Jazz Industry Legend Lynette Irwin Passes Away

11 March 2023 | 6:16 pm | Stephen Green

Artistic director of Women's International Jazz Festival and founder of Jazz Queensland loses her battle with cancer.

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Australia's jazz community is in mourning today after the sad passing of industry legend Lynette Irwin. Irwin has been one of the country's strongest advocates for jazz and improvised music, working tirelessly behind the scenes to promote Australian jazz to the world. 

Irwin was the founder of the Brisbane International Jazz Festival as well as her own label Pinnacles Music which released music for dozens of artists across two decades including Rafael Karlen, Sean Foran, and Kristin Beraldi. 

She founded Jazz Queensland in 1983 to further the international and domestic aspirations of jazz musicians across the state and create opportunities from international showcasing through to local jam nights. Upon receiving an award from the organisation in 2013 for her service, Lynette described her experience as a ‘real journey’, citing some fantastic opportunities to present ‘lovely people’ such as Kurt Elling, Dewey Redman, Steve Lacey, Mike Nock, Paul Grabowsky, Vince Jones, and Ernie Watts to name a few.

An in-demand artistic director and fierce advocate for women in music, Irwin was also a driving force behind the Melbourne Women's International Jazz Festival and was a mentor for hundreds of musicians over her four decades of service to the industry. 

Iriwn was also a long-time board member and secretary of QMusic and was part of the board responsible for the creation and growth of the BIGSOUND industry conference. 

A conduit for artist collaboration, a serial promoter of shows across the country and a character never easily forgotten, Irwin's dedication to the service of artists will be missed, particularly in her home state of Queensland. 

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