The 2024 CTIJF, known for its scintillating and eclectic mix of jazz and jazz-related music, will take account of the fans’ desires to spend more time enjoying and appreciating the artists that are on offer and the music they love.
Watch this space for the exciting 2024 line up.
CHAKA KHAN (USA)
Chaka Khan is one of the world’s most gifted and celebrated musicians, with a rich musical legacy, including 10-time GRAMMY® Awards. Khan is a songwriter, actor, author, philanthropist, entrepreneur and activist who has influenced generations of recording artists.
Throughout her legendary career, Chaka has released 22 albums and racked up ten #1 Billboard magazine charted songs. This includes her smash hit ‘I’m Every Woman
ELIANE ELIAS (BRAZIL)
Eliane Elias is a Brazilian multi GRAMMY® Award winning artist who has sold over 2.2 million albums during the span of her career. Her 2017 release Dance of Time won a Latin Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album of the year. It debuted at #1 on two Billboard’s Charts: Traditional Jazz Charts and World Music Albums Charts, and also at #1 on iTunes USA, Germany, France and Brazil and #1 Amazon.com Best Seller.
Her previous album, Made In Brazil, won a Grammy Award® for Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year. She now has 9 Grammy Award® nominations to date and she’s not resting on her laurels.
Moonchild are LA-based multi-instrumentalists Amber Navran, Max Bryk, and Andris Mattson. In May 2017, Moonchild released their highly-anticipated album ‘Voyager’ which pioneered a unique blend of soul and new-school jazz and was fronted by the standout debut single “Cure”.
Moonchild have collaborated or played live with many notable names in the soul-jazz scene including Stevie Wonder, Jill Scott, India.Arie, The Internet, Kamasi Washington and more.
THE LADY DAY BIG BAND (SOUTH AFRICA)
The Lady Day Big Band is a brand new, dynamic collective founded by well-known vocalist Lana Crowster, in collaboration with highly respected trombonist and composer, Kelly Bell, and acclaimed vocalist-pianist Amanda Tiffin.
The Lady Day Big Band is South Africa’s first all-female 20-piece big band, consisting entirely of professional female musicians. The band incorporates contemporary styles with traditional big band sounds, to give audiences an explosive experience of exciting big band music, and features the powerful vocal stylings of Lana Crowster.
SHEKHINAH (SOUTH AFRICA)
Shekhinah is a pop/R&B vocalist and songwriter born in Durban, South Africa. After singing and performing in musicals during her childhood and early teens the young artist competed in South Africa’s seventh season of the hit television show Idols where she made the top 32. Then she landed in the top 8 the following year. She has recorded with established music-makers DJ Black Coffee and singer Jesse Clegg.
In 2018 she won three South African Music Awards for her debut album Rosegold. She has also won the MTV Africa Music Award and been nominated for a Metro Music Award.
BCUC (BANTU CONTINUA UHURU CONSCIOUSNESS) (SOUTH AFRICA)
BCUC is a live music-performing band from Soweto and draws inspiration from indigenous music. The band sings ritual songs, shebeen songs, church songs and infuses these with raps and a rock ‘n roll attitude.
Their music has been described as South African afro-psychedelic future pop. That seems like a live experience not to be missed
CRAIG LUCAS (SOUTH AFRICA)
After winning the national talent contest The Voice SA, Craig’s career has been on a steady upward trajectory. The economics and politics graduate from Elsies River in Cape Town has a lucrative record deal with Universal Music.
His debut single, I Said This achieved number 1 on iTunes within a matter of days if its release. Craig’s debut album Restless is available in store and online.
DON LAKA (SOUTH AFRICA)
As one of South Africa’s most innovative contemporary artists and producers, Don pursued music while working as a clerk in a grocery store. He has played with numerous South African notables such as Joy, Brenda Fassie, Sipho Mabuse and Sankomota. Don recorded his first big hit with a group called Umoja before moving on to form his own British-rock influenced band, Ymage.
He has also composed music for other artists. His production of singer Hugh Masekela’s album Jabulani, earned the duo a Grammy 2013 nomination for the best world music CD. Don has often spoken at music seminars and panels on the issue of quality and Standards of South African Music.
DON VINO (SOUTH AFRICA)
Cape Town saxophonist Don Vino started his musical journey when was 15, performing with local jazz and gospel bands. He has performed with a range of local and international artists, including Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Tevin Campbell, Cece Peniston, Sybil and Percy Sledge.
He has also toured extensively, and his repertoire includes jazz, gospel and R&B. His debut album was called Worried and he is currently working on a second album due for release in 2018.
NTSIKA (SOUTH AFRICA)
Ntsika is a member and a lead composer of the internationally acclaimed acapella group, The Soil. He has since also started a solo career, and critics have labelled him a creative phenomenon.
His compositions have won a string of awards and he performs across South Africa and beyond. And just like The Soil, which he is still very much involved with, his music is all about exploring his heritage.
SHO MADJOZI (SOUTH AFRICA)
While Sho Madjozi calls herself a rapper she can often be found flexing her rhymes on Gqom beats. Her single Dumi hi Phone with PS DJz went viral, gaining her bookings all over the country. This song has sat on the number 1 spot at Yfm, and been in the top ten of multiple national radio stations including Metro FM.
Famous for bringing Xitsonga to the mainstream and for her exhilarating performances in which she wears a colorful Tsonga dancing skirt, Xibelani, Sho Madjozi has played some of the biggest shows in the country including Fill Up FNB, Afropunk, Castle Lite Unlocks and others.
SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR (SOUTH AFRICA)
Apart from winning two Grammy Awards and four SAMAs, this choir featured in two Grammy Awards with other artists and has won an Emmy Award for its collaboration with Bono and U2. It also has an Academy Award nomination for its recording with Peter Gabriel on the Disney Pixar film Wall E.
The choir has travelled worldwide over the past 15 years, with concerts at Carnegie Hall, London Festival Hall and the Sydney Opera House, to name a few. They’ve been special guests at the MTV Africa Music Awards and the AFRIMA (All Africa Awards)
ALFA MIST (UK)
Alfa Mist is a self-taught pianist and rapper who grew up in Newham, East London. He found himself drawn to jazz, world music and film soundtracks he discovered through sampling. His sound blends melancholy jazz harmony with alternative hip-hop and soul.
His recently released second album ‘Antiphon’ has pushed him forward in the new jazz scene as one to watch.
BICKRAM GHOSH QUARTET (INDIA)
Bickram Ghosh is one of India’s greatest masters of the tabla and is widely regarded as a pioneering force in the world of experimental fusion music. He has featured on four albums nominated for Grammy awards, including George Harrison’s Brainwashed. He also played on Full Circle with Ravi Shankar, which won a Grammy award.
Bickram’s subsequent successful solo albums include Beyond Rhythmscape, Folktail, Drum Invasion, Kingdom of Rhythm, Interface, Electro classical, and Transformation. He has composed music for 30 feature films and has at least 100 albums to his credit. Arun Kumar (drums), Abhishek Mallik (electric sitar) and Jonathan Kay (saxophone) will accompany him at this festival.
CORY HENRY & THE FUNK APOSTLES (USA)
Organ virtuoso Cory Henry from Brooklyn, New York, is a singer and songwriter who heads up a band that plays a blend of blues, soul, R&B, Afrobeat, gospel and jazz music. Their album Chapter 1: The Art of Love shows how they blur genres and upend expectations at every turn.
Henry is known for his role in Snarky Puppy, the instrumental jazz-pop orchestra hailed by Rolling Stone magazine as “one of the more versatile groups on the planet”. He has won a pair of Grammy awards for his work with the band since 2012, but Henry’s deft keyboard skills have been blowing minds around the world for more than two decades now. He has toured or recorded with artists including Bruce Springsteen, The Roots and P. Diddy, in addition to cracking the Top 10 on Billboard’s Jazz charts with a pair of solo albums.
KEYON HARROLD (USA)
Keyon Harrold’s album The Mugician examines our troubled times through a far wider lens than any one tragedy. Sweeping and cinematic, the music draws on elements of jazz, classical, rock, blues, and hip hop to create something uniquely modern, unmistakably American.
In 2009 he released his solo debut, Introducing Keyon Harrold, and also won wide acclaim for his trumpet performances in Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead.
Harrold grew up one of 16 children in a family that prioritised music and community across generations. He has performed with stars like Snoop Dogg, Jay Z, Beyonce, Rihanna, Eminem, Maxwell, and Anthony Hamilton.
KNOWER (FULL BAND) (USA)
Knower is a Los Angeles-based musical duo featuring drummer-producer Louis Cole and singer Genevieve Artadi. They are currently touring with their fourth album Life in 2016 and opened for The Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2017.
The duo stretches the boundaries between jazz and funk, often collaborating with various independent musicians.
THE MIKE ROSSI PROJECT ft JOHN FEDCHOCK (SA/ USA)
American born Mike Rossi is a professor of music at the University of Cape Town. He regularly performs at jazz clubs and jazz festivals in Africa, Europe and the United States.
As a composer and performer he has appeared on numerous jazz and classical recordings, and has written a series of method books on jazz improvisation, along with numerous compositions. Joining Rossi at this festival is two-time Grammy nominee John Fedchock, an established world-class trombone soloist.
Other musicians joining them on stage are Lorenzo Blignaut (trumpet and flugelhorn), William Haubrich (trombone), Andrew Ford (piano and organ), Wesley Rustin (acoustic bass) and Kevin Gibson (drums).
NICOLE MITCHELL'S BLACK EARTH ENSEMBLE (USA)
Flutist and composer Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble (BEE) is a musical celebration of the African American cultural legacy founded in 1998. BEE has performed in festivals and art venues throughout Europe, Canada and throughout the U.S. Its music embraces the ancient past and paints visions of a positive future.
The music is the weaving of swing, blues, avante garde jazz, bebop, African rhythms, Eastern modes and Western classical sounds. BEE’s purpose is to inspire the human spirit with thought-provoking beauty and to present a positive, healthy and culturally aware image of African Americans.
NUBYA GARCIA (UK)
London-based saxophonist and composer Nubya Garcia is one of the leading forces behind the resurgence of jazz-influenced sounds in the UK.
Her afro-tinged jazz has made her a key component in a string of new and established groups. Alongside her original music, Garcia has a burgeoning reputation as a DJ.
THE REZA KHOTA QUARTET (SA)
Reza Khota’s formal music training led him to a master’s degree in solo guitar performance from the University of the Witwatersrand in Joburg. He plays with saxophonist Buddy Wells who has earned significant recognition for projects across genres.
Musicians Shane Cooper on contrabass and Jonno Sweetman on drums make up the rest of this prolific quarter. The conversation between these four artists is wide open, and as likely to manifest sparse restraint as it is to explore visceral excitement.
THE MILL (SA/ SWISS)
This South African/Swiss collaboration comes as a result of the Swiss Arts Council and the efforts of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival’s support for vibrant exchange between musicians. This multifaceted collaboration between Swiss and South African musicians is set to break new grounds in the pairing of two distinct and yet seemingly dissimilar worlds.
The Mill is a mish-mash of horn arrangements, piano and razor-sharp guitar. Participating musicians include Marco Müller (double bass), Matthias Tschopp (alto and baritone saxophone), Fabian Willman (bass clarinet and tenor saxophone), Florian Egli (soprano and alto saxophones), Yonela Mnana (piano and vocals), Siya Makuzeni (trombone and vocals), Mandla Mlangeni (trumpet) and Vuma Levin (guitar).
SOUTH PENINSULA HIGH SCHOOL BAND (SA)
The South Peninsula High School jazz band has performed at events including the Grahamstown Jazz Festival, which runs during the National Arts Festival.
The band has also performed at venues such as the Baxter Theatre and Iziko Museum in Cape Town.
The band comprises Matthew Mentor who alternates between guitar and trumpet, Sheldon Nedft on trumpet, Xavier Rhode the bass, Daniel Williams piano, Keenan Majiet on drums, Kirstin Klink on guitar, and vocals are covered by Asive Rasmen and Caleb Meyer. This group’s multi-talented young musicians combine their individuality to present a range of musical styles on stage.
AFRICAN TIME MEETING LEGENDS OVERTIME ft Herbie Tsoaeli, Sydney Mnisi, Feya Faku, Andile Yenana and Kevin Gibson (SA)
This ensemble features Herbie Tsoaeli (bass, vocal); Sydney Mnisi (tenor, sax); Feya Faku (flugel horn, trumpet); Andile Yenana (piano); and Kevin Gibson (drums). Its sound is the music of the present and future, guided by spirits, energies and vibrations from the past. It is inspired from the soil and soul of Africa.
Herbie Tsoaeli has spent over three decades making music, as the preferred side-man to some of the South Africa’s and international jazz and commercial artists. With this project he enters centre-stage with an entourage of seasoned African jazz masters, styled in true South African jazz format that collectively presents songs from the African Time album and new compositions.
BEN VOLPELIERE-PIERROT of CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT (UK)
Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot was the lead singer of Curiosity Killed The Cat, a band that had a number of Top 40 singles in the UK together with a No. 1 album, Keep Your Distance. The band played soulful, jazzy and funky pop music.
The band split up in 1992 and Ben continued touring under the band’s name on a number of 1980s revivals. Ben is now looking forward to going into the studio and working on some new tracks while remixing some of his old hits.
espYOUNGLEGEND 2019 EDGAR MUZAH & FRIENDS (SA)
Edgar Muzah is a bass player originally from Zimbabwe and now residing in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and the winner of espAfrika’s 2019 talent search competition. Muzah has toured extensively in Zimbabwe and South Africa as well as to other countries across the world.
Notably, he has performed at the Bayimba Festival in Uganda, Belfast Alive in Ireland and the Finnish Jazz Festival in Finland. He makes his debut at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in March 2019. Project Dimensions, one of his initiatives featuring most of the artists he has worked with, produced and written music for, has also toured to various European countries.
Apart from personal projects, Muzah has also worked as a producer and composer for a number of other artists. His efforts with Zimbabwean world music artist Willis Wataffi received three Zimbabwe Music Awards awards in 2016. Other award-winning musicians he has worked with include Chumani Ngojo, the 2015 Crown gospel award winner; Phumlani Mtiti, a 2013 South African Music Award winner; and multi-award winner and platinum selling afro soul rising star Nathi.
Paris-based multi-instrumentalist Vincent Fenton performs as FKJ, aka French Kiwi Juice. His loose and colourful arrangements could soundtrack anything: a house party in Hong Kong, a road trip through the Australian outback, a post-midnight walk alone across moonlit European streets. It’s all there on his 2017 self-titled debut album, which flits between fidgety electronics, smooth blues and pristine pop, all with the flick of a switch.
With every song on his debut racking up millions of Spotify plays, his shows sell out in Asia, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and America, and his unique, spontaneity-first live delivery – frog-leaping between guitars, keys, sax, vocals and more – is capable of translating to both intimate and giant venues.
GOGO PENGUIN (UK)
This Manchester-based leftfield piano trio’s music has been described as acoustic-electronica but they draw equally on rock, jazz and minimalism, game soundtracks and glitchy-electronica to create their unique sound. It’s music for the heart, head and feet and saw their album v2.0 (Gondwana Records) named a Mercury Prize album of the year 2014 alongside albums from Damon Albarn, Young Fathers and Jungle.
In 2015 they signed to Blue Note Records and released the album Man Made Object in 2016. More recently they have been touring their own score to Godfrey Reggio’s cult film Koyaanisqatsi. They perform music from their recent album A Humdrum Star as well as new music and hits from their powerful back catalogue.
IBRAHIM KHALIL SHIHAB (SA)
Born Christopher James Schilder into one of Cape Town’s famous musical families in 1954, Ibrahim Khalil Shihab earned a solid reputation as one of South Africa’s foremost piano talents of his generation. In 1968, aged 22 he led an ensemble in a Johannesburg studio that included a young, fiery Winston Mankunku and recorded an album, Spring, that has become an integral part of the rich legacy of jazz records in South Africa.
However, he is well and most fondly remembered as pianist and primary songwriter for the 70's iconic cult band from the Cape Flats, Pacific Express. In 2018 he released a brand new recording project, Essence of Spring. This album pays homage to the very diverse range of Shihab’s compositional styles, from the most evocative jazz themes to more easy styled popular songs as well as showcasing his breath taking pianistic skills, both as a solo pianist and band leader.
JOHN SCOFIELD'S “COMBO 66” featuring Vicente Archer, Gerald Clayton & Bill Stewart (USA)
Aside from being one of the principal innovators of modern jazz guitar, John Scofield is a creative artist of an even rarer sort: a stylistic chameleon who has forged a consistent, rock-solid aesthetic identity. Looking to commemorate his 66th year, Scofield penned twelve original compositions and formed a swinging new group to record and tour the music. Rising star Gerald Clayton was an obvious choice on piano, an instrument central to the new tunes.
The connection between Scofield and drummer Bill Stewart strengthens as the decades pass. It was Stewart who introduced bassist Vicente Archer to the project. Scofield is thrilled with the group and in addition to the musical combustion, especially enjoys the inter-generational quality – sixties, fifties, forties and thirties represented.
Mahube, a Setswana word meaning ‘new dawn’, is a collaboration and celebration of Southern African music. It is a dynamic regional voice with influences sewn together seamlessly to create a showcase for all artistry in the region – proof that creativity knows no boundaries.
The original Mahube, conceptualised by Steve Dyer in 1998, has been re-invented to acknowledge much of the youthful creativity that is shaping the cultural landscape today. Musician Bokani Dyer is a co-director of the new project that features Mbuso Khoza – a haunting voice and social commentator from KZN; the ever-inventive singer and trombonist Siya Makuzeni from the Eastern Cape; the graceful singer, dancer and mbira player Hope Masike from Zimbabwe; and dynamic singer and dancer Xixel Langa from Mozambique.
Together with a stellar band of top instrumentalists, Mahube gives voice to contemporary music born on African soil.
IBRAHIM KHALIL SHIHAB (SA)
New York-based composer, saxophonist, clarinettist, penny whistler and vocalist, Morris Goldberg recently completed recording his third album with his group, OJOYO, and wrote most of the original music.
