ARTISTS 2016 (PG1)

(First Artists Announced)      (Second Artists Announced)

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First Artists Announced


Growing up in the small town uMgungundlovu near Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal, the award winning jazz pianist, Nduduzo Makhathini was surrounded by music as a child. Coming from a very musical family – his mother was a pianist and his father a guitarist – it was when he realized that his voice limited his expression that he focused on the piano.  

He feels his career has developed in what he describes as an organic process, starting with his upbringing and the influence of his mother, his first piano teacher.  Makhathini has three albums out: ‘Sketches of Tomorrow’ ‘Mother Tongue’ (nominated for best jazz at the SAMA’s 2015 and ‘Listening To The Ground’. He is also this year’s (2015) Standard Bank Young Artists For Jazz and 1st recipient of the British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship Masters Scholarship.



Eddie Parker is a multi-instrumentalist, best known as a jazz flautist and composer. He has been central to some of the most important British jazz in recent years. Parker has played with Bheki Mseleku, who also happens to be Mkhize’s former mentor and as such, the current pairing has some of the late masters’ influences. Mkhize and Parker produce new music that is detailed, accessible and exciting to hear. Combining English folk and French Impressionism with the great jazz traditions, the two perform beautiful melodies and exciting grooves that draw from African sounds.


Amadou Bagayoko (guitar & vocals) & Mariam Doumbia (vocals) are a Grammy Award nominated musical couple who have enthralled audiences since getting together in 1983.  Influenced by the records of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Pink Floyd as well as traditional African music, the couple has overcome personal challenges to forge a successful musical career that has seen them travel the world.  Since the late 1990s, their musical style has evolved from sparse vocal and guitar arrangements to a more mature and eminently appealing ‘afro-blues’ sound. Their transition from world music stages to rock festival headliners came with 2005’s Manu Chao-produced Dimanche à Bamako, one of the best-selling African albums of all time, winning a prestigious Les Victoires de la Musique award and two BBC Radio 3 awards for World Music.


The autobiography Away From The Light, published in June 2010, tells the story of their early years, during which they accepted and adapted to their blindness, and ends with the duo performing to Barack Obama at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in December 2009. In between, the book traces the moment they met at the Institute for Young Blind in Bamako and the epic journey that has made the couple the best- selling and best-loved act to come out of Africa this century.


Grammy nominated singer, MC, self-taught keyboardist, and prolific songwriter, Angie Stone's first claim to fame was her membership in the Sequence - an all-female trio that recorded for pioneering hip-hop label Sugar Hill.  Several years later, she re-emerged as the lead vocalist for Vertical Hold, where she scored with the smooth urban dance track "Seems You're Much Too Busy," a Top 40 R&B hit during the summer of 1993 that led to her very productive solo career. With the release of her 1999 solo debut, she became one of neo-soul's leading lights, providing sharp insight into romantic relationships with her smoky yet up-front voice. Her most popular hits include “No More Rain (In This Cloud)”, "Wish I Didn't Miss You" and “Brotha”. Her new album Dreams will be released on 06 November 2015.


Also an occasional actor, she appeared in a handful of movies, including The Fighting Temptations and Pastor Brown, as well as the television programs Moesha, Girlfriends, and Lincoln Heights.


BADBADNOTGOOD (BBNG) is a classically trained trio of young musicians comprising of Matthew Tavares on keys, Chester Hansen on bass, and Alex Sowinski on drums. Since first meeting at music school in 2011, the three have challenged the rule book on improvised instrumental music and taken a fresh look at the jazz tradition through their solo albums and collaborations with Future Islands, Bootsy Collins, RZA, Odd Future and Frank Ocean, among many.


The band marries jazz virtuosity with hip hop, punk, and dance music into a vigorous balance. After releasing their third studio album III on prodigious young label Innovative Leisure in 2014, the band has now collaborated with Ghostface Killah on Sour Soul for yet another exciting sound experience. Their notorious live performances have brought fans from across the whole musical spectrum together, taking the band around the world from Coachella to Glastonbury. 



Bassist and composer Benjamin Jephta has already made a name for himself as one of South Africa’s premier jazz double bass and electric bass players. A graduate of the jazz program at the prestigious South African College of Music at the University of Cape Town, he graduated in 2013 with the fourth year class medal. Jephta has performed with a range of local and international musicians including McCoy Mrubata, Sibongile Khumalo, Paul Hanmer, Feya Faku, Jimmy Dludlu, Simphiwe Dana, Mark Fransman, Hugh Masekela, Melanie Scholtz, Marcus Wyatt, Bokani Dyer and many others. He is involved in various original projects ranging from playing double bass in a free jazz orchestra to synth-bass in a pop band.


Growing up in Mitchell’s Plain, he attended Muizenberg High School where he fostered a love for jazz under the mentorship of Fred Kuit (winner of the 2012 SAJE Lifetime Achievement Award in Jazz Education). Aside from performing in venues and festivals locally since the age of 15, Jephta has also performed with various orchestras and small ensembles in Africa, Europe and Asia. Jephta currently spearheads two projects that play his original material; a six-piece African/ fusion/ funk project called the Tribe of Benjamin, and his acoustic quintet who play music drawing on gospel and South African roots. With his quintet, featuring Kyle Shepherd (piano), Marcus Wyatt (trumpet), Sisonke Xonti (sax) and Sphelelo Mazibuko (drums), he released his debut album Homecoming in January 2015.



