Too Many Zooz

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Mandla Mlangeni

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Facing South

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Renowned Cape Town acoustic duo, Facing South – guitarist David Ledbetter and vocalist Amanda Tiffin – teams up with visiting Brazilian maestro pianist/accordionist Guilherme Ribeiro and internationally acclaimed Dutch bassist Hein van de Geyn to present cross-cultural, acoustic magic.

The quartet performs a selection of original material with a cross-cultural flavour, with compositions and collaborations from all members of the ensemble. The music is featured on their upcoming album release, recorded in Cape Town.

Voice: Amanda Tiffin
Accordion: Guilherme Ribeiro (BR)
Guitar: David Ledbetter
Bass: Hein van de Geyn

Coco Zhao & Huang Juanji and Asanda Mqiki

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Once a student of western classical piano and composition at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Coco Zhao discovered a new world in jazz vocals and has since been immersed in finding the unique cross-sections between Chinese traditional music, western classical music and jazz.

His unique voice, imagination and expressive singing style have made him one of China’s most creative artists and, dubbed “China’s most promising young Jazz musician”, by Youth Daily, his fast rise to international recognition has seen him receive invitations to music festivals worldwide.

Here he presents his “[Dream Situation]” album: a project of rearranged 1920 – 1930’s traditional Shanghai songs brilliantly reworked into a contemporary jazz framework and with the addition of a South African angle.

Touring with him is pianist Huang Juanji – the first Master’s graduate in Jazz from the Shanghai Conservatory and one of the most cosmopolitan jazz musicians presently based in Shanghai.

Company: Standard Bank Jazz Festival

Voice: Coco Zhou (CN)
Voice: Asanda Mqiki
Sax: Mthunzi Mvubu
Piano: Huang Juanji (CN)
Bass: Romy Brauteseth
Drums: Bruce Baker

Bombshelter Beast

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Bombshelter Beast is one of Marcus Wyatt’s latest projects – unconventional, skillful and wonderfully entertaining. This star-studded ensemble combines old-school Kwaito with House, Drum n’ Bass, Dancehall, Dub, Ska, Balkan, Boeremusiek, Hip Hop, Ghoema, Rock, and sneaky bits of Jazz – all laced together with singing, rapping and live improvisations.

Company: Standard Bank Jazz Festival

Trumpet: Marcus Wyatt
Deone Song, Mihi Matshingana
Sisonke Xonti, Janus van der Merwe
Trombone, accordion: 
Justin Sasman
Murray Buitendag
Alex Hitzeroth
Michael Bester
Romy Brauteseth
Riaan van Rensburg

Standard Bank Jazz Festival 2018 #jazztown

The who’s who of jazz are in Grahamstown for the 31st Standard Bank Jazz Festival, which runs concurrently to the National Arts Festival.

Classics from the great pool of hip-hop and soul music genius are given a jazz treatment by the Rebirth of Cool led by pianist Thandi Ntuli, this year’s Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz, and DJ Kenzhero.

The lofty legacy of historic band the Blue Notes will be revisited with dexterous musical adoration by the star-studded Blue Notes Tribute Orchestra, led by trumpeter Marcus Wyatt. 

Award-winning writer Percy Mabandu will lead an interdisciplinary performance to mark the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Yakhal’inkomo,the historic record released in 1968 by the late saxophonist, Winston Mankunku Ngozi. The project will bring together literature with the masterful jazz musicianship of Andile Yenana, Shane Cooper, Ayanda Sikade, Linda Sikhakhane and Sisonke Xonti.

The Jazz Festival is going to be a rare feast for jazz piano enthusiasts too. Pianist and composer SBYA Thandi Ntuli will showcase music from her new genre-defying album, EXILE on Friday 29 June at DSG Hall.  The inimitable Andile Yenana’s sextet Umnqgonqgo Wabantu will ascend the DSG Hall stage on Sunday 1 July. The band will include both the best SA and Swiss players such as bassist Christoph King-Utzinger and drummer Michi Stulz on the rhythm section and a local hornline that includes Wyatt and Sikhakhane.The late, great John Coltrane devotee, American saxophonist Michael Brecker will have his music reimagined by a band led by Norwegian saxophonist Petter Wettre in a project titled, “Don’t Try This at Home – A Tribute to Michael Brecker”. Well-known American pianist Aaron Goldberg, who has toured the world with Joshua Redman for the past two decades, will be bringing his trio to Africa for the first time.

In what is perhaps one of the longest-running musical partnerships in our history, saxophonist McCoy Mrubata and pianist Paul Hanmer will give a performance that reflects their influences on each other in celebration of 30 years of collaboration.

On Friday 29 June at the DSG Hall, American composer and pianist Aaron Goldberg will lead his trio with Matt Penman (NZ), bass and Leon Parker (US) on drums and percussions. Afrika Mkhize will be on stage with Zenzi Makeba Lee and Amanda Tiffin as they break new ground with their collaboration on Saturday 30 June. SBYA alumnus and visionary pianist Nduduzo Makhathini will also set the piano on fire when he plays music from his latest album Ikhambi on Wednesday 4 July.

In keeping with the jazz festival’s focus on youth development and education, this year will mark 30 years of jazz education from Mike Campbell. The renowned bassist guitarist and professor was the founding head of the UCT Jazz School, which has produced a lion’s share of young professional jazz musicians that has included the likes of Marcus Wyatt and Buddy Wells. He will present the UCT Big Band at the DSG Auditorium of Thursday 28 June.

Read the full media release on the National Arts Festival’s website