The OJOYO sound is Safrojazz, a combination of South African and American music. Goldberg grew up in Observatory, Cape Town, and nurtured musical roots that span jazz, classical music, bebop and mbaqanga. He won popular acclaim through his featured performances on Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ album.
Goldberg has also performed with Hugh Masekela, among others, before leaving South Africa to broaden his musical horizons. He regularly recorded and performed with artists such as Miriam Makeba and Harry Belafonte. He also worked with Jonathan Butler and exiled singer Letta Mbulu. In 1974, Goldberg returned to Cape Town and participated in Abdullah (Dollar Brand) Ibrahim’s recording, ‘Manenberg’. He has regularly returned to perform in South Africa.
NDAKA YO WIÑI (ANGOLA)
Ndaka Yo Wiñi is a musician, composer and cultural researcher, born in the Angolan city Lobito. Music has been part of his life since his youth. His performance resembles something that approaches a magical ritual act. And it is strongly linked to his local cultural heritage. It has resulted in the creation of a concert project called ‘Lundongo no Lwandu’ which means Ancestral Rhythm of Cradle.
He has meanwhile performed at various jazz festivals, including the Meeting With Africa festival in Brazil; the Dipanda Forever Project in Portugal; Expo Milan in Italy; and various events in Luanda. Film is another avenue for his music, most notably producing the soundtrack for the film On the Other Side of the World.
CTIJF2019 FRAME SQUARE - REPERCUSSIONS 2 rePercussions featuring MOSES BOYD, DJ LAG, TIAGO CORREIA-PAULO, NONKU PHIRI & MANDLA MLANGENI (UK/SA/MOZ)
rePercussions brings together the free-flowing elements of jazz and the infectious danceability of Gqom under scattered snares, glowing synthesisers and transposing time signatures. With musicians who are each groundbreaking in their own right, the constant pull of creative energy between them lets them iterate their sonic stories through textured digi-analogue blends.
It includes among others DJ LAG, a pioneer of the Durban Gqom sound; Tiago Correia-Paulo; as well as trumpeter and composer Mandla Mlangeni.
RICHARD BONA (CAMEROON)
Cameroonian Richard Bona’s seemingly effortless voice, fierce skills on the bass, unique songwriting/arranging expertise and ability to learn just about any instrument simply from watching, position him as a rare African artist to have established an international reputation that transcends cultural boundaries.
His new album is a compilation of art inspired by the shared heritage, rich folkloric and traditional music of West Africa and Cuba.
Preserving the traditions of the western African slave Cabildos, Bona and the Mandekan Cubano bring the music, dance, rituals, and oral history of the island to the world.
SEKUNJALO EDUJAZZ BAND (SA)
Over the past nineteen years, The Sekunjalo Development Foundation has hosted the annual Sekunjalo Edujazz Concert where young music students share a stage with established jazz artists from Cape Town. The annual jazz concert also serves as a platform for aspiring, young musicians from all communities in Cape Town to showcase their talent.
The Edujazz Big Band for 2019 will be under the direction of musician Amanda Tiffin. She is currently the head of jazz singing at the College of Music and will be heading up the department of Jazz Studies at UCT.
STEVE KEKANA (SA)
With over 45 albums to his credit, the latest being Wela, singer-songwriter Steve Kekana has been a consistent force in the South African music scene since the late 1970s. Born in 1958 at Bolahlakgomo, Zebediela in South Africa’s Limpopo province, he lost his sight at age five due to glaucoma, and attended a school for the blind at Silwe, at Thogwaneng south of Polokwane.
Kekana’s music has over the years featured also in movies. Since 2001, he has frequently collaborated with fellow vocalist Nana Coyote, and his links with a younger generation have been solidified through his association with the singer and producer Joe Nina, who produced his album African Lady. Kekana is an advocate by profession and was a junior lecturer at the University of South Africa’s law school.
VUMA LEVIN (SA)
Having its origins at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, the Vuma Levin Quintet is a multi-cultural band featuring various up and coming and multi-award-winning musicians on the Dutch scene. Since its inception in 2014 the outfit has performed at multiple venues and festivals in South Africa and Europe.
The ensemble has been nominated for and won prizes at various competitions including, Montreux Socar International Jazz guitar competition, The Keep an Eye Jazz Awards 2014, The Keep an Eye “The Records” Awards 2015, The AHK eindwerk Prijs 2014 and The Keep an Eye Jazz Awards 2016 and The Dutch Jazz Competition 2016.
GIPSY KINGS ft NICOLAS REYES & TONINO BALIARDO (FRANCE)
Gipsy Kings is the French-Spanish group responsible for introducing progressive pop-oriented flamenco to a worldwide audience. Since they burst onto the world music stage with their self-titled album almost three decades ago, they have toured the world, selling more than 20 million albums.
Over the years they have incorporated diverse influences into the sound - such as Latin and Cuban styles, Arabic music, reggae and jazz guitar - but what makes them a cohesive unit is how they are held together by the melding of frontmen Tonino Baliardo’s fluid guitar work and Nicolas Reyes’ powerful vocals.
JONATHAN BUTLER HOME COMING (SA)
South African-born singer-songwriter Jonathan Butler is a guitarist who spans the genres of R&B, jazz fusion, adult contemporary and worship music. His genre-busting material has earned him awards and airplay on multiple radio formats. Butler moved to the UK in the 1980s and has also lived for years in the US, maintaining a loyal fanbase in Europe, North America and South Africa.
In concert the Grammy-nominated artist draws on a vast repertoire which went down well the last time he played the CTIJF in 2009.
TUKU MUSIC - A Celebration of Oliver Mtukudzi’s life through his music (ZIM/SA)
This tribute show will commemorate the life of Oliver Mtukudzi who was originally scheduled to perform at this year’s CTIJF with Vusi Mahlasela.
Mahlasela will be joined on stage by Berita, Maduvha and Mbeu. The Sotho singer-songwriter is often called “The Voice” of South Africa and his music is generally referred to as African folk.
Zimbabwean-born, South African-based Gugulethu Khumalo is an award winning singer-songwriger who uses the stage name Berita. The Afro-soul singer shared the stage with Mtukudzi on occasion and collaborated with him and Hugh Masekela on the single Mwana Wa Mai. Born Ashton Nyahora, the Afro-fusion artist known as Mbeu was a product of Tuku’s Pakare Arts Centre in Chivero in Mashonaland West, Zimbabwe and often collaborated with Mtukudzi. They recorded the single My Better Half together. Maduvha Madima, generally better known as Queen Vele from Muvhango, is a SAMA nominated vocalist in her own right, who collaborated with Mtukudzi on the track Ndimecha on his album Eheka! Nhai Yahwe.
CHAKA KHAN (USA)
Alistair Izobell has been mesmerising audiences since he played the role of newspaper vendor Broertjie in Taliep Petersen and David Kramer’s District 6 - The Musical, as a nine-year-old in 1986.
Three years later, as a member of Ricardo and Friends, he was invited to perform Children of the World at the infamous World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo. The song was chosen as the National Anthem of UNICEF and they were special guests performing alongside the likes of Stevie Wonder and Bonnie Tyler.
In the following years, Izobell has worked with some of the most successful of South Africa’s recording artists such as Brenda Fassie, PJ Powers, Dr Victor & the Rasta Rebels and Walk This Way. He was one of the lead vocalists for The Rockets for three years and has worked on several successful musical theatre productions.
The title track of his first solo album, Venus, still receives regular airplay more than 20 years since its release and is regarded as his signature tune. Today Izobell is a sought-after producer, songwriter, comedic MC and musician with eight albums to his credit. His latest CD offering, Just Me - Net So, was released to popular acclaim.
AMANDA BLACK (SOUTH AFRICA)
Raised in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, Amanda Benedicta Antony goes by the stage name Amanda Black. The singer/songwriter sings in a mix of English and Xhosa, describing her music as Afro-soul with a fusion of hip-hop, a bit of soul and R& B. She often adorns her face with white stipples of Xhosa face paint as an expression of her roots.
Black took part in three editions of South African Idols before moving to Joburg at the beginning of 2016 to pursue her music career. The singer/songwriter achieved recognition in 2016 following the release of her hit single Amazulu, off her debut studio album, also named Amazulu. The song gained nationwide rotational radio airplay and earned her nominations in five categories at the Metro FM Music Awards, where she went on to win Best R&B Single and Listener’s Choice Award.
She also bagged Album of the Year, Best Newcomer of the Year, Best Female Artist of the Year and Best R&B Soul Reggae Album and was nominated in the Record of the Year category at the 2017 South African Music Awards.
BLINKY BILL & SIBOT'S AFROFUNK SPACESHIP (KENYA/ SOUTH AFRICA)
Blinky Bill (Bill Sellanga) is a Kenyan musician/producer/DJ and founding member of forward thinking art/music collective ‘Just a Band’, with whom he has released three albums.
He is an alumnus of the US State Music Program One Beat Music (2013) and participated at the Red Bull Music Academy Tokyo in 2014. Blinky Bill released a debut solo EP We Cut Keys While You Wait in 2016 and is currently in studio working on full length album Everyone’s Just Winging It and Other Fly Tales - supposedly a mix of Afrofunk, hip hop, jazz and electronic.
For the 2018 CTIJF Blinky Bill will collaborate with producer/composer/DJ Sibot (Simon Ringrose). The Cape Town-based artist has played a pivotal role in the emergence of electronica as a real force on the national and international music scene.
Sibot’s influence goes back to early 2000s when he collaborated with the likes of Waddy Jones (Ninja from Die Antwoord) Spoek Mathambo and Markus Wormstorm. These releases off iconic label African Dope, helped carve out a new sound in South African underground electronic music, which paved the way for much of what exists today.
CLAIRE PHILLIPS (SOUTH AFRICA)
Vocalist, songwriter, producer, Claire Phillips hails from Belhar, Cape Town. She began singing as a toddler and taught herself to play guitar, piano, saxophone, drums and bass guitar.
Nowadays Phillips leans more towards the guitar as instrument of choice, but it is her unique voice that makes her stand out. Phillips’ first foray on to the professional stage was as a cover artist, but she quickly built up a repertoire of original, self-penned work.
She became the first female South African artist to win a South African Music Award (SAMA) for a debut album when Say My Name won the Best R&B/Soul album category in 2007. Her second album was released in 2012, named By Request because of the number of people who kept on asking for her next CD.
Phillips played at the CTIJF for the first time in 2014, where she met one of her idols Jill Scott, and she has opened the stage locally for international stars such as Joe McBride, Diane Reeves and reggae icon Eddy Grant. Currently working on her third studio album, Phillips has started playing tracks off her next offering such as Holding On which features Capetonian hip hop artist Youngsta.
CORINNE BAILEY RAE (UNITED KINGDOM)
From Leeds, England, singer/songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae released her self-titled debut album in 2006, which debuted at number 1 in the UK (the fourth female British act in history to do so) and number 4 in the USA. The album features global hits Put Your Records On and Like a Star.
Her debut album and her second one - The Sea (2010) - have together, sold more than five million copies worldwide.
She embarked on her first international tour in 2006 with John Legend and played a set at the 5th 46664 concert in Joburg in 2007, but has not performed in South Africa since. In 2008, she won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year, for her work as a featured artist on Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters and in 2012 she won a Best R&B Performance Grammy Award for her take on the Bob Marley classic, Is This Love.
In May 2016, she released her third studio album, The Heart Speaks in Whispers. Her literature studies (instead of music) at university, shine through in her songwriting, which tends towards narratives examining the trajectory of emotion, perfectly suiting her laid back style of languid enunciation over jazz-informed ballads.
espYOUNGLEGEND 2018 winner - JARRAD RICKETTS (SOUTH AFRICA)
Multi-disciplinarian Jarrad Rickets, has tried everything from performing in art installations to acting, but singing seems to be netting him the most success.
Born and raised in Cape Town, Rickets has carved out a career as an on-board entertainer, performing regularly on the Baltic Sea on the Tallink Silja Cruise Ship. In 2012, he led a six-month solo show while based on Menorca Island, Spain, performing at theatres and hotels.
Locally, he has leveraged a corporate events career, playing a mix of covers and original material, that has garnered him a popular following across the country. He was one of the cast members of David Kramer’s Orpheus in Africa, which was first performed at the Fugard Theatre and created and performed in music show Cape Town Crooners at the 2017 Suidoostefees.
Rickets was crowned the winner of the third annual espYoungLegends 2018 competition. This is what garnered him a billing at the 19th annual CTIJF. Rickets’ self-penned single New Life is currently receiving extensive local radio air play.
JORDAN RAKEI (NEW ZEALAND)
Born in New Zealand, Jordan Rakei’s family moved to Australia when he was three-years-old, but he still identifies as New Zealander and attributes the country’s music, along with classic pop and R&B from the United States as a major influence.
The 25-year-old’s assured soulful, jazz, hip-hop driven sound draws not only on his skill as a vocalist but as a multi-instrumentalist. At 18 he self-released his debut EP Franklin’s Room in 2013 via Bandcamp. The 2014 EP Groove Curse received strong support from North America and Europe and Rakei made the pilgrimage to London where the self-confessed introvert, forced himself to throw himself into the music scene.
His debut album Cloak (2016) propelled him to tour across Europe, the UK, Asia and Australia. Getting to know the South London dance scene led to the EP Joy, Ease, Lightness in 2016 under the alias Dan Kye. Signing to the Ninja Tunes label, he travelled to the US for a 2017 tour in support of his latest LP, the left-field soul album Wallflower.
KEENAN AHRENDS QUINTET (SOUTH AFRICA)
Keenan Ahrends is a jazz guitarist and composer who started playing at the age of 15. He completed his jazz performance studies at the University of Cape Town and the Norwegian Academy of Music in 2009, and has further studied with Jon Eberson, Wayne Bosch, Eckhard Baur, Alvin Dyers and Andrew Lilly. He has played internationally in Norway, Sweden, Reunion and Nigeria, and is a regular participant at South African jazz and arts festivals.
Cape Town born, Keenan recently relocated to Johannesburg. There, he has collaborated with established musicians such as Louis Moholo, Feya Faku, Andile Yenana, Carlo Mombelli, Afrika Mkhize, Herbie Tsoaeli, Buddy Wells, Mark Fransman, Shane Cooper and Kevin Gibson.
In February 2017, Keenan released his debut album, Narrative. With personal influences of grunge and rock from his teenage days, a passion for free improvisation, a love for deeply toned ballads and a resonance with the roots of traditional South African sounds, Ahrends brings a fresh energy to the local jazz scene that pays homage to and respects, his roots, but is still inimically his own.
LOUIS MOHOLO - MOHOLO presents 5 BLOKES 1 DOLL (SOUTH AFRICA)
Legendary drummer, Louis Moholo Moholo presents Kyle Shepherd (piano), Shakeel Sohail-Gibran Cullis (bass), Siya Makuzeni (vocals and trombone), Nhlanhla Mahlangu (saxophone) and Abraham Mennen (saxophone).
Born Louis Tebogo Moholo in Cape Town in 1940, Moholo formed The Blue Notes with Nikele Moyake, Chris McGregor, Johnny Dyani, Mongezi Feza and Dudu Pukwana in the early 1960s. After migrating to Europe in 1964, and an eventful trip to Argentina, he stayed on in London. There he formed part of a South African exile community that made an important contribution to British/European Jazz.
With more than 100 recordings and a discography that stretches back to 1962, Moholo remains in demand not only from his peers, but a younger generation. His first album under his own name, Spirits Rejoice, is a classic example of the combination of British and South African players. In 2004, he was awarded the South African national honour - the Order of Ikhamanga Silver - for his achievement in jazz, contribution to developing music in South African townships and defiance of apartheid laws by forming a multi-racial group. Moholo returned to South Africa in 2005 and now resides in Langa.
MABUTA (SOUTH AFRICA)
Mabuta is the new live band offering from award-winning bassist and composer, Shane Cooper. Formed in 2017 by Cooper, the group features some of South Africa's top jazz musicians including Bokani Dyer (piano and synths), Sisonke Xonti (tenor sax), Robin Fassie-Kock (trumpet), Marlon Witbooi (drums) and special guest Reza Khota (guitar).
Shane Cooper was the Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz in 2013 and won a South African Music Award for Best Jazz Album of the Year in 2014, playing with his quintet that year on the CTIJF stage. This new quintet are all old friends. Dyer (son of Steve Dyer and himself Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz 2011) often joins Cooper for live Card on Spokes performances (Cooper’s electronic music band). Dyer often plays with Witbooi and Cooper on his own trio and Fassie-Kock’s quintet also features Cooper on bass. Xonke’s recent debut album, Iyonde, also features Cooper.
Multi-award winning Khota and Cooper got acquainted as part of Babu as well as in The Reza Khota Quartet. Mabuta's sound will draw from jazz, world music and electronic music influences and their debut album is due for release in February 2018.
MI CASA (SOUTH AFRICA)
Formed in 2010 and based in Joburg, MiCasa are lead singer/songwriter J’Something (Joao Fonseca), producer/DJ/keyboardist Dr Duda (Sipho Phillemon Mphahlaza) and trumpeter Mo-T (Moshe Kgasoane). Their vibe is soulful house and live performances are energetic and fun.
Over the past seven years, the trio has played sold out shows in 31 African countries as well as Portugal, the UK, Netherlands, Italy and Canada. Achievements include playing at US President Barack Obama’s inauguration; being nominated for MTV EMA’s Best Africa Group and Best Group in 2016; and three MTV Africa Music Award Nominations for Artist of the Year, Best Group and Song of the Year (Jika).
The song Jika, was the number one most played song in Africa for 13 weeks. They are the recipients of five South African Music Awards, including Best Duo Group, Best Dance Group and Record of the Year. Mi Casa released their 4th studio album, Familia, in August 2017. Collaborations with the likes of C4 Pedro, Yemi Alade and Kenyan favourites Sauti Sol show that the band are in tune with the musical pulse of Africa and 2018 will see them embark on a Legacy Tour across Africa.
