-Jonas Gwangwa (SA) visit artist website
It would be difficult to find a more accomplished and versatile jazz musician than Jonas Mosa Gwangwa. This South African paragon has thrilled audiences around the world with his artistry as a trombonist/composer and all around creative genius. The span of his musical career and the range of his accomplishments, make it difficult to categorise his talents.
A product of the turbulent but musically significant 1950’s, Gwangwa emerged from the humble environs of Orlando East in Soweto to electrify the famous Sophiatown music scene. In spite of the restrictions of the time, he blazed a fiery path in South Africa by establishing and playing with virtually every important band of the era.
A prolific composer, Gwangwa also joined forces with George Fenton to create the original score and theme song for Richard Attenborough’s film, "Cry Freedom". The score achieved Oscar, Grammy Bafta, Golden Globe and Anthony Asquith award nominations and won Ivor Novello and Black Emmy Awards.
-The Soil (SA) visit artist website
The Soil is a ‘four’ member acapella singing group whose music can best be described as ‘Kasi Soul’. The first member of the group exists in a spiritual form as The Creator of all, while the other three members of the group take a physical form in the shapes of: Buhle Mda; Luphindo Ngxanga, and Ntsika Fana Ngxanga.
Serving as mediums for the songs they believe are channelled to them, The Soil’s music features (in a contemporary township style), an eclectic mix of musical genres such as jazz, hip hop, Afro-pop and Afro-soul). The group’s musical style is evident in its rhythmic vocal bass line, with constant beat boxing - a distinct feature in the music - whilst the remaining voices contribute to the choral and polyphonic accompaniment.
Since the release of their debut Album they have won Best Soul artist for SATMA awards 2012; been nominated for The Best Group at the Channel O music video awards 2013 for their video “Iinkomo” ft Zakwe; appointed Ambassadors of 46664 fashion brand while the song ‘Sedilaka is featured as a soundtrack on the movie titled Dark Tide staring Halle Berry. Their international credits include performances this year at the Africa Now festival, Apollo theatre Music Cafe in New York, the Edinburgh Festival, Scotland, and have just returned from Los Angeles.
-Jimmy Nevis – (SA) visit artist website
Jimmy Nevis is a 21 year old alternative pop singer/songwriter and producer. Nevis released his debut album entitled "Subliminal" in November 2012 and is still riding the airways with hit singles such as: Elephant Shoes, Heartboxing, In Love With You and Balloon with the Heartboxing video reaching number 1 on the TRACE Urban African Chart in early 2013.
In April 2013 Jimmy Nevis joined global chart topping acts: Steve Aoki, Deadmau5, Benny Benassi, Alyssa Reid & Kaskade with the signing of an exclusive deal with American record label Ultra Records for distribution in the USA.
-Shane Cooper (SA) visit artist website
Shane Cooper is a bassist and composer from Cape Town. He creates music that has been dubbed as “powerful, not overbearing but accessible” and has been summed up as innovative and polished. In August 2013 he launched his new album 'Oscillations' which featured Bokani Dyer (piano), Kesivan Naidoo (drums), Reza Khota (guitar), Justin Bellairs (alto saxophone), Buddy Wells (tenor saxophone) which was co-produced by Carlo Mombelli.
In 2013, Shane was selected as the Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz and when he appears at the CTIJF in 2014, audiences can appreciate exactly why. In previous years Shane has worked as a member of the bands Babu, Restless Natives, and Closet Snare and as a sideman for artists such as Zim Ngqawana, Feya Faku, Louis Moholo-Moholo, Malcolm Braff and others.
-Carmen Lundy (USA)
Spanning a career of over three decades Carmen Lundy is celebrated throughout the world for her vocal artistry and is highly regarded for her jazz innovation. Carmen is considered as a “classic jazz singer, not retro, but the real deal with an adventurous style and imposing voice” which has led to several Grammy nominations, top ten albums and a number three spot on Billboard’s Jazz chart for 23 weeks with her debut album “Good Morning Kiss”. She has numerous other awards and recognitions including the City of Miami proclaiming 25 January as Carmen Lundy Day. Carmen’s far-reaching discography (12 albums), also includes performances and recordings with some of the jazz world’s best known musicians. As a composer, Carmen’s catalogue numbers over 80 published songs, one of the few jazz vocalists in history to accomplish such a distinction. Her songs have been recorded by such artists as Kenny Barron ("Quiet Times"), Ernie Watts ("At The end of my Rope"), and Straight Ahead ("Never Gonna Let You Go"). She is also a celebrated mixed media artist and painter, and her works have been exhibited in New York at The Jazz Gallery in Soho, at The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles, and at a month-long exhibition at the Madrid Theatre in Los Angeles, CA.
