Expect the unexpected when the Melbourne International Jazz Festival (June 1-10) brings some of the best emerging musical talent to the west.

DJ, radio presenter and event curator MzRizk has hopped aboard as the Jazz Out West guest programmer, promising an eclectic range of free events across Maribyrnong and Moonee Valley.

MzRizk, who grew up in the west, said her line-up was inspired by Miles Davis’ suggestion that he didn’t like the word jazz.

“He considered it ‘social music’. Jazz is a lot broader than people perceive it to be, it comes from a very long history of blackness and politics,” she said.

“The artists I chose bring a lot of soul and passion to their work.”

New Flower Garden guitarist Kyran said while the acts may not instantly be recognisable to people thinking of traditional notions of jazz, they draw on the form in different ways.

“I think there are common threads, we all cross into each other’s worlds.”

N’Fa Jones of Afro-funk outfit Cool Out Sun said it was great to be bringing gigs to the west as part of such a well-recognised festival.

“There’s a lot of talent from out this way,” he said.

“We often perform in the north or central, it’s nice to be able to bring some music out here.”

Singer-songwriter Thando said the festival’s free events open music up to audiences who might otherwise not be able to access the arts.

“I hope it encourages a lot more patrons of colour to come out and enjoy the live music scene that is here.”

The 10-day festival will offer 100 events with more than 400 Australian, international and emerging artists in 26 venues across Melbourne, including Littlefoot Bar, Bluestone Church Arts Space, The Line and The Substation.

Details: www.melbournejazz.com