MILES MOSLEY (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
Miles Mosley is an upright bassist, vocalist, producer, composer and arranger. As a teenager, he played bass for the Grammy All-American High School Jazz Band & Choir, then studied at the Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles, receiving his undergraduate degree in music at UCLA.
Since then, the Californian has expanded his repertoire to master the bass and a vast array of instruments, blending jazz with rock, funk and R&B. He successfully combines bow work, pedal effects and an, ‘in-your-face’ dexterity that has created his unique signature sound - .a blend of jazz, soul, funk and rock.
A founding member of the acclaimed collective, The West Coast Get Down, Mosley has released albums containing his own solo work plus recorded and toured with artists such as Lauryn Hill, Jonathan Davis (Korn), Kendrick Lamar, India Arie, Chris Cornell and Common. His newest project with West Coast Get Down drummer Tony Austin - a duo called BFI - is best described as a mix of soul and rock. In 2016, he signed a multi-album deal with iconic label Universal Music/Verve Label Group and embarked on a world tour in support of his latest album, Uprising.
MULATU ASTATKE (ETHOPIA)
Hailed as the father of Ethio-jazz, Mulatu Astatke became the first student from Africa to enrol at Boston Berklee College of Music, where he studied vibraphone and percussion in the 1960s. His first two albums - Afro-Latin Soul, Volumes 1 & 2 were virtually indistinguishable from other Latin-jazz records released in 1966, but some tracks foreshadow his later work.
In the early 70s he brought this new sound, which he called Ethio-jazz, to his homeland while still working in the US. He recorded in New York and Ethiopia, with Yekatit Ethio Jazz, being the album that strongly demonstrated his skill at creating a hybrid sound drawing on traditional Ethiopian music and American jazz, funk and soul.
The Ethiopian civil war of the 70s, forced many Ethio-jazz luminaries to flee their country and by the 80s his music was largely forgotten outside of his home-country. Fortunately, early 90s record collectors re-discovered his work with the first Ethiopiques CD reissue to feature a single artist being Astatke. Ever since, Astatke has not only been sampled extensively by hip hop artists, but he has worked on bigger and bigger collaborations and performances around the world.
NDUDUZO MAKHATHINI: INNER DIMENSIONS COLLECTIVE (SOUTH AFRICA / SWISS)
Born into a musical family to a pianist mother and guitar-playing father, Nduduzo Makhathini took to music naturally. He got his first taste for performing thanks to one of his father’s isicathamiya groups, while his mother made sure he was steeped in the life of choirs and church music.
Makhathini became the Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz 2015 just days before he launched his first two albums, Sketches of Tomorrow and Mother Tongue, conceived at different times but released together. His third album, Listening to the Ground was nominated for best jazz album at the South African Music Awards in 2016. Album number 5, Inner Dimensions, won best jazz album at the 2017 SAMA’s as well as best traditional jazz album at the Mzantsi Jazz Awards 2017.
Makhathini is adamant that his is improvised music, rather than just plain jazz. The name of his newest and eighth album, Ikhambi, reflects his belief that songs can lead to healing. Ikhambi means herbal concoction.
NICHOLAS PAYTON: AFRO-CARIBBEAN MIXTAPE (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
New Orleans-born trumpeter, keyboardist, singer and composer Nicholas Payton, is a dynamic performer, steeped in acoustic jazz and post-bop, whose music often finds him exploring genres beyond the confines of the jazz tradition.
Payton burst onto the New Orleans jazz scene a quarter of a century ago, whilst still a teenager. He started studying at the University of New Orleans with pianist Ellis Marsalis but left to take up a travelling gig with drummer Elvin Jones. He began his solo recording career with Verve Records, who released From This Moment in 1994 and Gumbou Nouveau the next year. A year later, he appeared alongside his jazz contemporaries in director Robert Altman’s film Kansas City.
Over the years, Payton has delved into straight-ahead jazz, post-bop, funk and R&B-influenced sounds and on his 2011 album, Bitches, he not only composed and arranged the entire work, but played every instrument and provided all vocals. Most recently in 2016, Payton returned to a full band-oriented approach with the hip-hop and spoken word-inflected The Egyptian Second Line. And this year he delivered another highly inventive hip-hop and world music-influenced production, Afro-Caribbean Mixtape.
NICKY SCHRIRE (SOUTH AFRICA)
NICKY SCHRIRE (South Africa)
Nicky Schrire completed her undergraduate studies at UCT’s College of Music before moving on to a Masters degree from New York’s Manhattan School of Music.
She has performed in New York, Los Angeles, Dublin and across South Africa with musicians ranging from Arno Carstens to Sibongile Khumalo, Card on Spokes to Grammy nominated pianists Gerald Clayton and Gil Goldstein. Schrire released albums Freedom Flight (2012), Space and Time (2013) and EP To The Spring (2014) in quick succession, receiving glowing reviews.
Comparisons of these three works to the stylings of Joni Mitchell, Becca Stevens and Tori Amos encouraged Schrire to delve more into the folk genre and she recorded the five song EP An Education, in 2015, with long-time collaborator and friend, cellist Ariella Caira. Schrire is based in Cape Town where she composes in multiple genres and performs regularly.
R&R=NOW: ROBERT GLASPER, TERRACE MARTIN, CHRISTIAN SCOFF, DERRICK HODGE, TAYLOR McFERRIN, JUSTIN TYSON (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
Robert Glasper is a multi-award winning (three Grammys and currently nominated for an Emmy), hip-hop inspired pianist and record producer from Texas with a knack for mellow yet harmonically complex compositions. Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, actor and record producer, Terrace Martin’s sounds encompass funk and jazz to classical and soul via hip hop and a dash of pop for good measure who is as adept at rapping as he is playing the saxophone.
Christian Scott is a Grammy Award nominated trumpeter, composer and producer from New Orleans. He has been planning the recent release of The Centennial Trilogy to mark the 100-year anniversary of the first jazz recording since he was a child.
Derrick Hodge is a celebrated composer and bassist equally adept on upright and electric instruments. Though best known as a member of the Robert Glasper Experiment, Hodge is an accomplished session musician who works extensively in R&B and jazz. A talented drummer currently residing in New York, Justin Tyson is a Berklee College alumni who has played for Jesse J and Mos Def and works as permanent drummer for both Esperanza Spalding and Now vs Now. Also New York based, Taylor McFerrin is a multi-instrumentalist, keyboardist and beatboxer who usually tours as a one man show, relying on sampling and chopping up his live takes.
SEKUNJALO EDUJAZZ BAND (SOUTH AFRICA)
Over the past 18-years, The Sekunjalo Development Foundation has hosted the annual Sekunjalo Edujazz Concert for young music students to share a stage with established jazz artists from Cape Town.
Programme founder Donovan Witten, initially shared his vision with Dr Iqbal Survé and together they established the Sekunjalo Edujazz Project to promote development of jazz music in schools on the Cape Flats. Past alumni include the likes of Kyle Shepherd, Darren English, Claude Cozens, Don Vino Prins and Lana Crowster. Mentors who have conducted workshops include; Alvyn Dyers, Camillo Lombard, Amanda Tiffin, Sammy Weber and Shannon Mowday while music educators including Frank Paco and Andrew Ford.
This year the Edujazz Big Band will be directed by Kelly Bell – the first female to lead the band. Bell is a Cape Town-based performing artist who regularly tours with artists including Israel, New Breed, Sibongile Khumalo and Danish bassist Ida Gormsen
THE SETTLERS HIGH SCHOOL BAND (SOUTH AFRICA)
The Settlers High School boasts three jazz bands that have over the years, produced some of South Africa’s finest jazz and pop genre talents. The Dynamix Jazz Band started afresh in 2017 with a completely new line-up of first-time players with ‘Jazz on the Lawn 2017,’ their debut performance.
The band is under the direction of music educator and musician, Tracey Johannes, herself a past pupil of The Settlers High School and a University of Cape Town graduate.
Some of the previous band members were selected for the All-Star Band who performed at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival’s free concert on Green Market Square in 2015 and 2017.
Their repertoire ranges from well-known jazz standards and African music, to local and international jazz, Latin and pop covers. They participate in espAfrika’s Youth Training and Development Programme as part of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, and as a result of their commitment to the programme and outstanding development, they have been afforded an opportunity to play on the main stage at this year’s CTIJF.
Previous senior band members of The Dynamix Jazz Band have gone on to further their studies in music at UCT’s prestigious South African College of Music and the acclaimed Music Conservatory at the University of Stellenbosch.
SEU JORGE presents THE LIFE AQUATIC / A TRIBUTE TO DAVID BOWIE (BRAZIL)
A Brazilian singer/songwriter/actor born Jorge Mario da Silva in 1970, Seu Jorge was raised in the city of Belford Roxo near Rio de Janeiro. He cites samba schools and Stevie Wonder as major musical influences and is credited by many, as a ‘renewer’ of Brazilian pop samba.
Jorge learned to act at Rio’s state university theatre company and saved up to buy his first acoustic guitar in the early 90s. Subsequently, he became a well-known personality on the Brazilian music scene - as the front man of the group Farofa Carioca and eventually released a solo debut, Samba Esporto Fino, in 2001, which was renamed Carolina in the United States. This album found Jorge creating a distinct musical blend by marrying Brazilian samba to other genres.
Jorge gained exposure through his work as an actor, appearing in City of God (2002) and in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zisso (2004), in which he played a deckhand who played guitar and sang. He provided much of the film’s soundtrack in the form of Portuguese language cover versions of David Bowie classics. A 2005 recording The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions featured stripped down versions of many of Bowie’s older works.
SISONKE XONTI (SOUTH AFRICA)
Sisonke Xonti fell in love with the saxophone at the age of 13. He was introduced to jazz three years later when he joined Cape Town based, The Little Giants, led by George Werner and the late Ezra Ngcukana, in 2004.
That same year, he was selected to be a part of the Schools Big Band at the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown. Three years on he was chosen for the National Youth Band, for the first time under the leadership of Dr Andrew Lilley. He has since played and collaborated with an array of musicians including Jimmy Dludlu, Victor Ntoni, Lira, Neo Muyanga, Bheki Khoza, Abdullah Ibrahim and The Cape Town Jazz Orchestra, Kyle Shepherd, Bokani Dyer, Marcus Wyatt and Simphiwe Dana.
A band leader in his own right, Xonti recently released his debut album, Iyonde and is planning a SADEC tour.
THE FEYA FAKU SPIRIT UNIT (SOUTH AFRICA)
Fezile (Feya) Faku was born in 1962 in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth. He started playing the trumpet with no formal training and picked up theory and practical lesson from various artists around his home stomping ground.
In 1992, he completed a Performer’s Diploma in Jazz Studies at the then University of Natal, under Darius Brubeck and his career started taking off. Over the years, Faku - an accomplished composer, trumpeter and flugelhorn player - has released several solo albums and collaborated with a multitude of local and international artists. He has worked with SA legends such as Thandie Claasen, Basil Coetzee, Bheki Mseleku and Abdullah Ibrahim.
Based in SA Faku regularly travels overseas and has toured the US extensively with SA group Uhadi and with Kesivan Naidoo & the lights. Since 1994, Faku has maintained a relationship with the Dutch Paul van Kemenade Quintet and participated in a number of teaching and fellowship programmes on ensemble work and the trumpet.
In 2015, he launched Feya Faku + Spirit Jazz Orchestra, which was recorded live at the SABC2 M2 Studio, and released as a DVD and documentary of his musical journey. In 2016, he released le Ngoma, recorded in Switzerland with his Swiss quintet - the Feya Faku Quintet.
THE LOUIZ BANKS QUARTET (INDIA)
While he came from a musical family and studied piano at a college in Darjeeling Louiz Bank, really hit his stride when he discovered jazz in Calcutta in the late 1960s. There he started performing at the Hindustan Hotel, which led to an invite to play at the Blue Fox Restaurant, a popular nightclub famous for its patronage of Western Music. Here he began composing advertising jingles and stage musicals, something he continues to do to this day.
It is also where he met RD Burman, who invited him to join his troupe in Mumbai where he helped to popularise live jazz in nightclubs. In 1979, he formed the Indo-Jazz Ensemble with Goan saxoponist Braz Gonsalves, composing music on Indian classical scales and jazz rhythms and incorporating instruments such as the ghatam and thavil. In the 80s he was part of the jazz quartet in the orchestra. which performed with Ravi Shankar in his suite Jazzmine at the Jazz Yatra Festival.
Banks has scored several films and his 2008 collaboration as arranger/pianist on the Miles Davis tribute album Miles from India was nominated in the best contemporary jazz album category at the Grammy Awards in 2008.
THE SOIL (SOUTH AFRICA)
A capella 3-member group, The Soil, are Buhlebendalo Mda, Luphindo Ngxanga and Ntsika Fana Ngxanga. The group insists that a fourth member of their band exists in a spiritual form as ‘The Creator of all’.
Their music features a mix of jazz, hip hop, Afro-pop and Afro-soul. They tend to employ a rhythmic vocal bass line with constant beat boxing, while the remaining voices contribute a choral and polyphonic accompaniment and each one takes a turn in solo vocal performances.
The Soil released their self-titled debut album in 2012, followed by a deluxe edition the next year. In 2013 they released a live DVD/CD called, Reflections: Live in !Joburg and in 2014, they released their second album, Nostalgic Moments, which was nominated for Best R&B Soul Reggae Album at the South African Music Awards 2015. They also recorded a track (Hamba Uyosebenza) with Ladysmith Black Mambazo in 2014, which was nominated for Best Collaboration at SAMA 2015.
They released their third studio album, Echoes of Kofifi, in 2016. The Soil has played Womad Festival in Chile and The Sacred Festival in India in 2016 and toured Australia and New Zealand in 2017
TROMBONE SHORTY (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
Born into a musical family steeped in jazz, Trombone Shorty, born Troy Andrews, was encouraged to pick up the trombone because there were already several trumpeters in the family. The multi-instrumentalist however, plays trombone and trumpet, as well as drums, organ and the tuba and has toured with his own band, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue since 2009.
The 31-year-old started participating in brass band parades as a child, played shows abroad with the Neville Brothers as a teenager, and fresh out of high school, joined Lenny Kravitz’s band. Three Trombone Shorty albums and many collaborations later, Andrews has nurtured a voracious appetite for all types of music - a phenomenon on display with Parking Lot Symphony, his first Blue Note Record released in 2017.
In the last four years, Andrews has backed Macklemore and Madonna at the Grammys; played on albums by She & Him and Mark Ronson; opened tours for Daryl Hall & John Oates and Red Hot Chili Peppers; appeared in Foo Fighters' Sonic Highways documentary series; voiced adult characters in The Peanuts Movie; and released Trombone Shorty, a children's book about his life that was named a Caldecott Honor Book in 2016.
VIJAY IYER SEXTET (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
Vijay Iyer is an American jazz pianist, composer, band leader, producer, electronic musician and writer based in New York. The son of Tamil immigrants to the US, the Grammy-nominated Iyer - Professor of the Arts in the Department of Music at Harvard University, and 2013 MacArthur "Genius" Fellow - composes and performs prolifically. Iyer has released 21 albums, working with his trio, with a string quartet, in a duo ensemble with trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, and in numerous other configurations. He was named Downbeat Magazine’s Jazz Artist of the Year for 2012, 2015, and 2016 and Pianist of the Year in 2014.
Iyer's latest record release Far From Over (ECM Records/2017) with the Vijay Iyer Sextet, has received critical raves from around the world. The only jazz album in Rolling Stone Magazine's "Best 50 Albums of the Year", Far From Over has been called "rambunctious, furiously funny" (L.A. Times); "a five-star masterpiece" (Helsingen Sanomat); and "spine-tingling jazz for heart, head and feet" (The Guardian). The sextet, consisting of Iyer's long-time, powerful rhythm section of Stephan Crump (bass) and Marcus Gilmore (drums), fronted by three stellar horn players (Graham Haynes, Steve Lehman and Mark Shim) is "a dream team of cutting-edge improvisors" (Rolling Stone). This is the band that will be playing in Capetown. This is indeed "A band for the ages" (San Diego Union Tribune).
INCOGNITO (UNITED KINGDOM)
Incognito’s undying love for funky jazz turned their acid jazz repertoire into epic anthems. Frontman Jean-Paul 'Bluey' Maunick leads this cool ensemble, which has embarked on numerous fresh directions over time, producing winning material and unforgettable live shows. Expect a slick set chock-a-bloc with party spinners and smooth fusion.
MANNY WALTERS (SOUTH AFRICA)
There’s an intensity to Manny Walters that’s rooted in the legacy of rhythm ’n blues, and enhanced by modern-day soul rock nuances. This local singer-songwriter and semi-acoustic guitarist delivers a focused set of works that draws on the seminal sounds of Richie Havens, Nina Simone, Tracy Chapman and Curtis Mayfield. Manny’s standout gritty voice steers his electric rhythm & blues/alt soul playlist with socially conscious lyricism and a gravitas that reels in the listener.
MIGUEL ATWOOD-FERGUSON: SUITE FOR MA DUKES (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
The range of Miguel Atwood-Ferguson’s work is vast, having contributed to over 500 recordings and scores with notable musicians such as Ray Charles, Flying Lotus, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Bilal, Seu Jorge, and Thundercat, and 1000’s of live concerts.
He effortlessly bridges genres and generations of cultural elements into cohesive, magical presentations. He has performed, toured and recorded with ensembles ranging from electronic to avant-garde, jazz, classical, hip hop and pop. Atwood-Ferguson bridges orchestral textures with elements of soul, jazz, hip hop and improv. Hear him in Miguel Atwood-Ferguson: Suite for Ma Dukes – his tribute to hip hop MC/producer J Dilla.
Enigmatically soulful international recording and performing artist N8N, counts himself amongst the lucky few who gets to do what he loves most: entertain. N8N has dedicated his life to honing his craft; a process which has afforded him the opportunity to travel the world. But, it was his love for the Mother City, which he considers his second home, that inspired him to write and release a tribute fittingly entitled Cape Town at the end of 2017.
