Summarised Artist biographies.
Kirk Whalum “The Gospel According to Jazz Africa” Chapter I (USA)
Kirk Whalum will bring his much celebrated series “The Gospel According to Jazz” to Africa for the very first time. The tenor saxophonist has collaborated with industry greats such as Al Jarreau, Quincy Jones and Barbara Streisand and it is his passionate sound heard on Whitney Houston’s mega-hit, “I Will Always Love You”. His notable solo recordings include “All I Do”, featuring Wendy Moten, “I Wouldn’t Be A Man”, featuring Mike Reid and “Falling In Love With Jesus”, featuring Jonathan Butler. Kirk is the recipient of numerous awards and acknowledgements for his musical excellence and won his first Grammy award for Best Gospel Song “It’s What I Do”, featuring Lalah Hathaway. He recently recorded the next chapter in his series (Chapter IV) in New York to be released worldwide in September. He will preview some of those new songs as well as perform his anthems from the past.
Bokani Dyer & Kyle Shepherd (SA)
Bokani Dyer - comes from a musical family and at the age of 14 years took up formal piano studies which allowed him to be accepted into the Jazz program at the University of Cape Town where he graduated in 2008 with an Honours degree in Performance and Composition with distinction. In 2009 Bokani won a scholarship for further study in the SAMRO endowment piano competition, going to New York where he was tutored by Jason Moran., culminating in being recognized as the Standard Bank Young Artist award in 2011. Dyer has recorded two albums under his own name. His debut album, Mirrors was released in 2010, and provides a strong indication of the style and artistic trajectory Bokani continues to pursue. Emancipate the Story (2011), is a recording made possible by the Standard Bank as part of the jazz young artist award. He took first prize in the SAMRO Overseas Scholarship Competition in August 2013.Kyle Shepherd - is a much in demand, multi-award nominated virtuoso pianist, composer and band leader. He is recognised locally and abroad, as one of the most progressive Jazz composers and performers of his generation. The 26 year old has a well-established record of celebrated solo, trio and quartet performances on some of the world’s finest concert stages including Belgium, China, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Switzerland and The Netherlands. He has also released four albums which have been received with critical acclaim from an international audience. As a pianist, saxophonist and Xaru player (traditional mouth-bow) he has forged a unique compositional and performance concept that pays homage to all his musical influences and the many great musicians he has worked with. His unique sound allows him to look forward musically in a way, which, in the words of the South African Jazz writer and historian, Gwen Ansell, “live in the jazz world but never imprisoned by it”.
Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya (USA/SA)
Abdullah Ibrahim is one of South Africa’s most distinguished and world-respected master musicians. He was born in 1934 in Cape Town and baptized Adolph Johannes Brand. Strong childhood influences combined to produce a unique blend of the secular and the religious, the traditional and the modern to create his distinctive musical style. At 15, he debuted with local groups such as the Tuxedo Slickers and in 1958 he formed the Dollar Brand Trio. His ground-breaking septet the Jazz Epistles, formed in 1959 (with saxophonist Kippie Moeketsi, trumpeter Hugh Masekela, trombonist Jonas Gwanga, bassist Johnny Gertze and drummer Makaya Ntshoko), recorded the first jazz album by South African musicians. That same year, he met and performed with vocalist Sathima Bea Benjamin who he married six years later. Apartheid and unrest in South Africa led the couple and the band to Europe. In 1963, Duke Ellington presented the Dollar Brand Trio in a Paris recording session. This led to invitations to perform at festivals and on TV and radio before the couple moved to New York where Dollar Brand appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival. He received a Rockefeller Foundation grant to attend the Juilliard School of Music during which time he collaborated with many contemporary and progressive musicians. In 1968 and while searching for spiritual harmony, Dollar Brand returned to Cape Town, where he converted to Islam, taking the name Abdullah Ibrahim. After a couple of years in Swaziland, Abdullah and his young family returned in 1973 to Cape Town, though he still toured internationally with his own large and small groups, settling once again in New York in 1976 and now divides his time between South Africa and the US. He has toured the world extensively; been the subject of several documentaries; has a discography that runs to over 100 album credits, composed scores for films (including Chocolat). He has started a South African production company, Masingita (Miracle), and established a music academy, M7. Most recently, in 2006, he spearheaded the creation of the Cape Town Jazz Orchestra, an eighteen-piece big band. A Martial arts Black Belt with a lifelong interest in Zen philosophy, the recipient of many awards and honorary doctorates, spiritually strong as both teacher and disciple, Professor Abdullah Ibrahim really is a musical legend.Ekaya is the name of the ensemble that will accompany Ibrahim. Formed originally in the 1980’s, the line-up now includes: Cleave Guyton on Alto sax and flute; Lance Bryant on Tenor sax; Marshall McDonald on Baritone sax; Andrae Murchison on trombone; Noah Jackson on Bass and Will Terrill on drums.
