Standard Bank’s long association with jazz in Grahamstown goes back to 1998 when it first sponsored the Festival jazz programme. Since then it has become increasingly considered the best jazz programme on the continent if one is looking for a barometer of South African jazz. It is a place where musicians from all over the world come together to play music together and share their talents with up-and-coming youth jazz musicians in the unique educational workshops that also take place during the festival.
“Standard Bank is committed to supporting the arts and views the Jazz Festival as a key component of its sponsorship strategy. We particularly support jazz development amongst the youth”, says Hazel Chimhandamba Senior Manager Group Sponsorships.
The Standard Bank Jazz Festival, Grahamstown incorporates a variety of jazz styles into their programme with features such as Mainstream, Blues / Funk / World Music, Afro-Jazz, Modern Jazz and Youth. Running alongside this programme is the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival.
Mainstream performances will be headlined by multi Grammy award winning composer, conductor and performer Maria Schneider who – a treat for local Jazz fans – will be performing in South Africa for the first time at the National Arts Festival in 2014. She is a compelling musical force whose music brims with depth, power and intrigue and who has influenced the direction of modern Jazz. She will be supported by a Jazz Orchestra that combines South African and Norwegian musicians in an exchange supported by East Norway Jazz Centre and Concerts SA.
This year also heralds 30 years of sponsorship of the Standard Bank Young Artist Awards by stalwart arts patron and corporate citizen Standard Bank. Singstruments: A Symphony of Jazz brings together five of South Africa’s musical gems, all of whom have been Young Artist Award winners for Jazz, for a remarkable performance. Vocalists Sibongile Khumalo, Gloria Bosman, Tutu Puoane and Melanie Scholtz produce a beautiful bouquet of harmonies, sonorous melodies and jazz classics that indicate why they are regarded as being of our nation’s finest singers. Accompanying them on piano is Bokani Dyer.
Other Mainstream performances include those by South African songbird Melanie Scholtz who will be performing tracks from her latest album ‘Our Time’ accompanied, amongst others, by fellow Standard Bank Young Artist Bokani Dyer (piano); Greek saxophonist Dimos Dimitriadis – Associate Professor of Saxophone and Head of Jazz at the Ionian University in Corfu, the first academic position given to a jazz musician in his country; a Saxophone Quartet featuring Gary Keller – professor at Miami University’s Frost School of Music where he leads the Miami Saxophone Quartet – and local talent Justin Bellairs, Marc de Kock and Mike Rossi (American-born professor of Woodwind Studies at UCT); as well as vocalists Babalwa Mentjies and Nomfundo Xaluva – daughters of Grahamstown making triumphant returns as accomplished Jazz musicians.
Collaborations and explorations are the unofficial theme of the Blues / Funk / World Music category, under which guitar gurus Dan Patlansky and Albert Frost team up for an unmissable collaboration; internationally acclaimed chromatic marimba player and percussionist Bongani Sotshononda takes marimba down a jazzy path; the Saturday Night Funk Party – drawn from two popular Cape Town ska-jazz bands, The Rudimentals and Golliwog – are back with their soulful blues, groovy rhythms and infectious funky melodies; Cape Town guitarist, poet, rapper and social activist Jitsvinger teams up with beat-maker and popular Hip-Hop producer Arsenic on the decks. 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.
Headliner for the Afro-Jazz portion of the programme is none other than Hugh Masekela – world-renowned flugelhornist, trumpeter, bandleader, composer, singer and political voice, with an international career spanning over 50 years and 40 albums to his name. Multi-platinum award-winning South African singer/songwriter Lira will be performing her signature fusion of soul and funk with elements of jazz and African music. SAMA winner and well-loved guitarist Jimmy Dludlu will be entertaining Grahamstown supported by Sisonke Xonti, Camillo Lombard, Lucas Khumalo, Anthon Mannel, John Hassan and Thomas Dyani. A special international Festival Big Band pays tribute to some of the greats of South African jazz: Nick Smart – Head of the Jazz Department of the Royal Academy of Music in London – conducts this all-star band of professionals from South Africa and five other countries including Tutu Puoane, Pekka Pylkkänen, Marc de Kock, Gary Keller, Mike Rossi, Justin Bellairs, Sydney Mavundla, Lee Thomson, Sakhile Simani, Bertil Strandberg, Justin Sasman, Kyle du Preez, Siya Charles, Mageshen Naidoo, Ewout Pierreux, Rich Syracuse and Jeff Siegel.