The track was born of a collaboration with Grammy award-winning producer Andre Harris and a-list song-writer Carmen Reece and features on his upcoming EP [Second 2 None}, which is due to be released in spring 2018.
SEKUNJALO DELFT BIG BAND (SOUTH AFRICA)
The Sekunjalo Delft Big Band is a vibrant and experienced 20-piece band with a vast repertoire. Established in 2008, after an initiative by the Department of Social Development and an NGO, called COAST (Cape Outdoor Adventure Service and Training), aimed at offering vulnerable youngsters from Delft an alternative to the anti-social influences around them. The band plays all genres of music, having a repertoire of more than 300 numbers. All members of the band can sight-read at the level of professional musicians.
Very few of them have ever had an individual music lesson. Everything they have learnt has been taught in big band rehearsals. Members of the band have undertaken two tours of Sweden, a tour of France, and performances at the Liverpool Brouhaha Festival, the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival and the London Jazz Festival.
SIBUSISO MASHILOANE (SOUTH AFRICA)
Radiating South African heritage sounds and universal jazz influences, Sibusiso "Mash" Mashiloane, explores the repertoires of Bheki Mseleku, Andile Yenana and Moses Molelekwa along with his Zulu-styled blues and neo-soul, swing-bop and hip hop inflections and will reinforce the tones of Africa at the CTIJF.
SIMPHIWE DANA (SOUTH AFRICA)
Simphiwe Dana’s eye-catching imagery may project a fragility and beauty specific to this global chart-topper, but it’s her unique signature sound that confirms her status as a phenomenal artist. Her profound amalgam of jazzy Afro soul with traditional music is utterly distinctive – truly the hallmark of a remarkable musician.
THE LIBERATION PROJECT ACOUSTIC BAND (SOUTH AFRICA)
The Liberation Project is part of a broader Liberation Project driven from South Africa, which features musicians who’ve joined forces to celebrate their liberation struggles from different corners of the world. This line-up has been specially commissioned by the CTIJF and their festival set is dedicated to Ray Phiri.
This interesting pool of musicians combines Sipho Hotstix Mabuse (vox, sax, piano, flute), Tony Cedras (accordion, trumpet), Neill Solomon (vox, piano, acoustic guitar), Dan Chiorboli (perc), Tebogo Sedumedi (vox, bass), DRC kwassa kwassa star Bienvenue N’Seka (vox, guitar), Keeran Eshwarlall (Sufi vox, harmonium, santoor, harmonica) with special guest Roger Lucey on vox and acoustic guitar.
THE SURGE (SOUTH AFRICA / RUSIA / SLOVAKIA / MOROCCO / UNITED STATES OF AMERICA/ / KYRGYZSTAN)
The Surge is a product of OneBeat, an incubator for social entrepreneurship where innovative musicians launch collaborations designed to make a positive impact. An array of rare instruments also makes this Surge gig definitely one to head to. Trumpeter Mandla Mlangeni lends his weight to the outfit, while Abbay Misganaw, aka Haile Supreme, is a Washington D.C.-based rapper and member of Congo Sanchez – a hip hop group that synthesizes reggae, dub and Latin funk.
Mehdi Nassouli is a guembri player with a passion for preserving Moroccan music who’s devoted to studying deqqa, a traditional form of art from Taroudant. Jan Kruzliak is a Bratislava-based violinist.
His group La3noCubano performed free concerts in refugee camps. Sergey Balashoa drv is ummer from Moscow specializing in improvisation. Aisaana Omorova has studied the instruments of Kyrgyzstan (komuz, jaw harp and choor), apprenticing with Zainidin Imanaliev. Jeremy Thal, Co-Founder & Artistic Director of Found Sound Nation, is a horn player and educator. All in all, a unified excursion into the unknown.
“THE BOY'S DOIN' IT" A CELEBRATION OF HUGH MASEKELA'S LIFE & MUSIC" (SOUTH AFRICA)
“The Boy’s Doin’ It “A Celebration of Hugh Masekela’s Life & Music (SOUTH AFRICA)
Few African musicians have captured the essence of the continent’s sound as has Hugh Masekela (1939 – 2018). For 78 years, South Africa was gifted with a phenomenal innovator who impacted African jazz with a unique brass tone and storytelling style that transcended the societal divide.
For CTIJF 2018, a potent line-up of some of the country’s best players will present “The Boy’s Doin’ It “A Celebration of Hugh Masekela’s Life & Music (SA), highlighting the genius of this in fluential trumpeter, flugelhorn-player, singer and composer. Whether he was breathing life into poignant heritage jazz or collaborating with hip young stars, this legend created timeless music which resonated with young and old.
This tribute will revisit the work of this remarkable showman, showcasing his succinct lyricism. Festival goers can expect evergreens from the Masekela songbook – township anthems that carry the weight of our history but live on to inspire and convey the abundant joy of rootsy Afro fusion.
TANK AND THE BANGAS (USA)
New Orleans act Tank and the Bangas (USA) has a knack for combining styles—fiery soul, deft hip hop, deep-groove R&B and subtle jazz - into one dazzling, cohesive whole that evokes the scope of New Orleans music while retaining a unique feel of its own. “It’s music that can’t really be put in a box,” says singer/poet Tarriona “Tank” Ball. Her charisma helped the five-piece win NPR’s 2017 Tiny Desk Concert Contest, plus a signing to Verve Records.
Ball came up in the slam poetry scene before meeting band mates Merell Burkett (keys), Joshua Johnson (drums), Norman Spence (bass) and Albert Allenback (alto sax). Each of the band’s gigs is different. “One show will feel very electronic or hip hop, and another will feel slow and vibey, and then another will just be poetry and off-the-cuff riffs,” adds Johnson.
Southern swagger, Jamaican blood, with a South African name, Masego (USA) is a Gumbo of culture and creativity. His music is best described as TrapHouseJazz. Masego’s journey began on YouTube. He put 10,000 hours in live looping with his saxophone, beat machine and keyboard.
Masego used to rip beats from SoundCloud's future beat and house producers, added saxophone over them, then headed to Instagram to dedicate the song to a curly hair beauty from his explore page. His soulful singing and his jazzy personality coloured every track and heart and caught the attention of many producers like Kaytranada, Sounwav, and new greats like KRS-One and Medasin.
BLACK MOTION (SA)
The house and hip hop rap of dance/electro duo Black Motion (SA) has seen them clinch SAMA Awards for Best Duo/Group of the Year and Best Dance Album. Smol and DJ Murder teamed up to form Black Motion in 2010. Their breakthrough came when they joined Spirit Motion and produced the hit single Banane Mavoko.
Dj Oskido went on to license the song for his compilation CD Oskido’s 10th Commandment. Together these musos explore the dynamism and synchronicity of their musical careers. Their album highlights have included Talking to the Drums, Fortune Teller and Ya Badimo – house music for the ancestors.
DARREN ENGLISH (SA/USA)
Trumpeter Darren English was born in Cape Town in 1990. He started exploring music at Muizenberg High School and went on to study at UCT, where his closest playing partner was probably drummer Claude Cozens. With Cozens, he spent time studying in Norway, and appeared at the Norwegian Folk Festival in 2009. English credits much of his professional progress to his willingness to test and hone his skills at jam sessions in and around Cape Town. From that came many musical partnerships and invitations to gig, including a two-year touring stint with Jimmy Dludlu and work with Mark Fransman, Feya Faku and the late Robbie Jansen and Zim Ngqawana, among others.
English appeared at the Grahamstown Jazz Festival and at an early incarnation of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, where he also featured last year as part of Nduduzo Makhathini’s Listening to the Ground project. English was a two-time winner of the Fine Music Radio Award, and in 2012 scooped the SAMRO Overseas Scholarship, which supplemented his scholarship at Georgia State University. He graduated with a Masters in Jazz Studies and is now based in Atlanta. In 2014 he featured with Grammy nominee Russell Gunn’s Krunk Orchestra at the Atlanta Jazz Festival – one of his many collaborations subsequently across jazz (where his regular saxophone partner is New York Jazz Award winner Gregory Tardy), hip hop and contemporary pop music. Jazz Times has said the work on his debut album, Imagine Nation (with pianist Kenny Banks Jr, bassist Billy Thornton, drummer Chris Burroughs and guests), represents “a force and a voice to be heard and understood”. English is the youngest artist ever to be signed to top Atlanta label Hot Shoe Records. He told Kaya-FM’s Brenda Sisane, “Music can’t be pretentious – especially jazz. Be as honest as you can be, for the song’s sake.”
DOPE SAINT JUDE (SA)
Rap artist and activist Dope Saint Jude (Catherine Saint Jude Pretorious) began rapping as a teenager on the Cape Flats, rapidly developing to write her own songs and later designing innovative live presentations. Coming from a Catholic home, with a father who listened to classical music, her sounds draw from a wide palette. She first made waves with the 2014 Hit Politik, followed by The Golden Ratio, and in 2015 released Keep in Touch featuring Angel-Ho.
She recently dropped her first EP, Reimagine of which reviewer Sabelo Mkhabela said: “a tapestry of emotions – it’s the story of someone living – going through things, spending time with loved ones, getting pissed off by some things and celebrating wins.” Dope Saint Jude is an articulate advocate for feminism, and has lectured on hip hop’s role as a vehicle for social commentary. Music scholar Adam Haupt has credited her with “transforming South African hip hop by queering a genre that has predominantly been male and heteronormative.” She has also facilitated an arts education community project, iNtombi Workshop, in Elsie’s River. Dope Saint Jude was chosen by MIA to be part of international retailer H&M’s awareness-raising campaign video for World Recycle Week in April 2016. In her own words to website OkayAFRICA: “I’m a Cape Flats girl, but now I’m going to America and France. And I think about where my mother and grandmother came from – cleaning houses – it’s my right to flex. It’s a political act.”
EN VOGUE (USA)
It’s back to the future with all-female RnB group En Vogue, who have sold more than 20 million records to date, starting with their 1990 debut album Born to Sing, which produced the smash hit Hold On, right through to today’s powerhouse vocal outing Déjà Vu, their first single outing in five years. En Vogue have won seven MTV Music Awards, three Soul Train Awards, and two American Music Awards, as well as receiving seven Grammy nominations. In March 2015, Billboard named them the ninth most successful female group of all time. The roots of the music of these ‘real funky divas’ lie in Oakland, California where, in the late 1980s, producers assembled a quartet that they hoped could re-ignite the style, vocal talent and sass of mid-Twentieth Century female vocal groups.
The singers they selected more than fulfilled that promise. En Vogue are credited with originating the innovative blend of soul and hip hop that was dubbed ‘New Jill Swing” in the 1990s. The stresses of an extremely hardworking touring career have led to several personnel switches over the years, and the departure of two original members. Currently, En Vogue is a trio comprising of original members Cindy Herron-Braggs and Terry Ellis, and featuring Rhona Bennett. The UK Guardian’s Caroline Sullivan described a 2015 London performance as demonstrating how they remain “the girls next door…who make a point of having fun… [but still] make you marvel at their technique.” As for En Vogue themselves, they still love the musical life: “We absolutely love singing. We’re not done just yet. We’re absolutely not ready to put the mics down!” Herron-Braggs told UK publication The Voice online.
Escalandrum is an Argentine sextet led by drummer Daniel ‘Pipi’ Piazzola, grandson of the man who pioneered a revolution in tango music for new urban audiences back in the 1940s. That grandfather, Astor Piazzola, a classically-trained bandoneon player, introduced modern techniques such as chromatic harmony and paved the way for ‘tango nuevo’ (the new tango) to spread beyond its homeland and enchant world music audiences everywhere. Astor’s son Daniel was also a musician, and so grandson Pipi grew up in a house full of jazz and tango, spending many evenings backstage as his father and grandfather performed. Escalandrum was initially formed in 1999 by Pipi and a group of friends who simply loved to jam together, taking its name from a mash-up of the name of a local sand-shark (the Piazzola family love to fish) and the word ‘drum’.
The group has nine albums to its credit so far – most recently Piazzola Project with guest vocalist Elena Roger. They have toured more than 20 countries and won multiple awards in their homeland, as well as securing a Latin Grammy nomination for their 2011 album Piazzola plays Piazzola. Escalandrum’s music is not simply a revival of tango tradition; it draws inspiration from global as well as local beats, and from folklore as well as city music. Piazzola’s fascination is with claves: the rhythmic patterns used to organise Afro-Cuban, and this plus jazz led the New York Latin Jazz website to declare that he was taking “his grandfather’s tango nuevo in an entirely new direction”. But Piazzola remains conscious of his roots and the tango aesthetic; “It’s in my blood. It’s in the air – and what’s in the air sticks to you.”
ERNIE SMITH (SA)
A multiple SAMA, KORA and Metro music award winner, guitarist Ernie Smith, was born in Durban and began playing in his early teens. At that time, his listening was wide, taking in both the experimental approaches of Pat Metheny and the easy listening sounds of George Benson, as well as many others. Closer to home, legendary Durban veteran Sandile Shange and Jonathan Butler were both heroes. From this mix, Smith took the lesson that he had to craft his own voice; a voice that could blend jazz, African and popular influences into a unique personal sound.
He released his first album, Child of the Light in 2001, followed the next year by Lovely Things, My African Heart (where Butler guested) and then Everything Around Me. His most recent album, Time for Love, reached out to an international audience through his signing to SAIG Entertainment in New Orleans. Ernest Kelly, owner of SAIG and a well-known name on the American jazz scene, said of Ernie that he “brings a unique sound to an American market looking for something new and inspiring. His sophisticated, African-infused contemporary style has already been warmly welcomed.” Smith is also much in demand as a producer, not only of his own material, also but for countless other artists, with his Child of the Light studio in Johannesburg already becoming a hub for a diverse range of SA talent. Billboard’s Diane Coetzer said of Smith’s debut: “[he] is the perfect 21st century artist…offering up a musical melting pot that’s destined to find fans across a wide spectrum of music tastes.” For Smith, the secret of his success is to “work on your craft every day and learn as much as you can about what it’s going to take to get you to where you want to go.”
GRETCHEN PARLATO (USA)
American Jazz singer Gretchen Parlato was born into a musical family in Los Angeles (her father, David Parlato, is a well-known bassist) and earned a degree in Ethnomusicology and Jazz Studies at UCLA. She became the first vocalist to be accepted to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance in 2001. In 2004, she won the Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocals Competition.
She has released four albums under her own name: Gretchen Parlato, In A Dream, The Lost and Found (co-produced with Robert Glasper) and Live in NYC. With an extensive international touring schedule, Parlato is an in-demand teacher and performer, her voice appearing on over 70 albums, recording and performing with the likes of Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Burrell, Esperanza Spalding, Terence Blanchard, Terri Lyne Carrington, Marcus Miller, and Lionel Loueke. Maintaining top status and worldwide critical acclaim, Parlato has been praised and admired for displaying a musical individuality loaded with paradoxical powers. Her sultry, intriguing voice and unique, rhythmically agile phrasing comes with inescapable centripetal force; the more intimate and understated she sings, the more she draws listeners in. Parlato once told Jazz Times: “We all have our own unique and honest vocal sound. Underneath anything affected or forced is a very pure, simple, completely emotionally connected tone. It seems at a certain point, we should stop trying to sound like anyone else and just sing from our heart, from our soul, sing as we would speak.”
JONAS MOSA GWANGWA & FRIENDS (SA)
The 40-year career of veteran composer, trombonist, bandleader and director Jonas Mosa Gwangwa, born in Johannesburg’s Orlando East township in 1937, epitomises the marriage of art and activism. The two-time Oscar-nominee began playing while still at high school (St Peter’s College), in the Huddleston Jazz Band. He paid his dues in several well-regarded bands– but was also woodshedding in the modern jazz sessions at the Odin Cinema, eventually becoming a core member of the ground-breaking Jazz Epistles. In 1961, he left South Africa as a cast member of the musical King Kong, eventually securing a scholarship to study at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music in New York. During 15 years in the USA, Gwangwa composed and arranged music for, among many others, Miriam Makeba and, with the patronage and collaboration of singer Harry Belafonte, worked tirelessly to make America aware of the evils of apartheid. From the military camps of Umkhonto we Sizwe across Africa, Gwangwa recruited, trained and directed talented young performers for the Amandla Cultural Ensemble, which toured the world raising awareness and thrilling audiences.
His work on the score of the film Cry Freedom won both the Ivor Novello and Black Emmy Awards, and was also nominated for Oscar, Grammy, and Ivor Novello, Anthony Asquith and BAFTA awards. He composed music for the massive London Mandela 70th Birthday concert, for South Africa’s Olympic bid, for the launch of the National Coat of Arms and for many documentaries celebrating great South African lives and struggles. Gwangwa holds honorary Doctorates from UNISA and Walter Sisulu University, received a meritorious award from then-president Nelson Mandela and the Order of Ikhamanga in Gold. He has released seven albums as leader since his return from exile. The late producer Koloi Lebona described him as having “seen life’s sunshine and shadows and learned about himself along the way. The tales he tells through his music come from the heart.” But for him, as he told TimesLive “I never had the notion of being a big star or having big money. I was just into the music.”e Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance in 2001. In 2004, she won the Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocals Competition.
JAZZ FUNK SOUL WITH EVERETTE HARP, JEFF LORBER & PAUL JACKSON JR. (USA)
This contemporary jazz supergroup was the brainchild of the Shanachie label, which realised fans would instantly warm to a line-up uniting three of the world’s most admired fusion players: reedman Everette Harp, keyboardist Jeff Lorber and guitarist Paul Jackson Jr. Their self-titled 2014 album debut won instant worldwide acclaim, and a Grammy nomination. That wasn’t the first such nomination for Lorber who started playing piano at the age of four, and who has been touring with various formations – most notably The Jeff Lorber Fusion – since 1977. Lorber, who also composes and produces, has been hailed as one of the founding fathers of contemporary jazz and, among others, launched the career of Kenny G. He continues to work both in collaborations such as Jazz Funk Soul, and on his own projects, most recently the 2015 album Step It Up with Jimmy Haslip. In contrast to Lorber’s cool, laid-back style, Everette Harp brings an assertive, warm, churchy saxophone sound to the stage. Houston-born Harp is a Downbeat Award winner who, like Lorber, leads personal projects and adds lustre to the support bands of many other artists including singers Aretha Franklin and Anita Baker. Reviewing the group’s second album, the 2016 More Serious Business, Allaboutjazz commented that it offered “playing, production and professionalism. Perfect for easy listening after a hard day at work.” Harp can explain why the chemistry of Jazz Funk Soul’s music works so well: “We are very different personalities but we all respect where each other comes from.”