Taking notice of the unmistakable voice of Reason, the South African rapper is actively and enthusiastically engaging audiences with his lyrical dexterity. Only a short seven years ago, Reason (born Sizwe Moeketsi) was delivering jingles for DJ Fresh’s wildly popular Unrestricted Breakfast Show and battling it out in rap encounters on the Johannesburg underground Hip-Hop scene.
His current album Audio 3D, wholly and honestly encompasses the full range of his 26 years of experience as a lyricist, an artist, a lover, a son, a man, a human… whose story is told by Sizwe’s alter ego, Reason.
In 2012, Reason performed Walk On Water, for the motion picture soundtrack for the multiple international award-winning South African film Otelo Burning. The song also appears as a hidden track on Audio 3D. Following this success was a Number 1 hit with Do It Like I Can, the album’s lead single.
-Ological Studies – (SA) visit artist website
An awarding winning band founded by Sibusiso Dlamini (piano) and Phumlani Mtiti (saxophone) in 2008, while they were both studying Jazz at the University of Cape Town. Ological Studies’ African Jazz sound is a fusion of free jazz, gospel, funk and R&B. The band members use their music to encourage discovery of purpose through a high level study of self, carried on a raft of musical notes.
Ological Studies band members have worked with, and performed alongside, prominent South African artists such as Selaelo Selota and the late legendary Zim Ngqawana. Stylistically Ological Studies’ African Jazz consists of vibrant musical elements such as Jazz, Gospel and Funk which are evident in their debut album entitled Free-Dom released in 2010.
-Jaco Maria – the Storyteller (MOZ) visit artist website
From a young age, Jaco Maria has entertained. His background and experience is evident in his wide repertoire, which includes traditional African standards, Jazz, Afro-Pop, alternative and even Funk. Whatever genre he chooses, Jaco’s music is always loaded with touches of Guitonga, SiSwati, Mozambican, Brazilian and Cape rhythms and melodies and his performances are energetic and enthusiastic which is why he returns to the CTIJF by popular request. In the 80’s Jaco was the lead vocalist of 80’s super group OZILA, popular for the chart-bursting hit, IM Suffering. He was also the front man for Loading Zone, a band signed by Universal Records. He has also shared the stage with Papa Wemba, Allou April, Jimmy Dludlu and Miriam Makeba, for whom he sang as a backing vocalist. He currently has two albums - LIFE AGAIN, published in 2000 and a vibrant second album Storyteller released in 2013. He has also featured on several albums by fellow musicians – Jimmy Dludlu, Tucan Tucan, Allou April, Moreira CHONGUICA and his daughter, WANDA BALOYI.
-Erykah Badu (USA) visit artist website
Born Erica Wright in Dallas, Texas, she changed her name to Erykah Badu- kah” being Kemetic (Egyptian) for a human’s vital energy or “inner-self” and “ba-du” after her favorite jazz scat-sound. From an early age, Badu knew she wanted to bring people to their feet and with her Neo Soul sound has been doing so for many years.
Badu’s groundbreaking debut, 1997’s Baduizm, was more than just an album, it was the introduction of a new lifestyle. The music evoked speakeasies, incense, head wraps, and boho coffee shop culture all in one easy breath. Propelled by the lead single “On & On,” the album went multi-platinum, winning her two Grammys for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Album. Badu topped Rolling Stone’s Reader’s poll for Best R&B Artist, and Entertainment Weekly named her Best New Female Singer of 1997.
Her subsequent albums have all had similar results.. For the once self-proclaimed “analog girl,” Badu is now pushing the limits of the digital world. In 2010, Badu announced New Amerykah Part Two: Return of The Ankh. Whereas Part One was social and political in tone, Part Two taps into the more romantic and emotional side of Badu.
Diehard fans of Badu will love New Amerykah Part Two: Return Of The Ankh and newcomers to Badu’s world will be curiously intrigued by the mystique and authenticity of an artist who is totally comfortable in her own skin. Whether directing a dope music video or exposing her vulnerabilities in rhyme, Badu transcends image.
