Festival of jazz to swing city
Graham Wood and Kate Ceberano get set for the Perth International Jazz Festival. Picture: Chantal Concei

Songbird Kate Ceberano will join an all-star big band to headline the second Perth International Jazz Festival in May.

The Perth Concert Hall will be just one of the many venues around the city to host the second festival organised by local jazz luminary Graham Wood.

The festival will complete a major comeback for Wood, the Ellington Jazz Club owner, composer-pianist and head of music at the WA Academy of Performing Arts.

He spent his inaugural festival last year laid up in hospital after surgery to remove a rare and aggressive bile-duct cancer.

The May 9-11 festival, much of it free, has expanded to take in extra venues after the success of the program last year.

The launch of the festival today also coincides with the fifth anniversary of the Ellington, the first venue to open after the 2007 "change of scene" liquor reforms.

Wood said that in the past five years there had been massive changes in Perth's bar and club landscape. "Things are a lot more lively now and there are a lot more places doing things," he said.

But Wood, who has a nightclub licence, was disappointed it was still uneconomic for many small bars to host live music because of the 120- person licensing restrictions. Allowing another 20 people would make a big difference in the capacity for a venue to afford to have live music, he said.

"I am still sceptical about the live music component that was supposed to be part of the small-bar scene, but it's catch 22 because the size of small-bar licences prohibits live music," he said.

American jazz stars, saxophonist Greg Osby and guitarist Peter Bernstein, lead the line-up of festival artists.

Ceberano said the festival marked a return to her roots as a jazz singer.

"I'm going to be flanked by some of the greatest jazz entities in the country," she said.

The West Australian

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