Tizer Quintet (USA)
TIZER is a multi-cultural and award nominated band led by Boulder, Colarado native, keyboardist/composer Lao Tizer. Establishing themselves in the contemporary jazz world over the past few years, TIZER has spurred comparisons of a modern twist to the 70s and early 80s heyday of jazz fusion, when trailblazing ensembles like Return To Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report set the aesthetic standard. Their first studio album, Downbeat, is driven by an explosive mix of jazz, rock, classical and Afro Cuban and world rhythms, while their album TIZER Live captures the energy and enthusiasm of their live performances. Over the past few years, TIZER—a 2011 nominee for “Jazz Group of the Year”--has taken their multi-faceted world fusion vibe around the globe. TIZER has a multi-genre, multi-national appeal that expands beyond just jazz enthusiasts. Their diverse resume includes performance slots alongside Zappa Plays Zappa, Jethro Tull, Isaac Hayes, Al Jarreau, Spyro Gyra, George Benson, Soulive, Babyface, Bruce Hornsby and Robin Thicke.
The Mike Rossi Project: Trespassing Permitted (SA)
Mike Rossi is Professor of Jazz and Woodwinds at the South African College of Music, University of Cape Town, South Africa. Mike regularly performs at jazz festivals and conducts workshops and master-classes in Africa, Europe and the United States. Three of Rossi’s books have been published by Advance Music: Uncommon Bebop from Common Bebop Practices and Concepts; Uncommon Etudes from Common Scales (also in Japanese) and Contrast and Continuity in Jazz Improvisation. Advance Music has also published a number of Rossi’s original compositions arranged for mixed ensemble. His diverse recording credits include Impronte Mediterranee (Italy),The Wam Trio – Summer Ballads, featuring Mike Rossi (Italy), The Mike Rossi Project – Trespassing Permitted, Two And Four/To And Fro, For Lydia and the Lion, and Before It’s Too Late with the Darius Brubeck Quartet, Conceptions: UCT Jazz 2010, Jazz und Elektronik - Live at the Baxter, Twenty Fabulous Fingers, Common Ground with Micu Narunsky, and Two in One – Mike Rossi/Ulrich Suesse. His CD of original jazz compositions, Beauty and the Blues features jazz greats Rufus Reid, Tom McKinley and Billy Hart.Rossi is serving as President of SAJE (South African Association for Jazz Education) for a second term, following three terms as Secretary and is a member of JEN (Jazz Education Network) and IASJ (International Association of Schools of Jazz). He is a Rampone & Cazzani (makers of hand-made Italian saxophones) Saxophone Artist and; performs on the R1 Soprano, R1 Jazz Saxello, R1 Jazz Altello, R1 Jazz Alto and R1 Jazz Tenor.
The Blue Note Tribute Orkestra (SA)
The Blue Notes Tribute Orkestra was started to commemorate The Blue Notes, a legendary 60's South African jazz sextet. Once the musicians came together to rehearse they soon realised the importance of keeping the iconic sound of The Blue Notes’ alive which featured Chris McGregor on piano, Mongezi Feza on trumpet, Dudu Pukwana on alto saxophone, Nikele Moyake on tenor saxophone, Johnny Dyani on bass and Louis Moholo on drums. Most of these great musicians lived and died outside of their beloved country. The Tribute Orkestra endeavours to bring their music back to South African audiences and to keep the traditions of the free approach to South African Jazz alive, almost 50 years later. Today’s Blue Notes proudly boasts Andile Yenana on piano, Marcus Wyatt on trumpet, Mthunzi Mvubu on alto saxophone, Janus van der Merwe on tenor saxophone, Thembinkosi Mavimbela on upright bass, Ayanda Sikade on drums, and Siya Makuzeni on voice and trombone.
