The Jazz Social

Jazz performance during COVID


  • Leigh Carriage Southern Cross University
  • Toby Wren SAE Creative Media Institute



collaboration, Jazz, improvisation, performance


The Jazz Social was an online virtual jazz club which started during the first shutdowns for COVID in Australia from April to July 2020, now archived as ten videos on The Jazz Social YouTube channel. It was designed as an opportunity for musicians to perform and make up lost income when gigs disappeared overnight. The venture was arguably successful for a virtual jazz club: it employed 47 musicians, paying on average $116AUD for each performance; and each gig reached an average of 340 people, a considerably larger audience than a typical face-to-face jazz performance would attract. The Jazz Social gigs also brought together geographically diverse musicians and provided a platform for them to share music and discuss their experiences. With an understanding that Australia is entering a ‘new COVID normal environment’ which may have ongoing implications for face-to-face performance practice, this article reflects on what The Jazz Social has revealed about the nature of jazz performance, collaboration, community, virtuality, and the limitations and affordances of new technologies in producing knowledge through improvisation.

Author Biographies

Leigh Carriage, Southern Cross University

Dr Leigh Carriage is a Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Music at Southern Cross University. She completed her PhD Doctorate in Philosophy (Composition) at Sydney Conservatorium of Music focusing on identifying the dialectic interactions—the collaborative inputs—in composing, lyric writing, rehearsing and recording. Her album Mandarin Skyline was nominated for a National Australian Jazz Bell Award and her album Weave won NCEIA Best Album of the Year award.

Toby Wren, SAE Creative Media Institute

Dr Toby Wren is a composer and guitarist living in Brisbane, Australia. He has released seven albums of his original compositions with various ensembles. His PhD examined improvisation in intercultural contexts based on his work with master musicians of the Carnatic tradition. Toby supervises creative research at SAE Creative Media Institute and teaches jazz guitar at the Queensland Conservatorium – Griffith University.


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Online live performance platform links



How to Cite

Carriage, L. ., & Wren, T. . (2021). The Jazz Social: Jazz performance during COVID. Perfect Beat, 21(2), 159–164.