JUDITH SEPHUMA (SA)
Afro funk, jazz and gospel singer Judith Sephuma knew from her early childhood in Polokwane that she wanted to sing. Her voice made her a finalist in the Shell Road to Fame and the SABC Jam Alley Talent Search, and she won the 1999 Old Mutual Jazz into the Future award. Sephuma studied at the FUBA music school and UCT, graduating with honours in jazz performance in 1999. While at university, she worked with many Mother City outfits including Loading Zone, the C-Base Collective and the UCT Big Band.
She has also toured extensively, both across Africa and worldwide – beginning with the Nantes Fin de Siecle Festival while she was still at college – and also sang at the inauguration of South Africa’s second State President, Thabo Mbeki. Her first album, the 2001 A Cry, A Smile, A Dance was critically acclaimed, and six more have followed, most recently the 2015 Pan-African-influenced One Word and the 2016 The Experience – Live. Critics have admired the warmth of her voice, which News24 described as “one of our national treasures.” Sephuma has also worked as a music mentor, being choirmaster for the Limpopo choir during the 2012 Mzansi Magic Clash of the Choirs contest, and showed other sides of her talent as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing and in the Zaziwa TV music talk show. Sephuma told The Sowetan’s Lesley Mofokeng: “You have to be that curious singer and see what your voice can do. You have to love your craft enough to want to learn more about it and not be caged.”
LAURA MVULA (UK)
Innovative British singer songwriter and two time Mercury Prize nominee and two time MOBO award winner, Laura Mvula grew up in Birmingham. Mvula first sang in church and later with all female acapella group Black Voices. By 2008 she had formed and was composing for her own jazz/neo-soul outfit Judyshouse. Mvula has also directed various choirs. She is a graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire and holds a degree in composition.
Her debut album, Sing to the Moon was released in 2013 and garnered multiple award nominations and critical acclaim. Discussing her follow-up, 2016 album The Dreaming Room, the UK Guardian described how Mvula “pulls the listener along with her through the most serpentine songs: however, winding their routes, the melodies are almost always beautiful; however much the musical scenery shifts, it is always striking.”
Mvula’s songs explore identity, personal dilemmas and social issues. About her hit, Phenomenal Woman, inspired by Maya Angelou (and with a video shot in the Bo-Kaap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7---iGdDIBQ ), she told the UK Independent: “I try and depend a lot on the women that I surround myself with, the women that through their own vulnerability and ridiculous strength are still moving mountains and doing extraordinary things every day.” www.lauramvula.com/
MANU DIBANGO AND MOREIRA CHONGUICA (CAMEROON/ MOZAMBIQUE)
Cameroon and Mozambique meet when two unique African reedmen come together on the CTIJF stage. Veteran Paris-based, Douala-born Manu Dibango, the Grammy-nominated ‘Lion of Africa’, plays saxophone and vibraphone, composes and has led multiple world-acclaimed big bands since 1968. Destined to study medicine in Paris, he instead gravitated towards the music scene, jamming with European and American players and Congolese soukous players. His 1972 hit single Soul Makossa was not only one of the first crossover Afro jazz hits, but also the first to make it on to the New York disco scene, as well as spawning a host of homages and imitations. More than 50 albums have followed, most recently the 2013 Ballade en Saxo. A UNESCO Artist for Peace, Dibango has headed the Cameroun Music Corporation and was named the Special Representative of Francophonie at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Allmusic.com calls him “one of the great innovators of world music” and although he celebrated his 80th birthday with a giant concert in Paris in 2014, he’s still creating fresh concepts. He is, after all, the very first musician to have asserted: “There is an Electric Africa!”
Dibango loves to work with younger players, and in Moreira Chonguiça he may have found a match made in heaven. Matola-born, South African-resident Moreira is not only a SAMA-winning reedman but also a composer, producer, music educator and ethnomusicologist who graduated from UCT in 2000. Jazz runs in his veins – not only was it the music his family played, but he’s related to the late Lucky Michaels, who pioneered jazz clubs in Soweto, founding The Pelican in the 1970s. He himself started music early, gave it up for football, and then picked up an instrument again in his mid-teens, certain he’d found his direction. Moreira has two albums as leader to his credit (The Moreira Project Vol I The Journey and Vol II World Citizen) and his eponymous band has featured at all South Africa’s major festivals. Website Allaboutjazz gave his debut 4.5 stars out of 5 and commented that when “groove is melded with a variety of cultural influences, competent musicianship on every instrument and a sense of adventure, you've got something special—like The Journey, an hour and 18 minutes of musical diversity.” When he spoke to photographer Antonia Heil, Moreira underlined his adventurous musical identity: “I play many styles from places such as, Mozambique, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Congo. It’s a mixture of different genres with a bit of hip hop, funk, and contemporary. Being an artist is a profession of danger - the connection with my ancestors is what inspires me.”
RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA BIRD CALLS (USA)
Reedman Rudresh Mahanthappa has rarely been absent from the jazz polls since 2003; among others, he was the 2011 Downbeat Critics Alto Saxophonist of the Year as well as the Jazz Journalists’ Association Alto Saxophonist of the Year in three successive years (2009 -2011). He has also been the recipient of multiple Rockefeller grants and a Guggenheim research fellowship. Music writer Victor L. Schermer has described him as: “one of a special class of players who have led jazz into the New Millennium, rooted firmly in tradition, while finding new directions and possibilities in a new era...” But it was his 2015 album in homage to Charlie Parker, Bird Calls, that scored the trifecta at the Downbeat Critics poll: Album of the Year, Alto Saxophonist of the Year and Rising Composer of the Year.
Bird Calls features trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, bassist Francois Moutin, pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Rudy Royston. Indian-American Mahanthappa is a graduate of Berklee and Chicago’s DePaul University who moved to New York in 1998 and began collaborations with pianist Vijay Iyer. Since then, he has released 14 albums as leader and close to 20 as a sideman, in the company of musicians as diverse as pianist Danilo Perez, drummer Jack de Johnette and Indian Carnatic saxophonist Kadri Gopalnath. While challenging and redefining the terms of the music he plays are important to Mahanthappa, so is reaching out to listeners. He told Allaboutjazz: “My favorite moments when I'm playing music are when I feel that the audience and the band are one. I'm not playing for you; you're not listening to me. We're in this together. When that clicks, that's the most spiritual moment of playing music for me.”
SIYA MAKUZENI (SA)
Trombonist, vocalist, composer and bandleader Siya Makuzeni is the 2016 Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Jazz and won the Mbokodo Award for Women in Jazz in 2013. She has featured at major South African festivals and has also performed in Italy, India, and Kenya, as well as performing and composing for TV drama The Road. Born into a musical family (her mother was a choral organiser, her father a dedicated jazz record collector) she worked her way up through the various national youth jazz ensembles, recording with the National Youth Jazz Band in 2001.
But her musical education stretched far broader, including two years paying her dues with the East Cape Jazz Band while she was still at school. There, she met many players with whom she was later to collaborate, including trumpeter Marcus Wyatt and pianist Andile Yenana. Since then, her career has flowered, including long-time musical partnerships with Carlo Mombelli and Wyatt, leading her own crossover outfit IppyFuze and, currently, leading a jazz sextet – which often features the 2017 jazz young artist, bassist Benjamin Jephta – that presents her original compositions. Other sextet members include pianist Thandi Ntuli, reedman Sisonke Xonti, trumpeter Sakhile Simani and drummer Ayanda Sikade. City Press critic Lloyd Gedye said of her singing: “Siya Makuzeni has one of those voices. When you hear it, everything stops. All of a sudden, there is magic in the world again.” But for Makuzeni, it’s the trombone that remains her “best friend”, even in formats where she chooses to employ voice and electronic loops: “it’s a beautiful instrument…that has taken me on a lot of explorations.” Makuzeni told the Financial Mail she’s “interested in malleable sounds…an atmosphere or headspace that can take the audience into how I perceive jazz.”
SEKUNJALO EDUJAZZ BAND (SA)
Over the past fifteen years, the Sekunjalo Development Foundation has hosted an annual Sekunjalo Edujazz Concert where young music students share a stage with established jazz artists from Cape Town. Current programme co-cordinator Donovan Witten shared his original vision with Dr Iqbal Survé, and together they established the Sekunjalo Edujazz Project in 2001 to promote development of jazz music in township schools on the Cape Flats.
The annual serves as a platform for aspiring, young musicians from all Cape Town’s communities and featured bands over the years have included The Little Giants, the Belhar Music Collective, the Athlone Music Academy, the Alexander Sinton High Jazz Band, the Heathfield High Jazz Band, the Zerilda Park Primary Band, the Muizenberg High Jazz Band, Delft Jazz Band, the UWC Wind Orchestra and the Ifidyoli String Ensemble. Established musicians including the likes of Tucan Tucan, Virtual Jazz Reality, Jimmy Nevis, MiCasa, Beatenberg and The Darryl Andrews Jazz Band have shared the stages, and individuals such as Alvyn Dyers, Andre Petersen, Ivan Bell, Camillo Lombard, Amanda Tiffin, George Werner, Sammy Weber and Shannon Mowday have mentored. Workshops run by educators including Frank Paco, Ronel Nagfal, Henriette Weber and Terence Scarr have helped to hone skills. The work bore fruit in a roster of current stars and rising stars, including Kyle Shepherd, Darren English, Claude Cozens, Dylan Tabisher, Leanne Fortuin, Don Vino Prins, Lana Crowster, Jamie Faull and S’pha Mdlalose.
For 2017, the band will be under the direction of Andrew Ford, an international award-winner recognised by the Cannes Lions, the London International Advertising Awards, the New York Festivals and South Africa’s Loeries. Ford’s arranging skills are constantly in demand by large ensembles – including the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra.
Skyjack is an award-winning collaborative band of five jazz musicians from South Africa and Switzerland who work together whenever cross-continental trips are possible. Their interplay creates a wide palette of sound drawing from multiple cultural influences, concentrated into a modern jazz aesthetic. The three South Africans are well known to local audiences. Port Elizabeth-born bassist Shane Cooper was Standard Bank Young Artist for jazz in 2013 and won the 2014 SAMA for Best Jazz Album for his debut as leader, Oscillations. Pianist Kyle Shepherd was 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz and winner of the Unisa National Piano Award in 2015.
His trio album (also including Cooper) Dream State, was nominated for both SAMA and a Metro Music Awards, and he has just released his original soundtrack album for South Africa’s 2017 Oscar entry, Noem my Skollie. New York-based drummer Kesivan Naidoo was Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz in 2009, and is a SAMRO overseas scholarship winner. Naidoo has said of the music of the new South African generation: “The rest of the world is looking to my generation for that new sound… We have a responsibility to forge that new sound of freedom.” The three South Africans are highly respected artists who have toured widely and worked with the most in-demand jazz names at home and abroad. These include their current Swiss collaborators in this formation: tenor saxophonist Marc Stucki and trombonist Andreas Tschopp. Skyjack first worked together on a South African tour in 2013 where they played among others at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. In 2015 they reunited for a tour across Switzerland, where they entered and won the prestigious Swiss BeJazz TransNational competition.
They recorded their debut album at the legendary Powerplay Studios near Zurich. As winners of the competition, they returned to Switzerland in January 2016 to perform at the BeJazz Winterfestival in Berne. In September Skyjack launched the CD with a 12-gig, 12-day tour. Music writer Gwen Ansell described it as “a delight: by turns intense and thoughtful, and gently impressionistic, but always true to its heart".
SOWETO STRING QUARTET (SA)
The Soweto String Quartet was founded in 1989 by violinists Sandile Khemese and Thami Khemese and their brother, the late cellist Reuben Khemese. Childhood friend and viola player Makhosini Mnguni joined them. The SSQ’s existence at that time was an assertion of a rich township classical music tradition denied by apartheid; later, it helped to redefine the image of classical music for the new generation. The Khemese brothers – children of a conductor father and a choralist mother – had attended their uncle Michael Masote’s Madimba School of Music in the township.
Sandile and Reuben played with the Soweto Symphony Orchestra until Sandile left to study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK. In the years that followed the group’s foundation, they increasingly spiced their standard classical repertoire with fresh tunes and instrumentation reflecting their African heritage. They played at the inauguration of South Africa’s first post-liberation President, the late Rohilahla Nelson Mandela, and released their first album, Zebra Crossing, in 1998. Since then, they have toured worldwide, released eight further albums, and collaborated with artists as varied as Jimmy Dludlu, HHP, Manu Dibango and the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Jazz Times described their work on their debut as “bringing a freshness and zeal” to the medium of crossover classical playing. The SSQ told documentary-maker Kevin Harris “There is this misunderstanding that Soweto is rough. That is not true. Soweto is a very profound place…it enriches you musically.”
TAYLOR MCFERRIN AND MARCUS GILMORE (USA)
DJ, producer, singer-songwriter, keyboardist and beatboxer Taylor McFerrin cut his performing teeth early, appearing in his teens as a backing vocalist for his father, legendary improvising vocalist/composer/conductor Bobby McFerrin. Vocalese runs in the family. But Taylor’s interest has always been in music with a base in technology, through high school in Minnesota and college in New York in the late 1990s, and even before the role of DJ/producer was acknowledged as a valid musical career. He taught himself to play keyboards, and released an EP, Broken Vibes, in 2007.
Broken Vibes received heavy rotation from DJs including Gilles Peterson, and McFerrin’s subsequent remix work included Corinne Bailey Rae and album tracks for Jose James. An Early Riser EP followed in 2010, with plans for a full album. But it was when he started exploring his material live with drummer Marcus Gilmore and bassist Jason Fraticelli – revisioning the planned Early Riser tracks as fresh blends of jazz and soul inspirations with edgy hip hop credentials – that the Early Riser album finally came together to be released in 2014. Gilmore featured regularly as part of pianist Vijay Iyer’s award-winning trio, and has been a Downbeat Rising Star. Jazz writer Ben Ratliff described his phrasing as possessing “a rolling swing and grace”.
Gilmore has worked with artists including Cassandra Wilson and Chick Corea and is the grandson of drum legend Roy Haynes. “Most people think of rhythm as secondary to melody or harmony,” Gilmore told NPR. “But I feel …they are all at the very least paramount in developing one’s musical ability…the most recent innovations in music have their foundation in rhythm.” PopMatters hailed Early Riser as “an album full of subtle surprises”, with guests including Thundercat and Robert Glasper. McFerrin has toured worldwide as a one-man show, playing major festivals such as Glastonbury and venues such as The Apollo, the Blue Note and the Lincoln Jazz Centre. The challenges of creating a fresh soundscape alone, working chemistry and magic with slices of his live takes, move him into new realms of originality. He told Spin Magazine: “The biggest positive to being self-taught is that from the beginning I developed my own sound. The negative is that there is a lot of theory, technique, and basic songwriting classes I wish I'd taken. I feel what makes it work for me is that I came up learning production techniques based around how to piece everything together. That's my main skill.”
THE RUDIMENTALS (SA)
South African Top 20 stars The Rudimentals started out as one of the few South African bands exploring ska music, back in 2001. Since then, they’ve broadened their sound palette to include African, reggae, ragga, rock and dancehall music, regularly featuring emcees from Zimbabwe, Jamaica and New York and intermittently pulling impressive surprise guests out of the bag. At the core of their infectious, assertive sound are the horns of Simon Bates (saxophone), Ross McDonald (trombone) & Jody Engelbrecht (trumpet), with Nikolai Athiros on keys, guitarist Doc Mike Levy, drummer Giovanni Cerci, bassist Errol ‘Bong’ Strachan, and firecracker vocals from Teboho “Teboes”, Cotterell ‘Khaos’ Jop, Whoosain, and Lloyd “King Labash” Charles. The Rudimentals’ track Soundboy Killa has hit No 1 in the charts, staying in the Top 20 for 15 weeks. Among other tracks, Bubbling hit No 2 and their most recent single, We are One, spent five weeks in the Top 10. The title track has also been translated into IsiZulu and used as soundtrack music for the SABC-1 drama series Tempy Pushas.
The band has featured at major South African festivals, shared stages with acts including the late Lucky Dube, Johnny Clegg, HHP and Freshlyground, and featured in the documentary Punk in Africa. Impatient of any genre label these days, the band told interviewer Nick Darke: “It’s the music that matters.”
TUNE RECREATION COMMITTEE – TRC (SA)
TRC is one of several formations (also including the Amandla Freedom Ensemble) helmed by trumpeter Mandla Mlangeni. Co-founded and led with guitarist Keenan Ahrends, Tune Recreation Committee has long held a presence on the Cape Town music scene since its formation in 2007 by a group of college friends. For this outing it features Mlangeni and Ahrends, plus Nicholas Williams on bass and Claude Cozens on drums. SAMA-nominated (for the Amandla Freedom Ensemble’s 2015 Bhekisizwe) UCT graduate Mlangeni plays, composes and curates music events across a range of musical styles.
He was a recipient of the 2016 Berne (Switzerland) Artist in Residence, has toured internationally with the Cape Town Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess and worked with the same company’s 2016 production of Oratorio for A Forgotten Youth. The other members are equally in-demand and widely accomplished players who have toured extensively in South Africa and abroad, and received critical acclaim for the other outfits they lead. The TRC is an ever-changing and adaptable ensemble committed to building a musical bridge between the past, present and future. In its inaugural outing at the Cape Town Jazz Festival it will also feature a special guest appearance by critically acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Mark Fransman on accordion, tenor saxophone and bass clarinet. Fransman is a double SAMA award-winner, a former Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz and winner of the FNB Vita Award, the Johnnie Walker Musician of the Year Award and the UCT Adcock Ingram Jazz Award.