-Soul Housing Project (SA) visit artist website
One of the Cape’s most exciting bands, Soul Housing Project (SHP), is a five-piece multinational band based in Cape Town. Originally founded in 2007 by Bokani Dyer and Sakhile Moleshe, SHP’s music reflects their international, southern African and urban Cape Town influences: rich, warm vocals, layered with a touch of that classic soul sound, topped with accents of hip-hop, jazz, house and drum & bass.
The band is led by Sakhile Moleshe with his “unmistakably magnificent voice” and Bokani Dyer on the keys and synths. Soul Housing Project is completed by Eugene “Mr. Grooves” Ackerman on bass, Al “Dirt” du Toit on guitar and Congolese drum maestro Kissangwa Mbouta. Over the years, the band has built a solid audience base appreciative of their original compositions, rich harmonies, soothing melodies and enlightening lyrics. Their dynamic stage presence will shortly be captured in the band’s first full-length album, due out soon.
-Hiatus Kaiyote (Aus) visit artist website
The sound of serendipity - Every so often a band comes along that captures the collective imagination, a band that has all the essential elements in place to become a musical movement. The music of Hiatus Kaiyote is one such band that strikes the perfect note, merging poetry and polyrhythms.
Singer songwriter Nai Palm, the gravitational force that crystallized the vision for Hiatus Kaiyote; bass player Paul Bender; multi-instrumentalists Perrin Moss and keyboardist Simon Mavin – are the eclectic mix that make up this exciting Australian band. Greats like Questlove and Erykah Badu (one of the headliners at CTIJF 2014) have been known to promote them. Hiatus Kaiyote has a style that isn’t easily pinpointed. Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, Tupac Shakur, Flying Lotus, traditional flamenco and music from Mali and Colombia influence their sound, breaking preconceived barriers around music. At the core of their sound is an untethered quality that links them to the wide-open landscape of Australia which is sure to resonate with an African audience in 2014.
-Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet (USA) visit artist website
The winner of both the 2007 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and the 2007 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition, Akinmusire has proved himself one of the most vital and deft trumpeters of his generation. He was named Rising Star Jazz Artist and Rising Star Trumpet in DownBeat Magazine’s 2011 Critics Poll, graduating to Trumpet Player of the Year in 2012. He earned the same title in that year’s Jazz Journalists Association awards, as well as being awarded Germany’s ECHO Award as Instrumentalist of the Year, International Brass.
Akinmusire’s has produced two CDs, Prelude to Cora and When the Heart Emerges Glistening which topped critics’ lists including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Allmusic.com. The album earned Akinmusire France’s Grand Prix l’Academie du Jazz. Akinmusire’s main outlet is his quintet with drummer and childhood friend Justin Brown, bassist Harish Raghavan, saxophonist Walter Smith III, and pianist Sam Harris.
-The Foreign Exchange (USA) visit artist website
Consisting of Grammy nominated rapper/singer/songwriter Phonte and producer Nicolay, the Foreign Exchange came together via the online hip-hop community Okayplayer.com in 2002. After trading files through Instant Messenger for over a year, Nicolay (living in his native Holland at the time) and Phonte (a Raleigh, NC resident) completed their debut album before they ever met each other in person. The album, "Connected," was released in 2004 to positive reviews. Foreign Exchange blends R&B, Hip-Hop and Electronic sounds, as neither Phonte nor Nicolay think in genres and both hate to be boxed.
Their sophomore album, "Leave It All Behind" (2008) prompted a Grammy nomination for the album’s first single, “Daykeeper". Authenticity," released on October 12, 2010 on +FE Music, is The Foreign Exchange’s third album. Their latest album “Love in Flying Colours” was released in September 2013.
-Kenny Garrett Quintet(USA) visit artist website
Over the course of a stellar career that has spanned more than 30 years, Grammy Award winning saxophonist Kenny Garrett has become the preeminent alto saxophonist of his generation. From his first gig with the Duke Ellington Orchestra (led by Mercer Ellington) through his time spent with musicians such as Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis, Garrett has always brought a vigorous yet melodic, and truly distinctive, alto saxophone sound to each musical situation. As a bandleader for the last two decades, he has also continually grown as a composer.
