditional, mainstream, experimental and improvised. A central feature remains the National Jazz Awards; a competition designed to encourage and promote young musicians. The Festival has won numerous tourism and sponsorship awards, and is recognised internationally as the foremost jazz and blues event in Australia.