TRC takes original tunes and reinvents them, offering nods to their influences and embracing everything from the vibrant underground music scene of drum and bass to Balkanology. Fusing imported sounds and exporting their own flavours, either going into a Ghoema -tinged feel or just improvising around the melody, TRC is a playground for the interrogation and assimilation of an extended extemporisation from the canon of South African jazz. Says Mlangeni: “More than ever now there’s a need to understand ourselves and our history, and advance our stories and songs, in the face of a continuous onslaught of ‘culture from elsewhere is better; we’re not worthy enough’…But we need to do that with work that interrogates how we handle musical colours, harmonies, improvisation, not with performances that are predictable and formulaic.”
VuDu is a nu-jazz collective from Port Elizabeth and winner of the 2016 esp Young Legends talent search. The band was formed to play straight-ahead jazz standards in the lobby of the Radison Blu Hotel in 2009. The founding members were bassist Alec Mackay, who recruited Virgil Matrass (keys), Sisanda “Sunda” Myataza (vocals) and Kristo Zondagh (drums). From those foundations, it has evolved into an outfit specialising in the fusion of traditional and African jazz with urban contemporary genres. Members soon started writing original material and recorded their first neo-soul single, Why. Their first EP, The Birth of a New Sound, followed, expanding their sound towards more experimental territory. Personnel changed, with new keyboardist Wesley Keet and bass player Grant Allison coming on board. In this fresh incarnation, VuDu released a second EP, Better Late than Never, in December 2013.
After this, the band took a break to pursue individual music ambitions. Sunda travelled to Bristol, UK to tour for 6 months and record her debut solo EP. Wesley toured Taiwan twice. Kristo moved to Joburg where he became an in-demand session man, while Grant has worked in other collaborations while completing his Honours degree in music. But the members never lost contact and during this ostensible break, at Sunda’s suggestion, they entered the espYoungLegends contest. The rest, as they say, is history.
ANDRA DAY (USA)
In 2015, Andra Day debuted her album for Warner Bros, Cheers to the Fall, containing the song Rise Up. Since then, the singer has performed at the White House for Michelle Obama’s Better Make Room campaign, featured in an Apple TV spot with Stevie Wonder, and seen the song become one of the anthems for both the Black Lives Matter campaign and Mothers of the Movement (the coalition of those who have lost sons to police or gun violence).
Day has also been nominated for a Grammy and performed again at the White House for a Smithsonian tribute. Cassandra Monique “Andra” Batie was born in Washington State and moved to the gang-riven east side of San Diego when she was three. She attended an arts-focused primary school and sang in her church gospel choir, also studying dance and musical theatre along the way. When she found the music of jazz singers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday in her teens, she wanted to bring that vibe and skill to her music too, but she never wanted to sing purely mainstream jazz. She honed her unique combination of original ideas and musical influences via videos filmed in her sister’s bedroom and posted on YouTube. When it first appeared, not every critic was won over by the eclecticism of Cheers To the Fall, but the UK Guardian’s Ben Beaumont-Thomas observed: “Day has found a vocal style of her own. In firing clean, piercing notes through the torrid waltz of City Burns, she perfectly evokes a tale of urban self-definition.” And then Rise Up was released. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwgr_IMeEgA )
It wasn’t something Day expected: “I wanted it to be something that was uplifting,” she told the Chicago Sun-Times. “My hope was that [the song] would encourage people… There’s a lot going on culturally and socially right now that I think needs to be talked about, and as an artist I’d be remiss not to bring up what’s going on in our society socially and politically… I just had no idea the bigger meaning the song would take on. But I’m grateful. I think it’s grown me as a person spiritually and emotionally, and continues to remind me that what you do in music can change people’s lives and affect them in a real way.” (https://www.andraday.com/ )
BUDDY WELLS SEXTET (SA)
Saxophonist, composer and arranger Buddy Wells was born into memories of South African urban jazz, from his father, musician and activist Trevor – which perhaps explains his popularity as sideman of choice throughout the history of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Royal College of Music graduate, Wells has won many personal awards including 1994 Adcock Ingram Competition for Best Jazz Instrumentalist, and the 1996 SAMRO Overseas Scholarship Competition and has made regular appearances at other prestigious festivals in South Africa, Asia and Europe, with musicians as diverse as Feya Faku, Marcus Wyatt, Manu Dibangu, the late Miriam Makeba and Abdullah Ibrahim, inclduing recordings too numerous to list, most recently Andreas Loven’s project District Six.
Jazz writer Gwen Ansell in Business Day called Wells “too self-effacing for his own good. He plays superbly in diverse and sometimes surprising contexts, and has won his share of awards, but has no album out as leader and rarely stars in interviews or media features… [But] his quietness may in fact be a key strength. The unpretentious openness he brings to projects allows him to contribute on whatever wavelength is required – yet his work is always inventive and intelligent, and always adds insight.” When 702’s Afrika Melane interviewed him in Grahamstown and dubbed him a “jazz master”, his typically self-effacing response was: “You can never master jazz, hey.”
This time, though, Wells will lead his own band. Club audiences who have encountered him in sensitive yet blistering sets in Cape Town (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZl3s1PSfKE ) and Johannesburg know he’s one artist that’s not to be missed. (https://www.facebook.com/buddywellsmusic/ )
CAMILLO LOMBARD presents A CAPE TOWN SHOW CASE (SA)
Pianist, composer, arranger, producer and recording artist, Camillo Lombard was born into a musical family. He is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist who started playing piano at the age of four and professionally at nineteen. He received his Performance Diploma from the London College of Music in 2011, Jazz Piano Teachers Diploma in 2014 and Fellowship Degree in 2015. In 2005, Camillo established the Cape Town Showcase, to pay homage to great South African artists and composers.
This year Camillo Lombard’s Cape Town Showcase will profile consummate Cape Town legends that have made their mark in the music industry over the past four decades. The line-up will include the internationally acclaimed cabaret artist and entertainer Sophia Foster, whose unique voice is as well-known as her sophistication and glamorous gowns; the inimitable female impersonator and entertainer, Terry Fortune (real name Tyrone Robertson); jazz singer, actor, community champion and UCLA graduate, Sylvia Mdunyelwa; legendary bass guitarist Sammy Webber who has been performing for the past 40 years and whose lack of sight, has not kept him from thrilling audiences across the country; and the magical voice of songstress Vicky Sampson, whose song ‘Afrikan Dream’ continues to be a favourite.
The Cape Town Showcase also boasts a stellar 14-piece band that comprises of a six-piece rhythm section, five horns and three backing vocals.
CHRIS HANI HIGH SCHOOL (SA)
Designated by the Western Cape Education Department in 2006 as an ‘Arts and Culture Focus’ school, this secondary school located in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, goes from strength to strength. The band performing at the 18th Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) will play a selection of jazz and African numbers performed by current and past pupils of 17 – 20 years of age. They will be joined by students participating in the CTIJF Music & Career workshop, an annual charitable programme allied to the festival that helps selected high school learners in the Western Cape, polish their music talent as well as highlighting the many different career prospects within the entertainment industry.
Dance/electronic music producer Jameszoo, aka Mitchel van Dinther, may label his music “naïve”, but he’s using the word in its visual art sense; talking about the open, genre rule innocent approach he takes to collaging and weaving together a range of music that all relate in some way to contemporary jazz on his highly-acclaimed debut album, Fool, which dropped in May 2016 on Brainfeeder. Van Dinther was born in Den Bosch in the southern Netherlands.
He began as a DJ working with an eclectic selection of avant-garde jazz, prog and kraut rock, electronic experiments, and beat oddities and gravitated towards the greater creative possibilities of production. Van Dinther’s main inspirations were ‘70s albums from Steve Kuhn, Arthur Verocai and Robert Wyatt (the 1974 Rock Bottom which featured South African trumpeter Mongezi Feza). Fool moves away from pure collage, featuring live performances not only from Kuhn (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7cREtQQ1wE ) and Verocai but also Brazilian singer Carlos Dafe, Thundercat and many more. At pitchfork.com, Benjamin Scheim described the album as “at its best, recalling the free spirit of late ‘90s electronic music…strongest when he tones down the overt jazz and instead parses the genre for specific sounds and ideas to embellish his electronic experimentations.” Jameszoo himself says: “I tried to create something that is both tradition and me fooling around. There is something to be said for both sides of the spectrum. If we always remain in tradition there will be no evolution.” (https://www.facebook.com/Jameszoomitchel/ )
Jokko is a supergroup of African instrumentalists that brings together five top-ranking players of traditional instruments who are all also fluent in the modern languages of pop, dance and jazz. Renowned balafon (wooden xylophone) player Aly Keita (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoZkNoblOsw ) comes from a distinguished lineage of traditional bards (griots), but has also worked with Joe Zawinul, Trilok Gurtu, Rokia Traore and more. His 2008 album Akwaba Inisene soared in the European World Music charts. Keita was born in Cote D’Ivoire, but his father took him back to the family village birthplace in Mali to induct him into traditional ways of playing.
Back in Abidjan, he encountered a jazz pianist “who introduced me to the piano and I immediately saw several similarities.” Stringed instrument (guembri and ghayta) player Mehdi Nassouli (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqnUiCDFOns ) spent years studying the Moroccan Gnawa tradition under several masters, but has also played with international stars ranging from Fatoumata Diawara of Mali to English bluesman Justin Adams. Agadir-born Foulane Bouhssine has been hailed as “the Mozart of the ribab” (Berber lute: a single-string bowed instrument that sounds similar to a violin, and, says Bouhssine, “the spinal chord of Berber music”). One of his other projects is the Ribab Fusion movement (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a18NyA0U5as ) that has drawn new, young and international audiences to this ancient instrument. He cites influences ranging from deep tradition to Jimi Hendrix. Mozambican bassist Childo Thomas also plays mbira (thumb piano) and has been a regular touring companion of Cuban pianist Omar Sosa for 15 years (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUTyds0nCZ8).
Finally, Senegalese drummer Sega Seck (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnGex0tVUqnl35WmJXVFuTkEe0I5F4f3I ) is in demand internationally, and has worked in the vibrant, dance-oriented ensemble of Toure Kunda. Each of these players is a star in his own right; the combination is pure magic.
KAMASI WASHINGTON (USA)
Saxophonist, composer and producer Kamasi Washington and his release, the 3-CD The Epic, shook up the jazz critics’ pick lists in 2015. It was rated by the UK Guardian, Pitchfork, Allaboutjazz, Rough Trade, the Rolling Stone Top 50 list and many more, and hit the Top 3 in the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. It also won the 2016 American Music Prize. As if that wasn’t enough attention for a player always highly-respected by music insiders, but without any previous glitzy profile, Washington was also attracting fans from new parts of the music world for his work with Kendrick Lamar on the Grammy-winning To Pimp a Butterfly.
LA-born Washington’s father was also a saxophonist, and in his early teens a curious Kamasi picked up the instrument – untaught – and began to play. He studied at the Hamilton High School Music Academy and then ethnomusicology at UCLA. While still a student, he toured in the Snoop Dogg band, as well as with the Gerald Wilson Orchestra and the touring ensemble of R&B legend Raphael Saadiq. Genre boundaries and barriers have never constrained him. Since then, Washington has worked with the proverbial “who’s who” – but not only of jazz, because his work has taken in greats such as McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard and more, but also the likes of Mos Def, Chaka Khan and Flying Lotus and Thundercat. The Guardian’s Lanre Bakare hailed The Epic as a work that “looked beyond genre limits and tried to push things further”. But for Washington, that’s nothing new. He told Rolling Stone: “I think that it's a relationship that people talk about being new. But it's something that's always been there. You know, if you listen to so many of the great hip-hop records from the past, there are always jazz samples in there. So someone in there has awareness and an understanding of jazz….
The whole repurposing of music: the way hip-hop uses samples to create new songs, and in jazz, how we take show tunes and turn them into standards. [J]azz in the bebop era …was our way of expressing our intellect and expressing who we were. The thing about hip-hop is, like, that the instruments were taken out of schools [so] we'll take the records and sing over them! Hip-hop and jazz have always been intertwined.” ( http://www.kamasiwashington.com )
MANGO GROOVE (SA)
Multiple award-winning and Platinum-selling group Mango Groove, formed by bassist John Leyden, cut its teeth on the mid-80’s SA alternative music scene and exploded on to national consciousness with the release of its self-titled debut album in 1989. Presenting a unique combination of Claire Johnston’s soaring vocals and the classic African jazz pennywhistle and horn sounds of the late Mickey Vilakazi (who composed their hit Hellfire, but passed away in 1988) and other African jazzmen, the band had appeal across all South African communities. Since then the group, with its uniquely eclectic, big band ‘’Marabi-Pop’’ sound has continued to capture hearts. The group has released six studio albums, nine compilations and two dozen videos and singles, and demonstrated sold-out appeal at venues from the Sun City Superbowl to the Standard Bank Arena. NBC used their music in the broadcast of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, and the group was subsequently a headliner at the inauguration concert.
Internationally, they’ve also made a big impact, performing at the Hong Kong handover concert, the Paris SOS Racisme concert and the Montreux Jazz Festival and the Apollo in London. They continue to entrance younger audiences at SA festivals including Splashy Fen, Oppikoppi and Rockin’ the Daisies. IOL declared, “30 years on, the group still has juice.” Johnston agrees: “Now we’re the elders in the South African music industry and at a different phase in our career. So it would appear that we still have our fan base. It’s sort of young and old. It’s so thrilling that at OppiKoppi, people go nuts when we walk on stage and that’s the power of music. It never really goes away.” (http://www.mangogroove.co.za)
NOMFUNDO XALUVA (SA)
Vocalist, pianist, composer and music educator, and two-time Metro Music Award-winner Nomfundo Xaluva, began her musical life very young. Port Elizabeth born, she started playing piano and singing in her school choir at Victoria Girls Primary Boarding School with never any doubt in her mind that this was what she wanted to do with her life. She holds a Masters in Jazz Studies for a dissertation on Miriam Makeba, whom she considers “a musician’s musician.”
Xaluva has shared stages with Sibongile Khumalo and Dianne Reeves, among many others. Her first Metro Award was for her 2013 recorded debut on Universal, Kusile (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxJ0OxEd6fs ). At IOL, critic Munya Vomo praised the outing for its richness and lyricism, and the flexibility of moods it was able to reflect. Now Xaluva has returned with the 2016 From Now On – which also won a Metro – and which pays very contemporary tribute to the styles and genres of classic south vocal jazz as originated by The Skylarks, Victor Ndlazilwane and Busi Mhlongo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c33gvDnv5Qo&index=3&list=PLjkSmSV3b9LtYtTNGOWRSWxJW5KSGNM_z. She told Afripop magazine: “My music stems from identity. As an African-American art form you can lose your sense of identity in jazz. My music comes from my pride in being black, Xhosa, female, in having something to say – and feeling like that is enough.”
POPS MOHAMED (SA)
Composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer “Pops” Mohamed was born Ismail Mohamed-Jan in the vibrant East Rand community of Kalamazoo in 1949. Kalamazoo was sadly soon uprooted to bleak Reigert Park and demolished, but Mohamed’s memories of the community’s vibrant hybridity have shaped his envelope-busting concept of music ever since. “Migrant miners playing their mouth bows with jazz musicians jamming on Count Basie…these sounds are always in my mind.” He learned guitar from jazzmen at Dorkay House, and subsequently worked in multiple hit-making pop outfits, sometimes alongside bassist Sipho Gumede.
After cutting albums such as Black Disco (recently reissued: https://matsulimusic.bandcamp.com/album/night-express ) and Movement in the City, Mohamed’s music took a more roots turn. “I figured that protecting and preserving our indigenous music could be my contribution to the struggle. We must know our heritage. I thought: if the Boers take that from us, we’re fucked!” He mastered traditional instruments from kora to mouthbow and didgeridoo, while continuing to arrange and produce for a galaxy of South African jazz artists (including the late Moses Molelekwa’s debut, Finding Oneself), as well as working with, among others, Andreas Vollenweider, the London Sound Collective and ex-Blood Sweat and Tears trumpeter Bruce Cassidy. Most recently, he has been working with the representatives of Kalahari San communities to both preserve and expose their healing sounds, and in Cape Town with Dave Reynolds and Tony Cedras (The Urban Khoisan Project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDhIT_uwHfU ; At Bluebird Garage https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Up6H8_Jze4 ).
SONIK CITIZEN (SA)
Sonik Citizen is one of the many musical identities of multi-talented performer, composer and teacher, Mark Fransman. (who also makes a guest appearance with Mandla Mlangeni’s Tune Recreation Committee). Double SAMA winner, former Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz and winner of the FNB Vita Award, the Johnnie Walker Musician of the Year Award and the UCT Adcock Ingram Jazz Award, Fransman has consistently resisted genre labels and boxes for his music, but Sonik Citizen (who released an eponymous album in January 2015) definitely reflects what they call “a lyrical soul-rock” feel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzUF62wOY6U ), showcasing husky-voiced lyrics and driving guitar in the company of bassist Gino Ackerman and drummer Paul Tizzard (https://www.facebook.com/sonikcitizen/ )
City festival Battle of the Bands 2016 winner S.T.T.A. is a live concept band comprising drummer Jstar, turntablists DJ Raiko and DJ P–Kuttah, 3 live beat machine samplers, versatile vocalist/ Nasty J aka Joniq and a moveable feast of well-known guests. The members have over 20 years of collective experience, alongside some of South Africa’s most recognised musicians. S.T.T.A. describe their performance as “unique live performance (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=va4ZqFYhcOo ) that hasn’t been done before on SA shores.” (https://www.facebook.com/STTALive/ )
THANDISWA MAZWAI (SA)
Multiple award-winner Thandiswa Mazwai was born in the Eastern Cape but grew up in Soweto in a highly politically conscious and active family. Thadiswa produces modern music that still manages to remember and acknowledge a heritage that stretches from split-tone singing and bow music to jazz, soul and jive. She studied literature and international relations at Wits, and first came to public notice with Kora, SAMA and Metro winning kwaito music trio Bongo Maffin, formed in Cape Town in 1996. Mazwai released her debut solo project, Zabalaza, in 2004; it reached double platinum sales and won a Kora Award and four SAMAs. Zabalaza was followed by Ibokwe, Song of the Forgotten Free and, late in 2016, Belede, her debut for Universal Music. Belede features pianist Nduduzo Makhathini, bassist Herbie Tsoaeli and drummer Ayanda Sikade: a sensitive and imaginative jazz trio.
