Our Story

The Sydney Improvised Music Association Inc. (SIMA) is a not-for -profit incorporated association. Established in 1984 to address the lack of performance opportunities for contemporary jazz and improvised music, today we are one of the largest organisations in Australia dedicated solely to the sector.

In addition to championing veteran artists of importance, such as Bernie McGann and Judy Bailey, SIMA has consistently encouraged younger players to develop their voice. Its artist development and education initiatives provide professional opportunities to perform original music and commissioning opportunities.

Our first presentation in 1985, ‘States of the Art’ at The Basement for Sydney Festival attracted full houses and gave us the confidence and kudos to cover more ambitious plans.  Since its inception SIMA has used several performance spaces, including Strawberry Hills Hotel and the Side-On Café. Our current resident venue is at the Seymour Centre’s Sound Lounge.

While maintaining an unstinting commitment to Sydney’s music culture, SIMA has embraced and celebrated the international nature of jazz, presenting and touring many important overseas artists from North America and Europe, including Dewey Redman, Geri Allen, Andrew Hill, Steve Lacy, James Carter, Oliver Lake and Horace Tapscott, Joshua Redman, Terri Lyne Carrington and Bill Frisell.

Local musicians often perform with these significant figures, occasions that sometimes had the unintended consequence of emphasising their own originality and prowess.

SIMA has also regularly presented adventurous ensembles from other parts of the country and fostered good working relationships with organisations, such as the Melbourne Jazz Co-op and International Jazz Festival, Western Australasian Youth Jazz Orchestra, Jazz QLD, Jazz SA, Jazz WA, Wangratta Festival of Jazz and Blues and C.O.M.A.

SIMA’s success is due in large part to the unstinting and visionary contribution of Peter Rechniewski, who founded the organisation and served as artistic director until 2012 and the commitment of its Committee, volunteers and long-standing staff members.