Summarised Artist biographies.
The Worcester Secondary School Band (SA)
A participant in the Focus Schools workshops under the auspices of the Jazzfest Training and Development programme, this band is sure to wow Festinos with their youthful exuberance and mastery of their instruments.
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)
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
Lalah Hathaway is a graduate of the Berklee School of Music, a trained pianist and vocalist and her career has spanned two decades. Her debut in 1990 on Virgin Records with the self-titled album Lalah Hathaway, fused elements of R&B, Jazz and Pop. The resonance in her voice struck a chord with music lovers and her first single Heaven Knows secured her place in R&B music. In 1994, Lalah released her second album, A Moment, in which she explored more music genres including elements of New Jack-Swing and funk without departing from her soul and jazz roots. The project also included Sly & the Family Stone’s remake and the fan favourite ballad, Separate Ways. In 1999, Lalah released the critically acclaimed duet CD, The Song Lives On with legendary jazz musician Joe Sample. The songs Fever and When Your Life Was Low helped broaden Lalah’s appeal to jazz music fans. She has toured and recorded with several acts, including George Benson, Take 6, Marcus Miller, Rahsaan Patterson, Mary J. Blige, The Winans, Kirk Whalum, Gerald Albright, David Sanborn, Carl Thomas, Angie Stone, Robert Glasper, Donald Lawrence, Eric Roberson, Grover Washington, Esperanza Spalding, and just recently, Prince. In 2004, the album Outrun The Sky and the number one single Forever, For Always, For Love (a remake of the classic Luther Vandross tune) put Lalah in the spotlight again. In 2008, Lalah released her fourth solo album, Self Portrait, on the Stax label, which debuted in the Top 10 on Billboard’s R&B charts. Self Portrait was nominated for Lalah’s first Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. In 2011, Lalah’s fifth solo album – Where It All Begins – was released and included a remake of the fan favourite, I’m Coming Back. Lalah also won a Grammy for Best R&B Performance in 2014 for her contribution to Snarky Puppy’s single “Something.”
Level 42 is an English pop rock and jazz-funk band that have had a number of commercially successful worldwide and UK hits over the past three decades. The band gained recognition and fame for their high-calibre musicianship—in particular that of Mark King, whose percussive slap-bass guitar technique provided the driving groove of many of the band's hits. The band are also known for the combination of King's lead vocals and keyboard player Mike Lindup's falsetto backing vocals. After much success as a live and studio band in the 1980s and 90s, with several UK and US top ten hits, the group disbanded in 1994 but reformed again in 2001 and in 2010 celebrated their 30th anniversary with a special tour, as well as a box set, Living It Up, which included a disc of fresh acoustic versions recorded by Mark King and Lindup. The band continues to enliven audiences around the world with their instantly recognizable sound.
Shakatak is a multi-award nominated and winning English Jazz-funk band founded in 1980. They have enjoyed a level of success and career longevity rarely paralleled in contemporary music with their music creating a far reaching fanbase as well as enjoying an ‘underground’ status. Along with this successful recording career, Shakatak had firmly established themselves as a vibrant live act, combining astute musicianship with a sense of fun that communicated strongly with world-wide audiences. The band originally consisted of: Jill Saward (lead vocals), Bill Sharpe (keys), Keith Winter (guitar), George Anderson(bass) and Roger Odell(drums). With the magic Al Jarreau/Shakatak combination the group went on to record the track ‘Day by Day’ to greater international acclaim. When Keith Winter became seriously ill, the band now augment their live shows with Jacqui Hicks (b.vocs,sax&flute) or Debby Bracknell (b.vocs&flute) and Alan Wormald (gtr&b.vocs) with Winter remaining an integral part of the band through his management of the official website.