Other performances in Afro-Jazz include Themba Mkhize, Adam Glasser and trumpeter Feya Faku – to name a few.
Capetonian pianist, saxophonist, composer and band leader Kyle Shepherd is the 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner (SBYA) for Jazz. Ten years ago this prodigiously talented young man performed in Grahamstown as a member of the Standard Bank National Schools Big Band; now he stands on that same stage on the cusp of a career that promises to be significant for South African jazz. He will be performing his music in two separate shows the Kyle Shepherd Quintet with Buddy Wells (sax), Feya Faku (trumpet), Shane Cooper (bass), Claude Cozens (drums) and the Kyle Shepherd Trio with Shane Cooper (bass), Jonno Sweetman (drums).
Five past SBYA winners team up to show how South African jazz can hold its own in any international arena. Each has an impressive local and international pedigree that can make us proud as a nation: Shannon Mowday (sax), Mark Fransman (sax), Afrika Mkhize (piano), Shane Cooper (bass) and Kesivan Naidoo (drums).
The Modern Jazz programme also includes performances from South African jazz icon Louis Moholo-Moholo, a founding member of the legendary band ‘The Blue Notes’, who performs for the first time in Grahamstown; Soul’ Afrique, an 8-piece ensemble featuring Dutch alto saxophonist and composer Paul van Kemenade and renowned South African musicians Feya Faku (trumpet), Sydney Mnisi (sax) and Louis Mhlanga (guitar/vocals); and many more.
Individual members of the ground-breaking Norwegian Big Band Ensemble Denada have performed in Grahamstown in the past, but we have finally managed to get the whole band here! The band is led by trombonist Helge Sunde – a brilliant composer and arranger with a string of awards to his name. Their music is comprised of equal portions of electronics, lyrical grace and precisely executed groove-work, along with a high level of sound development and balance of moods, melodic variety and arranging ingenuity.
Last in Grahamstown in 1998, Austrian Jazz professor Karlheinz Miklin – an internationally recognised saxophonist, educator and composer – has specialised in playing jazz trio in a variety of formats on different continents and assorted instrumentations. He returns with a Dutch bass master and South Africa’s most fiery drummer, Hein van de Geyn and Kesivan Naidoo respectively.
Professional and student musicians will also be letting off steam and butting musical heads late into the night at the Jazz Jams.
The Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band presents a selection of the top young jazz musicians in the country between the ages of 19 and 25 years. This year the band is under the musical direction of South African pianist, saxophonist, composer, arranger and producer Mark Fransman. The Standard Bank National Schools’ Big Band consists of the top young jazz musicians in the country up to the age of 18 years. Under the musical direction of Prof Mike Campbell – Head of Jazz Studies at UCT and renowned Big Band conductor – the band performs material worked on over the five days of the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival. A celebration of school and university jazz choirs and vocal soloists from around the country, directed by top professional vocalists Melanie Scholtz and Katharine Cartwright, takes place on the final evening of the SBNYJF.
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.
For more information on the Jazz, check www.standardbankarts.co.za or www.youthjazz.co.za.
The 40th edition of the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown will take place 3 – 13 July 2014. The Festival programme is now available for download from the Festival’s website, or for collection from selected Standard Bank and Exclusive
Books branches. Booking has opened via the Festival’s website www.nationalartsfestival.co.za, Call Centre: 0860 002 004, Fax: 086 233 2122, or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Fiona Gordon
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Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/2014/05/jazz-greats-grace-grahamstown/