It is primarily a tribute to Mazwai’s late mother, who died when she was young, as well as other women, such as Miriam Makeba, Busi Mhlongo and Dorothy Masuka who created rebellious and questioning music. The album revisits historic South African classics including Nontsokolo and Makeba’s West Wind in a sharply contemporary context that includes acknowledgment of struggles such as the #FeesMustFall movement. The Mail & Guardian’s Kwanele Sosibo said of Belede: “It is a jazz album, yes, but not in the way one might expect.” Mazwai told IOL “I aspire to be a part of a group of musicians that sound entrancingly South African. I grew up in a very strong pan- African and black consciousness home. My mother was a radical Pan Africanist. She wore African clothes.” Mazwai recalled that even when she started out with Bongo Maffin, “I thought about my mother and preserving the memory of what she taught me”. https://www.facebook.com/Thandiswa-Red-Mazwai-142738035837/
TOM MISCH (UK)
UK-based singer/composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Tom Misch had an unlikely start for a rising star of digital mixes: at four, he started learning violin after being taken to classical concerts by his parents. He added other instruments and by 11 had acquired a loop pedal and was beginning to create his own compositions. By his mid-teens, he had discovered Erykah Badu and J Dilla; two years later what he calls his take on “soulful electronic music” was going out on Soundcloud, attracting the attention of Berlin producer Lamnobodi. That led to the release of Beat Tape 1 via Bandcamp; later Beat Tape 2 (https://tommisch1.bandcamp.com ) appeared – Misch calls it “a combination of beats and more fully-fledged songs” – and now the EP Reverie (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sa5HNkGrl8E/)
The Edge described Reverie as “Chipmunked vocals, slap bass, jazz guitar, G-funk synths, a breathy sax, trip-hop beats, hand claps, a string quartet, steel drums, maracas…such is the heady cocktail that Tom Misch has here concocted…Misch has somehow managed to balance it all perfectly, keeping things afloat.” But Misch’s career is still growing. He is developing his voice via singing lessons, and playing live much more : “I think a big pressure to me right now is the live stuff, because I’ve built up a reputation as a producer and a sort of bedroom music maker guy. Now I’m actually leaving the bedroom and playing shows, and I want to live up to the expectation people have. That’s what’s really shaping how I write my songs,” he told rwdmag. (http://www.tommisch.com)
THE INTERNET (USA)
Defying easy categorisation of their crossover multi-genre sounds, The Internet was christened as a result of the two producers – Syd (Sydney) and Matt Martians (real name Matthew Martins) - meeting on the net, then officially forming the band in 2011. They have since released three studio albums and three extended plays, with Ego Death, nominated for a Grammy – Best Urban Contemporary Album. Of Ego Death Pitchfork contributor Craig Jenkins remarked that: “The band's purposeful instrumentation clears room to showcase her [Syd] words, and she has a war story for every stage of love and loss.”
TSEPO TSHOLA (SA)
Tsepo Tshola will join the line-up for an energetic, musically-masterful Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) over the weekend of 31 March and 1 April 2017. The award-winning jazz musician who appeared with Mafikizolo at CTIJF 2016, is back by popular demand, to host his own set that is certain to appeal to devoted followers and new fans alike.
In a year espousing a billing of musical social consciousness, Tshola’s raconteur prowess and energetic stage presence stand out.
Born in Lesotho, Tsepo Tshola grew up in a musical family with both his parents involved in choirs. Joining the Lesotho Blue Diamonds as a vocalist in 1970, then touring with the band Sankomota and relocating to London in the 1980’s, Tshola’s instantly recognizable baritone has dominated the music scene and thrilled audiences across South Africa, Lesotho and Europe for more than 40 years.
AMADOU & MARIAM (MALI)
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.
ANGIE STONE (USA)
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.
BENJAMIN JEPHTA QUINTET (SA)
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.
JAZZ ATTACK 2015 ft. PETER WHITE, RICK BRAUN and EUGE GROOVE (USA)
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 (USA)
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.
MAFIKIZOLO ft. TSEPO TSHOLA (SA)
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.
MARK TURNER (USA)
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.”
MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO (USA)
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.
MUZART AND KHULI CHANA (SA)
When a locally and internationally award-winning hip hop artist joins forces with a SAMA nominated pop sensation band that’s young and vibrant, you get a magical experience from watching a dynamic fusion of talent on one stage. The on stage chemistry between Khuli Chana and Muzart is a winning formula that appeals to both a youthful and mature audience.
Muzart comprises of multi-talented musicians Tshegofatso "Tazzy" Lehutso, Victory “Vic” Chauke and actress, singer, Rorisang "Rori" Thandekiso. The group has created a chart topping, afro-pop sound that has been described as “conjuring a vivid vision of unclouded sunshine and positivity; together they sculpt a truly uplifting sound”. Layers of jazz, pop, house, gospel and soul fuse to forge their sound – an interplay of genres, which is underpinned by positivity and a celebration of life and love. In celebrating this love, the group has also been named official ambassadors for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital and is actively involved with related projects.
Singer-songwriter, humanitarian and rapper, Khuli Chana (Kholane Morule) brings a distinct flavour and sound to the hip hop and Motswako music genres. Motswako encompasses elements from various musical backgrounds, involving street-talk and highly influential messages in Setswana, English and other South African languages, which Khuli Chana has dubbed “Tswenglish”. In his short career, there have been many highlights including recently making it to #1 in the UK on BBC 1Xtra with his single ‘No Lie’ featuring Patoranking, and opening up for international acts such as Big Sean and Kendrik Lamar as well as the curtain raiser act for Drake’s South African tour.
NATHI with special guest VUSI NOVA (SA)
With no formal training, Nathi Mankayi, entered and won a small regional talent search competition called ‘Dare to Dream’. Winning this event, Nathi has embarked on a journey where his dreams and aspirations are indeed coming true. His debut album Buyel'ekhaya has racked up an impressive download following on iTunes with the hit track ‘Nomvula’ winning hearts and fans all over the country - #nomvulafever. The afro-soul singer who is also an artist and sculptor, has had his music described as ”meaningful and authentic”, addressing his past challenges and future hopes with a husky voice and an acoustic air. His story and lyrics resonate with a refreshing honesty that will appeal, inspire and motivate all who listen and truly hear.
The hugely talented R&B soul singer Vusi Nova heard Nathi sing as a result of the ‘Dare to Dream’ competition and asked the singer to collaborate with him on a single. The result was ‘Noma Kanjani’ which became a critical and popular success. Vusi himself is a multi-award nominated, highly accomplished and popular artist whose songs, ’I’d rather go blind’ and ‘Walk into the Light’ have garnered the respect and following of a loyal fanbase
NDUDUZO MAKHATINI'S LISTENING TO THE GROUND (SA) ft. EDDIE PARKER (UK)
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 (UK) 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.
RAHUL SHARMA (INDIA) AND GEORGE BROOKS (USA)
Rahul Sharma has carved a niche for himself in the world of Indian classical and fusion music, with over 60 released albums. As an award-winning santoor player, he has experimented with his music and taken the 100-stringed instrument into various genres from classical to new age, jazz and world fusion/electronica. Rahul learnt music and the santoor from his father and Guru Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, who is a music legend in India and the world over. Rahul’s father was responsible for exposing the Kashmiri-based santoor to the world. Today, Rahul has taken this instrument on a journey crossing many borders and various musical genres, although his interest primarily stays with Indian classical, fusion and experimental music.
Some of Rahul’s recent works include his live concert recordings with the tabla wizard Zakir Hussain. In 2011, Rahul released one of India’s best-selling albums called “Namaste India” with Kenny G. Rahul has recently composed Rebel a santoor rock album; Kashmir Nature’s Symphony with folk musicians of Kashmir; and Call of the Valley – Revisited, a thematic instrumental album. In 2012, Rahul released Deep India, a collaboration with Grammy winning musician Eric Mouquet.
GEORGE BROOKS (USA) George Brooks is a prolific and diverse saxophonist and composer, acclaimed for successfully bridging the worlds of jazz and Indian classical music. Brooks began his study of jazz with Count Basie saxophonist, Frank Foster and continued at the New England Conservatory of Music, with George Russell, Joe Allard and Jaki Byard. While attending the Conservatory, Brooks was introduced to Indian classical music and became entranced by its melodic beauty, rhythmic complexity and deep spiritual core.
Brooks has received numerous awards and grants. In addition to performing and composing, Brooks has taught at the faculties of UC Santa Cruz, Mills College and the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, CA and leads master classes at colleges and schools around the world. He is a prolfic composer and his most recent work, Ghalib - for saxophone, sarode and table, was commissioned by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music.
roberto SOLO fonseca (CUBA)
Since the beginning of his musical career in the early 1990s, Grammy nominated and award winning Cuban-born multi-instrumentalist Roberto Fonseca has stated his mission clearly: “I want my music to reach people who don’t know me, and I dream of one day becoming a point of reference for my audience.” Although still very young by the standards of jazz, hip hop and world music, Fonseca has maintained a sharp focus on his mission that has already garnered him global recognition and established his reputation as a creative bridge between traditional Cuban music and the sound of a new era.
Born into a musical family in Havana, Cuba in 1975, young Roberto originally gravitated to percussion, but started playing the piano at age 8. He began composing at age 14, drawing inspiration from afro-Cuban music and jazz musicians such as Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett, but also old American funk and soul classics. His appearance at Havana’s International Jazz Festival at the tender age of 15 was a revelation to audiences. Graduating with a degree in musical composition, Roberto has gone on to work with various members of the Buena Vista Social Club, touring the world and releasing multiple albums. His multidimensional and multicultural sound exists within an intricate mosaic that he looks forward to sharing with festival goers at the 17th Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
SWV is a Grammy nominated all-female jack swing trio from New York City. Their career has spanned over 25 years during which they have sold over 25 million albums, making them one of the best selling female R&B groups of all time. Coko (Cheryl Gamble), Taj (Tamara Johnson), and Lelee (Leanne Lyons) are school friends who sang together in church, which is where they learned to harmonise. Under the watchful attention of Teddy Riley (arguably the father of jack swing), the trio launched their debut album It’s About Time that went to double-platinum within its first year of release. A string of successes followed and after a 15-year hiatus when the girls followed solo careers, the trio are better than ever, following their reunited 2012 reunion album with a new studio album that will release on 30th October 2015, and houses the lush ballad ‘Ain’t No Man’, that picks up their 90’s appeal and sound.
THANDI NTULI (SA)
Pretoria-born pianist, vocalist and composer, Thandi Ntuli, grew up in a very musical family and owes her orientation to various genres and to the many influencers she had within her own family. Beginning her career as a pianist at the age of 4, she went on to graduate with a first class music degree from the University of Cape Town.
She first established herself as a supporting artist working with the likes of Judith Sephuma, The Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Jimmy Dludlu, Thandiswa Mazwai, Zara McFarlane (UK), Lady Alma (USA), Andy Narell (USA) and many more, before launching her solo career in 2014 with her debut album entitled The Offering. Received with critical acclaim, she has since had many nominations and received several awards, including a Metro FM award (2015) and a Mbokodo award for ‘Women in Jazz’ (2015).
THANDI NTULI (SA)
Consisting of four accomplished musicians in and around Cape Town, this band has backed many local and international artists. Camillo Lombard (keyboards), Donveno Prins (saxophone), Charlton Daniels (bass) and Mornay Hoffmeester (drums) have become the backbone of many international music events, backing artists such as Jonathan Butler, Peaches and Herb, Tevin Campbell, Robin S, Cece Penistan, Sybil, Lloyd Cele, Loyiso Bala and many more.
The group is also focused on Youth and Community Development, thus sharing their time and talent teaching youth in impoverished communities and investing in charity performances. After years of performing across Africa (as well as Lombard and Prins playing to a packed audience at Carnegie Hall), TopDog are currently in studio recording their eagerly-awaited debut album.
TRIBUTE ‘BIRDIE’ MBOWENI (SA)
Even the largest avalanche is triggered by small things. If this saying is to go by, then the petite Tribute ‘Birdie’ Mboweni is a true testimony to how big things can really come in small packages. As a singer and songwriter, Birdie is proving to be a force to be reckoned with. Her voice is strong, soulful and wrapped up in both neo-soul and pop, yet still remains jazzy.
Birdie has joined a new breed of soul musicians that are putting their own modern take on the classic sound, and doing it justice. Her voice evokes raw, organic emotion that penetrates deep into the heart. She launched her album Birdie in May 2015 and she says “this album teaches us that music recognises no barriers and can penetrate the hardest of hearts and unwraps the most hidden emotions of love long lost in despair.” Her music expresses deep feelings and is profoundly emotional, jazzy, ethno and yet soulful. Her live performances – to which she is no stranger - are equally so.
TUMI MOGOROSI AND PROJECT ELO (SA)
Tumi Mogorosi is a SAMA nominated and award winning drummer of extraordinary virtuosity and range, whose debut album, Project ELO, has been receiving acclaim and a loyal following around the world. Acknowledged as one of the best jazz albums to come out of South Africa in recent years, Project ELO, under Tumi’s guiding and explosive composing and performance energy, leads listeners through a purposely crafted narrative that is compelling and spellbinding to the very last beat and note.
Besides his intermittent studies at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), Tumi has refined his brushstrokes alongside prominent local and international jazz musicians that include: American trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, Feya Faku as well as bassist Herbie Tsoaeli. With Project ELO, he has toured in Europe, including the United Kingdom and France, and is always refining his craft and thrilling his audiences.
VICTOR WOOTEN (USA)
Victor Wooten is an innovator, composer, arranger, producer, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist. He is a skilled naturalist and teacher, a published author, and a five-time Grammy award winner. But those gifts only begin to tell the tale of this Tennessee titan. Known for his solo recordings and tours, and as a member of the Grammy-winning supergroup, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, Victor has won almost every major award given to a bass guitarist. He was voted Bassist of the Year by Bass Player Magazine three times and is the only person to have won the award more than once.
His illustrious career started at age 3, performing neighborhood concerts with his brothers in the front yard of their home in Hawaii. At age 6, he was touring with his brothers as the opening band for soul legend Curtis Mayfield. Victor was influenced by bass mentors, Stanley Clarke, Larry Graham and Bootsy Collins, but sites his brothers and parents as his main influences. “In music and in life, my parents and brothers were the foundation.” He has recorded 30 albums – either as a soloist or as a member of the various bands and groups he still performs with, continuing to grow as a person, artist, teacher and performer and is currently working on a sequel to the book: The Music Lesson. He is guaranteed to remain a positive force in the music industry.
JAV (Réunion Island, South Africa, Mozambique and Madagascar)
JAV (Jozéfinn’ Austral View) is the first pan-austral project of the Indo-Oceanic Southwest area between four countries: Réunion Island, South Africa, Mozambique and Madagascar. Imagined in 2008 by Jean-Pierre Jozéfinn (Réunion Island), guitarist, composer, leader and artistic director of JAV, the project took off in 2013 with the support of Réunion cultural association F.A.T.A.K. JAV is the melding of diverse musical cultures and creative energies that drives curiosity, transcending previous cultural divides. JAV stimulates the desire to discover and goes beyond cultural patchworks to form its own sublime musical identity beyond the human dimension in the interaction between various musical traditions articulated by jazz.
JAV has just released their first album in September 2015, entitled: ‘Trapdanza’. The band consists of Jean Pierre Jozéfinn’ (guitar, vocal), Jacky BOYER (double bass), Bongani Sotshononda (Marimba, vocal), Frank Paco (drums, vocal) and Andry Michael Randriantseva (keyboards, trombone, vocal).
SEKUNJALO EDUJAZZ BIG BAND (SA)
Over the past fifteen years, The Sekunjalo Development Foundation has hosted the annual Sekunjalo Edujazz Concert where music students share a stage with established jazz artists from Cape Town. The initiative promotes the development of jazz music in township schools on the Cape Flats.
Musicians who were showcased in their early years at the annual Sekunjalo Edujazz Concert include Kyle Shepherd, Darren English, Claude Cozens, Dylan Tabishar, Leanne Fortuin, Don Vino Prins, Lana Crowster, Jamie Faull and S’pha Mdlalose, who have all gone on to become established musicians. The Edujazz Big Band for 2016 will be under the direction of Terence Scarr, the head of music at Rondebosch Boys High School. He is a renowned jazz educator in South Africa, mainly working with high school musicians. This year’s band represents some of the best music students studying at the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University and Rondebosch Boys High School.
Dr. VICTOR & THE RASTA REBELS (SA)
For more than 20 years, multiple award-winning Dr. Victor, (Victor Khojane), has been crafting and creating elevating, up tempo sounds that have garnered this singer, musician, songwriter and producer, many devoted fans all over the world. Starting out his music career in school with a band called CC Beat - that was heavily influenced by the likes of Afro pop and American pop - secured a recording contract to release an album in 1984. This first album was not well received but this did not deter Dr. Victor as later they were signed to another label, which saw them working with the likes of Yvonne Chaka Chaka, progressing to recording their first pop reggae album in 1991 featuring the hit maker: “Gimme Hope Jo’Anna”, tribute to Eddie Grant. It was with this album that the group changed their name to the iconic Dr. Victor & the Rasta Rebels, by which they are now universally known.
