Few things are more civilised than sitting down to a relaxing high tea on a Sunday afternoon – except maybe enjoying high tea with jazz.
Up in the elegant Pavilion Room of the Arts Centre Melbourne – it’s on the 8th floor and enjoys a gorgeous view from its sweeping balcony – the first Sunday of the month will be devoted to this elegant pursuit.
Choose a glass of champagne or orange juice as you enter then take your seats at one of the circular tables set out with afternoon delights. Ribbon sandwiches are sure to feature, alongside petit fours, scones with jam and cream, possibly some miniature éclairs and probably some hand-made gourmet savouries such a mini pies or sausage rolls.
For $600 you can book your own table for up to eight, or you can enjoy meeting other jazz lovers at a share table.
Smartly dressed staff glide around the room serving freshly made tea and coffee, and you can order more champagne or sparkling mineral water if you choose. My only bugbear was the tightly packed tables causing staff to kick my chair every five minutes; not their fault but annoying once the music starts.
The delightful Ali McGregor distracted everyone from their food in April, captivating the audience with her classically trained voice that reveals its sassy side when directed to jazz and blues.
With breathtaking dymanics and perfect control, she and pianists Sam Keevers bewitched the room with a collection of classics from her Jazz Cigarette show, ranging from standards such Ain’t Misbehavin’ to love songs by Gershwin and Cole Porter, favourites from Sarah Vaughan and even a mash-up of Cry Me A River combining Ella Fitzgerald’s masterpiece with the Justin Timberlake song of the same name.
She shares glorious anecdotes from masterclasses with heroines such as Cleo Laine (for whom she performed Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered) and teases jazz-obsessed James Morrison for being blissfully unaware of the Britney Spears song Ooops I Did it Again, which she also jazzes up to hilarious effect.
This June McGregor again shares artistic directorship of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival with Eddie Perfect, a role she juggles around being mum-on-tour with husband Adam Hills and their two children when his work takes him to England, so catch her in Melbourne while you have the chance (she hosts the Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night at the Spiegeltent in front of the Arts Centre until April 9).
Future acts for the ACM Jazz High Teas include Nina Ferro on May 7, Alinta and the Jazz Emperors in June, Michael Griffiths in July and Nostalgique featuring Tamara Kuldin in August. There will also be a family-friendly high tea in July featuring the Teeny Tiny Stevies.
Arts Centre Melbourne in association with Linda Catalano presents
Jazz High Tea
Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, The Pavilion
Dates: First Sunday every month – March to December 2017
Times: 12pm and 4pm
Tickets: $85 ($75) $600 for a whole table
Bookings: artscentremelbourne.com.au | 1300 182 183