Garrett has always expressed interest in music from other parts of the world. Whether it’s Africa, Greece, Indonesia, China or Guadeloupe, he immerses himself in the culture and gleans from his experience something that becomes a part of his artistic message. This has seen him presented with an Honorary Doctorate in Music from Berklee College of Music, a Soul Train Award, several Grammy nominations, a NAACP Image Award nomination, an Echo Award and in September 2013, won a Downbeat Readers Poll for the second consecutive year bringing the total number of wins in the Alto Saxophone category to 8.
-Chris Dave and the Drumhedz (US) visit artist website
Known as “probably the most dangerous drummer alive”, Chris Dave has been around the world and back, playing for and recording with some of music’s most established and iconic artists including: Adele, Maxwell, D’Angelo, Beyoncé , Kenny Garrett, Terrence Blanchard, Wynton Marsalis, Pat Metheny, Donald Brown, MF Doom, Bilal, Lupe Fiasco, Me’shell N’Degeocello and Lalah Hathaway
Mint Condition (Janet Jackson World Tour), Michelle Williams, Dianne Reeves, Sa Ra, Geri Allen, Yolanda Adams, Soulful Symphony, Reginald Veal and more.
Chris Dave eccentric approach to the drum set and his ability to adapt to any musical setting, makes him one of the most in-demand drummers of his generation - whether jazz, hip-hop or R&B. His open interpretations of rhythm and his ability to conform to each musical setting differently have led to many new opportunities and platforms for Chris Dave to show his evolution to the world. Recent projects include his contribution as the featured drummer on Adele’s Grammy nominated album 21 and Maxwell’s Grammy winning album BLACKsummers’ night.
-Rakesh Chaurasia and Friends (India) visit artist website
Nephew and child prodigy of flute maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Rakesh Chuarasia is an accomplished flautist in his own right. Chaurasia plays the simple yet extremely challenging instrument, the Bansuri (bamboo flute) with virtuoso acclaim. Blending tradition with his own personal and unique signature has seen him receive numerous awards and accolades, invitations to perform in Festivals around the world including joining Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, and Joshua Redman.
Rakesh's most recent venture is his fusion band Rakesh Chaurasia and Friends (RAF) which creates music that appeals to the young without sacrificing the essence of classical music. Rakesh Chaurasia is accompanied by Gino Banks (Drums), Satyajit Talwalkar (Tabla), Sheldon D’Silva (Bass Guitar), Sanjoy Das (Guitar) and Sangeet Haldipur (Keyboard/ Vocalist & Composer).
-Snarky Puppy – (USA) visit artist website
The once Texan, now New York-based quasi-collective has gone from the best-kept secret to one of the most respected names in instrumental music. Snarky Puppy seamlessly fuses a deep knowledge and respect for musical tradition with sonic and conceptual innovation in a way that is able to reach the most critical- or most carefree- audience. The convergence of musicians from white and black America, which occurred while the band was in its adolescence, has naturally established a system of balance that instantly draws listeners to the music- raw funk and sensitive dynamics, relentless pocket and lyrical melodicism, lush harmony and soulful simplicity, and most importantly, a delicate mixture of composition and improvisation. Snarky Puppy is a three-headed creature: first, and most obviously- an original music ensemble. Second- a production team and session band for individual artists. Third, and probably most importantly- Snarky Puppy is a group of musicians enthusiastically committed to music education and community outreach.
-Dr Philip Tabane and Malombo (SA)
Dubbed, an ‘ancestral jazz-rock god’, Philip Tabane is one of South Africa's longest-running and most respected and innovative jazz guitarists and band leaders, as well as a mentor to those who have been part of his percussion-based backing band Malombo. Active since the early sixties, he has toured internationally but remains based in his home country. He is the recipient of the South Africa Music Awards (SAMA) Lifetime Achievement Prize and in 1998 was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Philosophy of Music from the University of Venda. He defined the Malombo style of music and is still going strong and pulling the crowds as his musical influence continues to cross generations and cultures.
-The Muffinz (SA)
The band of five is making waves on the South African music scene. Crossing all cultural and musical boundaries, The Muffinz is the real deal – all members playing their instruments and all singing - blending soulful mastery with a fresh new take that is raw and honest in its appeal, combining many musical genres into one effortless unique sound. Formed officially in 2010 after winning a competition at Cool Runnings in Mellville, they went on to sign a record deal in April 2011, recoding their debut album at Jazzworx Studios and releasing to critical acclaim in May 2012. Wherever this talented quintet play they draw the crowds and build on their following. The CTIJF will be no exception.