Founded by Rick Braun and Richard Elliot in 2005 when they were partners at their record label ARTizen Music Group, Jazz Attack has been winning the hearts of contemporary jazz fans year after year.  Rick Braun who will lead the ensemble at the CTIJF in 2016, is a gregarious, charismatic musician-songwriter-producer whose smooth jazz and jazz-funk trumpet playing has amassed a catalogue of No. 1 Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart and radio hits over his career.  Although his horn work has been his signature voice establishing him as a pre-eminent player and genre icon, Braun is also comfortable crooning jazz standards that delight his fans and those new to the groove.


Guitarist Peter White brings his uniquely engaging style to the Jazz Attack band. Over the years, he has maintained a reputation as one of the most versatile and prolific acoustic guitarists on the contemporary jazz landscape. He combines elements of jazz, pop and classical guitar to create a sound that is singular and at the same time accessible to a broad audience. His first solo recording Reveillez-Vous, quickly rose to the #1 position in the NAC arena, and his subsequent releases all topped both radio and retail charts across the USA, including the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart.


Chart topping multi-instrumentalist Euge Groove joins Jazz Attack on saxophone and brings his wide ranging musical taste, impeccable musicianship and keen showmanship to the stage. The saxophonist, composer, producer and DJ, has built an impressive career as a free spirit who remains true to his own artistic vision. His first single from the self-titled Warner Bros. debut ‘Vinyl’, set a record by spending 27 weeks on the R&B charts. Since then, his singles and CDs have continued to be at the top of Billboard and R&B charts.



Lizz Wright is a singer-songwriter renowned for her earthy alto voice and emotive yet straightforward vocal serenading.  She has been charming music fans worldwide ever since she appeared on the late pianist and composer Joe Sample’s 2002 disc The Pecan Tree.  The following year, she gained even wider recognition for her critically acclaimed debut record Salt.  Produced by the legendary Tommy LiPuma (best known for his award-winning work with George Benson, Diana Krall, and Natalie Cole) the album helped introduce one of the most captivating female vocalists of her generation, as it raced to number two on Billboard’s “Top Contemporary Jazz” chart.


Freedom & Surrender (released in September 2015) is Wright’s fifth album and comprises a powerful array of mostly original songs. Teaming up with four-time Grammy-winning bassist and producer Larry Klein, who’s best known for his work with such leading lights as Joni Mitchell, Madeleine Peyroux and Tracy Chapman, this album has been billed as Wright’s ”sexiest and most sensual yet” and touches upon fresher emotional terrain. 



Theo Kgosinkwe and Nhlanhla Nciza are Mafikizolo, one of South Africa’s favourite pop groups.  Effortlessly combining afro-pop, kwela and marabi, which has become their trademark sound, their seventh album Six Mabone includes overtones of blues and swing and demonstrates why they have such a large and loyal following.  Having been in the industry for eight years, the duo took time out after the tragic death of one of their band members to refocus their energy and creative talent.  The result is an album that will transport listeners on a musical journey and appeal equally to young and old alike.  Criss-crossing a musical heritage from the past and updated with sounds and lyrics of today, Mafikizolo are back with a bang. 


Joining them on stage at the 17th Cape Town International Jazz Festival will be the legendary ‘Village Pope’, Tsepo Tshola whose wholesome lyrical messaging is wonderfully intimate and personal, and comes as a creative departure from his previous musical pronouncements on social and political issues. The collaboration is set to be a masterful musical storytelling session.



In a career that spans two decades and encompasses a broad array of musical ventures, saxophonist Mark Turner has emerged as a towering presence in the jazz community. With a distinctive personal tone, singular improvisational skills and an innovative, challenging compositional approach, he’s earned a far-reaching reputation as one of jazz’s most original and influential musical forces.


A New York Times profile of Turner titled “The Best Jazz Player You’ve Never Heard” called him “possibly jazz’s premier player,” noting his reputation amongst his peers and his influential stature in the jazz world.  He has released six albums as a leader to date and been involved in several more as a side-man and collaborative contributor that makes up his diverse discography.  


Always intrigued by the whole history of jazz music and African-American culture, as well as the music itself, Turner feels a connection to his father, also a saxophonist who died when Mark was just 18 months old.  Turner’s meticulous and analytical de-construction of the other jazz greats has led him to better understand himself and develop his own unique musical voice. With an impressive musical history already under his belt and more on the way, Mark Turner is clearly on the verge of a creative renaissance. As The New York Times noted, “His best work is clearly still ahead of him.”



Ten-time Grammy nominated mercurial and masterful, Meshell Ndegeocello is a singer-songwriter, rapper, bassist and vocalist who has survived the best and worst of what a career in music has to offer. She has eschewed genre for originality, celebrity for longevity, and musical trends for musical truths. She has lived through the boom and bust of the industry and emerged just as she entered - unequivocally herself. Fans have come to expect the unexpected from Meshell, and faithfully followed her on sojourns into soul, spoken word, R&B, jazz, hip hop, rock, as well as go-go, new wave and punk.   All of her sounds and albums (eleven to date) are bound by a lyrical, spiritual search for love, justice, respect, resolution and happiness.


A bass player above all else, Meshell brings her warm and melodic groove to everything she does and has appeared alongside the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Alanis Morrisette, James Blood Ulmer, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Tony Allen, John Medeski, Billy Preston and Chaka Khan. As for her own bass-playing influences, she credits Sting, Jaco Pastorius, Family Man Barrett and Stevie Wonder. Meshell was the first woman to be featured on the cover of Bass Player magazine and remains one of few women who writes the music, sings the songs and leads the band.


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