The Shape of Strings to Come (SA)
Jimmy Dludlu featuring Alvin Dyers, Richard Ceasar and Saudiq Khan with C-Base CollectiveThe Shape of Strings to Come features four guitarists that in their own right need little if any, introduction. This will be the second time they perform at the CTIJF as a collective although this show will be unique, paying tribute to the great legends of SA Jazz, Afro-Pop and traditional music - just to name a few: Bheki Mseleku, Hugh Masekela, Basil "Mannenberg" Coetzee, Winston Mankunku Ngozi, Robbie Jansen, Moses Molelekwa, Brenda Fassie, and Caiphus Semenya.Jimmy Dludlu - Multi-award winning maestro, was 13 years old when he first picked up a cousin's home-made guitar and started teaching himself to play by imitating the jazz and African music he heard on the radio. His first performances were at township weddings and functions with his cousin. From there a legend was born, working over the years with many session artists. In 1991, he was a founder member of the highly successful group Loading Zone, which went on to tour across the continent, backing a range of South African stars including Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Brenda Fassie, Chicco and Sipho Mabuse. His debut solo album “Echoes From The Past” was released in September 1997 to wide acclaim, and won him two SA Music Awards for "Best Newcomer" and "Best Contemporary Jazz Album" in 1998. He has since released 7 more albums, added countless awards, including an SA Music Award for “Best Male Artist”, collaborated with many artists including Ce-Ce Winans, Angélique Kidjo and Salif Keita, and toured extensively in Africa and overseas. In late 2013, he released his first double-album recorded in concert at Emperor’s Palace “Jimmy Dludlu – Live” (Universal Music), with a live DVD release set to follow in 2014.Alvin Dyers - has a signature sound that blends elements of Latin, Cape Goema, African and Jazz. He frequently plays with the Alvin Dyers Quartet and in 2000 he released his debut album, ‘Wesley Street’. Alvin gained popularity touring with Workforce, a band including Spencer Mbadu and Robbie Jansen, which garnered an enthusiastic following and great reviews. They performed at several high profile events and festivals both locally and in Australia. Alvin also hosts regular jazz jam sessions at various venues around Cape Town, most notably the Monday night Jazz Jam at Swinger’s in Wetton – an event that Alvin has overseen for over 15 years. The jams provide opportunities for young musicians to interact with a host of seasoned visiting musicians from, amongst others, Germany, Sweden, the USA and the Netherlands. A teacher at UCT’s South African College of Music, Alvin’s dedication to education has seen him mentor a new crop of South African jazz talent with the same professionalism and excellence he displays in his own playing.Richard Ceasar - is a well-known and loved jazz guitarist, singer and songwriter. After studying classical guitar at UCT, Richard fell in love with Jazz as a genre and has never looked back. With musical influences like George Benson, Pat Martino and Pat Metheny, his style has grown into its own unique signature over the past 20 years. Having toured extensively both locally and internationally, Richard is now working on his fourth album which will be released in 2014. A combination of dance, R&b, instrumentals and Jazz, the album features a collective of some great local musicians such as Don Vino Prins, Vernon Steer, Ivan Bell etc.Saudiq Khan - is a proudly South African and respected Concert Flamenco Guitarist - a product of District Six of the 60’s in Cape Town, he was exposed to the colourful Cape Culture from an early age. He was inspired by the passionate sounds of the Flamenco guitar and once in his teens was determined to learn the music he loved. He had to leave school when he was 15 to help support his family. His first job was as a mailroom delivery boy but discovering he had a skill for fixing cars Saudiq approached a local Flamenco Guitarist, and bartered working on his cars in return for lessons. In 1989, having worked his way up in the national stage. He is also busy composing new material for his next album. Three of Saudiq Khan's compositions from his first album Pure Soul: Por Manolo (the title track), Ami Padre and Andaluz, were included in the soundtrack of the movie "Confessions of a Gambler".C-Base Collective – has become an institution as an evolving formation comprised of some of the best and most versatile musicians in Cape Town, personally selected by Jimmy Dludlu. C-Base Collective’s first performances were at the seminal Re-connection Africaine concerts headlined by Senegalese superstar Ismaël Lo at V & A Waterfront’s Dock Road venue in September 1995. Since then, C-Base Collective has served as a virtual “school” that many of South Africa’s most vibrant and talented young musicians have passed through. Core members of C-Base Collective, who have worked with Jimmy Dludlu for nearly 20 years, are John Hassan (percussion), Lucas Khumalo (bass) and Camillo Lombard (keyboards). Other early members of C-Base Collective included Marcus Wyatt, Buddy Wells and Judith Sephuma. Currently, C-Base Collective features some exceptionally talented young-up-and-coming musicians including Brandon Ruiters (trumpet) and Siyasanga Charles (trombone).
Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet (USA)
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.
Kenny Garrett Quintet(USA)
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.