About GIJ

What is Generations in Jazz?

Jazz music may have its roots in places like New Orleans and New York, but its influence reaches around the globe. Mount Gambier, in South Australia’s Limestone Coast, is Australia’s hot spot for this high-energy sound – largely thanks to a unique annual event called Generations in Jazz. This spectacular gathering on the outskirts of the city made famous for its Blue Lake not only attracts the jazz legends of today, but the bright stars of tomorrow, bringing together up to 5000 of Australia’s most talented musicians, along with a growing list of global artists.

High school students from more than 150 schools around the nation compete in the Stage Band Awards, while individual Jazz and Vocal Scholarships are also highly coveted, helping to secure the musical destiny of individuals with enormous promise. And then there are the daily concerts – the sound inside the James Morrison big top pavilion, seating up to 6100 people in the middle of a paddock, is simply incredible!

The entire Generations in Jazz concept is part of a regional city’s commitment to encouraging young artists from around the nation to reach for the stars. It’s the culmination of a dream which came true back in 1982, for three country lads united by a love of music; Leigh O’Connor, Dale Cleves and Malcolm Bromley saw an opportunity to pay tribute to their musical forebears Tom O’Connor, Frank Cleves and Joe Hannigan by bringing together like-minded jazz artists so that they could share their talents and learn from one another in a relaxed, inspirational atmosphere. More than three decades later, Generations in Jazz has developed into something truly unique. With a combination of clinics and concerts, it’s become the ultimate three-day jam session for several thousand artists at varying stages of their musical journey. Generations in Jazz represents a wonderful opportunity to listen, perform, respect, and develop a true appreciation for a truly wonderful sound, and be part of a commitment to furthering jazz in Australia and beyond.

The components of Generations in Jazz:

THE CITY OF MOUNT GAMBIER STAGE BAND AWARDS and the ANZ VOCAL ENSEMBLE AWARDS– attract formidable talent from schools around Australia (The 2018 event saw 331 stage bands and vocal ensembles with 4996 participants from as far away as Fremantle WA and Indooroopilly QLD).

THE JAMES MORRISON JAZZ SCHOLARSHIP & GIJ VOCAL SCHOLARSHIP – awarded annually to an instrumentalist and a vocalist, with at least six finalists aged 15-21 years in each section.

ENTERTAINMENT – In 2018, we experienced Legendary Jazz Vocalist Patti Austin, Saxophonist Jeff Clayton and The Cat Empire, ARIA Award-winning The Idea of North, and Australian music icon James Morrison, with Shannon Barnett  and Nasrine Rahmani.  Patti Austin was blown away by her experience at Generations.


What they’re saying about Generations in Jazz:

“I don’t think I’ve ever done actually anything quite like this before because although I’ve been in stadiums with 18,000+ people, when you have 4 or 5,000 kids who are completely going crazy for jazz, you have to pinch yourself. I wonder if Mount Gambier could become an Oxford – a real music destination (which) creates some of the most important music in the world. We’ve never had a stronger, more vibrant music community and with James Morrison at the helm, he’s going to take it into hyperdrive.”   – Kate Ceberano, Australian Artist

“Out of all the performances throughout the year, this is the only place where I play to an audience that large where every single person is a jazz musician. It creates an atmosphere that you don’t get anywhere else, and it’s quite an experience. There is an amazing amount of talent – great young players in this country – and so many of them are here on this weekend, and so I wouldn’t miss it just for the chance to hear what’s going on.” – James Morrison, Jazz Musician

“Generations in Jazz brings together musicians of a same age who have the same interests and musical styles, so that they can work hard at their music in one place and all hear each other – the gathering of the clan, if you like, and I think that the word is spreading. There’s nothing quite like this throughout Australia.” – John Morrison, Jazz Musician

“What an inspiring environment! The energy of the students was something I’ve never experienced. Can’t wait to be part of Generations in Jazz again!” – Willie Murillo, Trumpet, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, USA

“Looking forward to coming back to the most memorable festival experience I have ever had!” – Bernie Dresel, drums, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, USA

“There’s always been a great family community spirit, and the connections made between all of the directors and students and schools where they all support one another…it’s a great experience to be here.” -Robbie Chenoweth, Music Director, Marryatville High School.

“I don’t think there would be a school band in Australia that would not benefit enormously from playing at Generations in Jazz.” – Andrew Newhouse, Director of Music Performance, Prince Alfred College, SA

“Just wanted to let you know how amazing Generations in Jazz now is. I’m sure we all feel that, but it doesn’t hurt to let you know again how well organised and run this event is.” – Leon deBruin, Student, VIC


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