Jazzed up, anti-racist and danced out
By Arun Pradhan
MELBOURNE — More than 400 people packed the Prince of Wales Hotel on June 16 to hear a range of artists perform in Green Left Weekly's Jazz Against Racism.
The audience was treated to strong performances from a line-up including the Jex Saarelaht Trio, Paul Grabowsky's Trio with singer Shelley Scown and Doug deVries & Zingaro. The crowd peaked to hear Vince Jones perform with pianist Sam Keevers.
Jones began his set by devoting a song to jailed Indonesian pro-democracy activist Dita Sari. He entertained the crowd with tales of Thatcher and Pinochet as well as prompting massive applause with a moving cover of Jeff Buckley's song "Hallelujah".
Although some thought the night had ended after Jones, they were pleasantly surprised by Un Grupo de Cabrones, a 13-piece band whose energetic brand of Latin jazz had audiences dancing late into the night.
Bronwyn Jennings, one of the nights MCs, said that the event had been immense fun for all involved, but had also raised money and awareness for Green Left Weekly and pro-democracy activists in Indonesia. "Throughout the night we raised a range of issues — from advertising upcoming events against the Jabiluka mine, highlighting Green Left's unique coverage of issues like refugees but also linking anti-racism with the need for an internationalist perspective. One of the key focuses of the night was solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor."
Organisers especially thanked Vince Jones, whose passionate support for social change and commitment to using his music as a political vehicle helped made the night possible.