The Standard Bank Jazz Festival, Grahamstown 2014, incorporates a variety of disciplines into its programme. Blues/Funk/World Music is one of the exciting genres that will be showcased at the festival this year. It is just one part of the exceptional programme which includes Mainstream, Afro-Jazz, Modern Jazz, Youth and the Standard Bank Jazz and Blues Café.
Collaborations and explorations are the unofficial threads that tie this category together, so it is fitting that this year’s festival sees guitar gurus Dan Patlansky and Albert Frost teaming up for an unmissable collaboration. Albert is one of the most versatile, accomplished and talented guitarists in South Africa. He’s enjoyed success in the blues genre through bands like the Blues Broers and as a solo artist. Together with Arno Carstens, Alberts brought out two SAMA-winning rock albums. An incredible live performer, he has played at every major music festival in the country including Splashy Fen, Oppikoppi, KKNK, Aardklop, and is a regular performer at the National Arts Festival, having won the only Gold 2013 Standard Bank Ovation Award for his Fringe appearance. Dan Patlansky is a remarkably talented guitarist – a blues phenomenon – who is already earning himself lofty titles and accolades for his startling handling of a six-string Fender Stratocaster, and his inspired partnerships – including his sold out performance with Karen Zoid at the festival in 2013. This collaborative performance is a must-see in an outstanding programme.
The marimba is a quintessentially African instrument; though uncommon in jazz, one musician who has crossed that boundary with ease is internationally acclaimed chromatic marimba player and percussionist Bongani Sotshononda. For over two decades, Bongani has been responsible for presenting a beautiful fusion of African jazz and world music around the globe, including collaborations with vibraphonists Stephon Harris (New York), Pascal Schumacher (Belgium) and Magda de Vries and performances with the Brubeck Brothers and Morris Goldberg. With a band drawn from South Africa, Congo and Mozambique – including Sisonke Xonti (sax), Bhekumuzi Mkhuane (clarinet/sax), Nelson Malela (piano – CD), Sylvain Dalubeta (bass – CD), Teshito Langa (drums) – this really is a United Nations of African musicians on Grahamstown’s stage.
The Saturday Night Funk Party – drawn from two popular Cape Town ska-jazz bands, The Rudimentals and Golliwog – will entertain with their soulful blues, groovy rhythms and infectious funky melodies. Including Dan Shout (sax), Justin Bellairs (sax), Lee Thomson (trumpet), Gorm Helfjord (guitar), Bokani Dyer (piano), Romy Brauteseth (bass), Kesivan Naidoo (drums), Tlali Makhene (percussion), Farrel Adams (MC/rap) and Teboho Maidza (MC/rap), this is a crowd-pleaser that promises to be a night of foot-stomping funk!
Cape Town guitarist, poet, rapper and social activist, Jitsvinger is expanding the restrictive boundaries that divide musical genres. His debut album, Skeletsleutel, was released in 2006 and his performance credits a range from social awareness campaigns to schools to serious jazz clubs. He will be teaming up with beat-maker and popular Hip-Hop producer Arsenic on the decks for this festival programme.
Plus, audiences can look forward to the triumphant return of the Blue Broers – including Albert Frost (guitar), Dan Shout (sax), Rob Nagel (bass/harmonica), Simon Orange (keyboards), Jonno Sweetman (drums) and guests. One of South Africa’s top Blues acts, they have re-emerged after a decade-long break to crank out feel-good music in their trademark black suits and dark glasses.
Saxophonist Ivan Mazuze is one of the many strong young Mozambican musicians who have emerged from the cultural melting pot of Maputo. His music reflects the best of southern Africa’s contemporary jazz sounds, with its rhythmical percussiveness, jazz harmonization and the use of vocals together with saxophone creating a unique Afro-World sound. A decade ago he was a student attending the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival; now he returns with his own music and his own band.
A new Jazz Festival venue – the Standard Bank Jazz Blues Cafe at St. Aidan’s – will offer a great jazz show every night at 21.30 with a 23.30 jazz jam session where professional and student musicians drawn from across the Jazz genres will be jamming, improvising and letting loose late into the night.
The 40th edition of the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown will take place 3 – 13 July 2014. For more information check www.standardbankarts.co.za or www.youthjazz.co.za
Author: Fiona Gordon
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