Aside from the band’s music prowess, Dr. Victor has also released a number of solo projects, earning him a number of awards and the opportunity to open for international stars such as: Paul Simon, Gloria Estefan and Janet Jackson. His latest project (issued in 2014), is the album “I Believe In Love.”
Dr. VICTOR & THE RASTA REBELS (SA)
Pianist, composer and arranger Ramon Alexander is one of the brightest young stars in the Cape Jazz genre. Since having qualified as a winemaker in 2004 from the University of Stellenbosch, he has gone on to perform and record with some of the biggest names on the Cape Town music scene.
Alexander has two albums to his credit and has contributed prolifically as pianist and composer on Mountain Records' 2013 release, The Cape Jazz Band: Musical Democracy. He has also produced numerous albums across various musical genres and is also a sought-after performer around South Africa. Alexander’s group for the CTIJF 2016 will consist of Zeke Le Grange (Saxes), Chadleigh Gowar (bass), Annemie Nel (Drums) and vocalist, Sima Mashazi.
RAMON ALEXANDER QUARTET (SA)
Pianist, composer and arranger Ramon Alexander is one of the brightest young stars in the Cape Jazz genre. Since having qualified as a winemaker in 2004 from the University of Stellenbosch, he has gone on to perform and record with some of the biggest names on the Cape Town music scene.
Alexander has two albums to his credit and has contributed prolifically as pianist and composer on Mountain Records' 2013 release, The Cape Jazz Band: Musical Democracy. He has also produced numerous albums across various musical genres and is also a sought-after performer around South Africa. Alexander’s group for the CTIJF 2016 will consist of Zeke Le Grange (Saxes), Chadleigh Gowar (bass), Annemie Nel (Drums) and vocalist, Sima Mashazi.
CAMERON WARD (SA)
The greatness of a jazz guitarist lies hidden in the flamboyance of the stringing of the melody and chord progression, the individuals’ technique and the elusive magic that separates the boys from the men. Cameron Ward is counted amongst the ‘men’ when it comes to jazz. His meteoric rise from the backstreets of the disadvantaged community of Lotus River on the Cape Flats to the stages of some of the world’s biggest and most prestigious music festivals, testifies to the musical prowess and genius of this artist. Four times SAMA award winning artist, Jimmy Dlu is credited as the progenitor of this great South African talent, buying him his first ever guitar. Since then, Ward has gone on to make a name for himself as one of the most versatile guitarists of his generation.
He has a beautiful tone, great improvisational ideas, and superb speed and knows how to make a person dance to the African beat that's equal to none. His creativity has seen him work with the likes of Hugh Masekela, Jimmy DluDlu, Judith Sephuma, Sipho "Hotstix"Mabuse, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, PJ Powers, Vusi Mashlasela, as well as Paul Simon, Ziggy Marley, Sibongile Khumalo, and David Kramer and many more.
BOKANI DYER (SA)
The multi-talented and award winner Bokani Dyer is a pianist, composer and music producer whose dynamic compositions and mesmerising performances, have given African jazz a new home on the world stage. Graduating with an Honours degree in Performance and Composition from the University of Cape Town in 2008, Dyer went on to further his studies, working with Jason Moran in New York City in 2009. Winning several awards since then, he has released two critically acclaimed albums to date, and is currently in the recording studio producing two further works, which will be released in 2015. Having performed to sold-out concert halls across Europe, Bokani Dyer will once again perform before a home crowd at the 2016 Cape Town International Jazz Festival, where his rich, Afrocentric yet contemporary jazz sound will thrill all ears privileged to hear.
CASSANDRA WILSON (USA)
Cassandra Wilson is a Grammy Award winning jazz musician, vocalist, songwriter and producer. She has been described by critic Gary Giddins as “a singer blessed with an unmistakable timbre and attack, who has expanded the playing field” by incorporating blues, country and folk music into repertoire. She has also been referred to as the ‘pre-eminent’ jazz singer of our times (Time magazine).
After moving from Mississippi to New York City and completing her stint with the M-Base Collective, Cassandra sought a more acoustic context for her vocal expression. She signed with Blue Note Records in 1992 and released a landmark album titled “Blue Light ‘Til Dawn” which would pave the way for a new generation of jazz singers seeking an approach and range that challenged the supremacy of the American Standard songbook. Wilson has continued interpreting in fresh and creative ways jazz, vintage blues, country and folk music up until the present day.
Wilson’s awards include: two Grammys, the Django D’Or, The Edison Music Award, and a marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail. She also performed one of the leading roles in Wynton Marsalis’ “blood on the Fields’ – the first jazz work to receive a Pulitzer Prize. In 2015, Cassandra Wilson joined forces with the prestigious label, Legacy, a subsidiary of Sony Music. Her latest project, Coming Forth By Day, was released on the 100th anniversary of Billie Holiday's birth - April 7, 2015. She will be performing her tribute to Billie at the upcoming 17th Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
FELIX LABAND ft DEREK GRIPPER (SA)
Felix Laband is widely regarded as one of the most innovative and gifted electronic artists to emerge from South Africa. His music has been described as 'indietronica', creating light, emotional, minimalist soundscapes by combining several styles, and samples from classical, jazz and old television recordings overlaid with instrumental performances. Since the 2001 release of his first full-length album, ‘Thin Shoes’ he has toured extensively around the country and abroad, garnering international attention for his evocative electronic music. 2002 saw the release of ‘4/4 Down The Stairs,’ and in 2005 he released the acclaimed ‘Dark Days Exit’. Now ten years later there is the release of ‘Deaf Safari,’ which has been met with critical acclaim. In an artist statement released with the album Laband says, “I am truly excited to release this album and to start performing in the music world again. It has been ten years sinc v ve I released ‘Dark Days Exit,’ and although I have been purposefully absent from the music world, I have nonetheless never stopped making music. I feel that I have finally arrived at a mature and challenging stage in my pursuit of making emotional music of relevance.” Fellow South African, guitar virtuoso, Derek Gripper, will join Laband on stage during the CTIJF in 2016.
Formed in 2001, Driemanskap hails from the Gugulethu Township on what is known as the Cape Flats. The four-man crew is made up of El Nino, Ma-B, Redondo and Dla and are considered by many in South Africa, to be the vanguard of a new generation of hip hop artists, addressing important social issues though thie musical activism. They are one of the pioneers of the Spaza movement, representing Cape Town with a rhyme style that combines their mother tongue, isiXhosa, with English and Cape Flats slang.
Regular performers at local and international music festivals, the hard-working and highly popular group have also made appearances in a number of television shows as well as being brand ambassadors for a local clothing label. After releasing two mixtapes, ‘Battle of Gugulethu Vol 1’ and ‘Battle of Gugulethu Vol 2’, the crew dropped their EP: ‘Journey of a Soldier’ in September 2015
DEREK GRIPPER (SA)
Derek began his formal musical training at the age of six on the violin. After studying classical music for the next thirteen years he began to look further afield for musical inspiration. On his return he began to focus on the guitar, incorporating various influences into his playing, but it was when he met up with Cape jazz trumpeter Alex van Heerden that he started to see that his previous studies could be used to find new directions for the music of South Africa. After a host of ground-breaking albums, which redefined the landscape of South African music, most notable being the visionary Sagtevlei with Alex van Heerden, Derek began to incorporate the music of other composers in his performances. In 2009 Derek began studying the playing techniques of the kora instrument by learning traditional Malian compositions and two years later had a breakthrough: by using the simple textural language of the Spanish renaissance lute (called vihuela), it was possible to play highly complex kora compositions on the six string guitar, without omitting a note of original performances. Derek Gripper’s project to create an African repertoire for the classical guitar, based on transcriptions of works by some of Africa’s greatest musicians, has resulted in a growing collection of outstanding African Guitar arrangements, bringing the guitar and the music of African to life in new and exciting ways.
SHEILA E. (USA)
Sheila E. (Sheila Escovedo) is a Grammy award nominated, drummer, percussionist, singer and songwriter, who has spent over 40 years in the industry making her innate rhythms heard and followed around the world. She is also an actress, mentor and active philanthropist who is passionate about helping others realise their own potential. These career checkpoints all converged in 2014 with the release of her first album in 13 years, Icon and her autobiography ‘The Beat Of My Own Drum.’ Icon is the convergence of Sheila Escovedo and Sheila E. It is the musician at her consummate best and where she is most comfortable – making music from the heart.
Drawn from her Latin roots and serious family musical pedigree, Sheila E.’s music fuses pop, R&B, funk, rock, Latin and jazz to create a unique signature that has been heard in solo and as support, and pulsating storytelling for industry luminaries like Prince, George Duke, Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie and Herbie Hancock, being molded by the sounds of the Bay area where she grew up. She has also added an arsenal of other credits to her resume having played with Ringo Starr, Gloria Estefan, Pharrell Williams and Beyoncé and more.
Sheila E.’s fierce, dynamic verve onstage has made her a major concert draw since the ‘90s. Along the way, she has acted in several films and launched various music projects (E Train, The E Family). She was the first female Music Director for a late night talk show (“The Magic Hour” with Magic Johnson) and received an Emmy nomination as Musical Director for “Fiesta Latina – A Performance at The White House.”
ELSIES RIVER HIGH SCHOOL (SA)
Without a formal music department, Elsies River High School stands testament to what talent and determination can do in not letting social environments pigeonhole or define them. This award-winning jazz band (it also boasts a choir that has racked up a series of impressive accolades) is a regular attendant at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival’s development programmes and it shows, in the professional arrangement and presentation of their entertaining performances.
Eight years ago the Department of Arts and Culture provided the funding to start the band as a community project. Local musical heroes, Camillo Lombard and Donveno Prins were the project’s founder mentors, but since then the band has expanded, not only in number and support but also in its repertoire and skill and is now exclusively the High School band. It serves as a vital conduit for channelling creative energy from young people who are also faced with socio-economic challenges, affording them the opportunity to turn these disadvantages into beautiful music.
TETE MBAMBISA'S BIG SOUND (SA)
Until recently, award winning South African pianist, Tete Mbambisa’s achievements have been hidden from jazz history. Born in East London’s Duncan Village in 1942, he learned to play the piano his mother had put in her modest shebeen. He credits the place’s pianist, “an old man called Langa”, with teaching him his first chords along with listening to his brother’s record collection, being influenced by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Louis Jordan and the Four Freshmen.
As the pianist with the Jazz Giants, he took a prize at the 1963 Cold Castle Jazz Festival and by 1969, was working with Winston Mankunku and playing, composing and arranging with tenor-player Duku Makasi’s band, the Soul Jazzmen, on the landmark album ‘Inhlupeko’. The composition Black Heroes, which first appeared on his only big-band album, ‘Tete’s Big Sound’ is one if the biggest hits to happen to the South African jazz scene on the 1970s. Now Mbambisa has ended a 20-year recording drought with a solo piano album bearing the same title and carrying two versions of the melody, which he will share with delighted audiences at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in 2016.
TETE MBAMBISA'S BIG SOUND (SA)
Christian Tiger School (Luc Veermeer & Sebastiano Zanasi) is an electronic duo hailing from Cape Town, South Africa. Coming together through their shared love for electronic music and hip hop, the pair found themselves experimenting in early 2011, leading to their debut album ‘Third Floor’ (2012). At the age of 22, the pair has grown to dominate the South African electronic music circuit, frequenting the festival and club scenes, as well as opening for a host of touring acts including the Pet Shop Boys, Little Dragon & Hudson Mohawke. 2013 saw them take on their first U.S. visit where they collaborated with Neo Soul singer Bilal & Queens Rap outfit - Worlds Fair.
2014 saw them perform at SXSW (USA), Primavera Sound (Spain) and CMJ (USA) and the release of ‘Chrome Tapes’, their sophomore release. It sees them taking a new sonic direction. While the hip-hop foundation remains, house and techno have been integrated moving them into the more experimental electronica field. Christian Tiger School are known for their live shows, where they bring about a refreshing production filled with swirling synthesizers and a laidback groove that resonates with their audiences.
LAETITIA DANA (FRANCE)
Laëtitia Dana, packs a powerful musical punch from her petite Parisienne frame. Effortlessly merging jazz, hip hop and neo-soul music styles to create her own unique style, she entertains audiences with charismatic performances and unexpected but ‘sparkling’ sounds. Influenced by the likes of Tribe Called Quest to Jill Scott, and the likes of Mos Def, Angie Stone, stopping by Robert Glasper and The Pharcyde, who have trusted her to open their concerts, she has won critical acclaim and adoring fans the world over. Offering to her audience surprising covers of hip hop classics such as Busta Rhymes’s ‘Woo Hah!!’ and the Notorious BIG‘s ’Juicy’, Laëtitia Dana leaves no room to doubt her audacious talent and creative abilities.
LEGENDARY LADIES IN SONG with DOROTHY MASUKA and ABIGAIL KUBEKA ft. LENNY 'SPECIAL' MABASO (SA)
Dorothy Masuka and Abigail Kubeka are currently touring South Africa, but this special rendition ft. Mabaso, has been especially created for the CTIJF in 2016 and entitled ‘Legendary Ladies in Song’.
Masuka was born in Rhodesia but received her schooling in South Africa and chose to stay there after graduating in order to pursue a musical career. She started out in a show called African Jazz and Variety, imitating American jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald, before moving to London, returning only at the beginning of the 1980s. Her musical style is known as mabira - a fusion of swing and Zulu melodies. Her earlier songs, and most notably "Kutheni Zulu," were hard-edged and political, but she has since chosen to de-emphasize polemics in favor of poetics. With more than 40 years of performing and touring under her belt, she is finally enjoying celebrity status in the music world.
Multi-award winning Abigail Kubeka is an adored singer, songwriter, musical arranger and actress known primarily for her musical performances, especially in cabaret. Sophiatown in the 1950s, where Kubeka spent her teens, formed the cultural ethos from which Kubeka was to emerge as one of the youngest of the legendary artists who helped define the contours of South African musical and cultural identity in the 1950s. A prolific and versatile entertainer, Kubeka has performed to critical acclaim across venues in Africa, Europe and Asia, appearing alongside such stars as Eartha Kitt, Percy Sledge and Monk Montgomery and a slew of local legends.
Kubeka also developed a career as an acclaimed actress in film, television and on stage. She writes and arranges many of her own songs, singing in many languages including Afrikaans. She has performed for huge audiences as well as more intimate ones, including former president Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth II.
Lemmy ‘Special’ Mabaso was discovered at the age of 10, starring in the musical ‘King Kong’ and travelling to London to perform before Princess Margaret playing his pennywhistle. By 12 years old, was earning a living playing kwela music on street corners in Johannesburg (having been born in Alexander township). The legendary jazz saxophonist is acknowledged as the uncrowned king of the early jazz/jive pennywhistlers in South Africa in the late 50s and early 60s.
THEMBA MOKOENA (SA)
Themba Mokoena is one of the country’s finest guitarists. Taught to play by an elder brother, he started performing professionally in the sixties with marabi and jazz bands, later joining the Durban Expressions, a jazz combo that toured extensively and relocated to Johannesburg in 1972. On his arrival in the city of gold, Mokoena’s guitar playing skills caught the attention of the father of township theatre, Gibson Kente, performing in most of his plays and at Soweto’s famous cabaret club.
With the demise of township soul and jazz in the late seventies, Mokoena performed mainly as a session artist. In recent times he has toured and performed with Sibongile Khumalo in overseas gigs in countries such as Israel and Switzerland. He is revered by young musicians as a great guitarist and has mentored a younger generation of jazz artists such as Jimmy Dludlu and Selaelo Selota.
HICHAM TELMOUDI (MOROCCO)
Born in 1973, Hicham TELMOUDI is a confirmed musician, composer, arranger and conductor from the city of Marrakech. Since a very young age, he felt attracted by art and thus began to covet several theater groups where he discovered the magic of the stage featuring the world of music. As an incredibly determined and passionate young man, he followed an academic curriculum in the conservatories of Marrakech, Agadir and Rabat until obtaining the highest diplomas in both Oriental and Classical violin. As far as his professional career is concerned, the latter is indeed very diverse, acquiring an international dimension during his long stays in the Middle East and Europe, where he actually robbed shoulders with very famous musicians. These very rewarding experiences allowed him to craft his musical identity, specific for sure as well as very open. Hicham TELMOUDI is currently professor of violin at the Conservatory of Marrakech, Head of the Regional Orchestra of Marrakech, soloist as well as a very brilliant composer and arranger. Also, the year 2015 was decisive for the artist who produced two musical albums: “TAJ MAROC” as well as “AJI NWERIK BLADI”, literally traduced as “Come, let me show you my country”. In this very album, he actually takes some key elements of the Moroccan musical varieties, from the north to the south of the country, which he revisits and to which he gives a new lease of life and modernity, including a new perception of the 5/4 rhythm in some tracks. Moreover, he is preparing a big show for December, highlighting his brand new creations on stage.
BEAT BANGAZ (SA)
As a collective and individually the Beatbangaz boasts with careers that spans more than two decades within the field of hip hop and DJ’ing. The pioneering African DJ collective was it’s roots within the Cape Town hip hop culture that emerged in the early 80’s and the group has officially formed in 1999 after Ready D’s successful career as a battle DJ competing in the prestigious Technics DMC’s locally and abroad in the US, London and France. The crew consist out of DJ E-20 - DJ Ready D & DJ Azuhl
The philosophy behind forming the crew was to make a statement against gang violence on The Cape Flats seeing that they are from those communities - instead of gang banging - they bang beats, hence the name - Cape Flatz Beatbangaz.
MICK JENKINS (USA)
Jayson Jenkins, better known as Mick Jenkins (his stage name), is an American hip-hop recording artist born in Huntsville, Alabama on April 16th, 1991. He was then raised on the south side of Chicago, Illinois. Jenkins is a member of Free Nation, a hip-hop group that promotes creative thought without accepting narrow views imposed by the powers that be.
In the spring of 2013 Mick released a mixtape entitled “Trees and Truths” that quickly became a local favorite, buoyed by acid jazz-influenced production, biblical allegory and lacerating lyricism. The project was by far his most lyrical body of work and caught the attention of Chicago’s incipient gatekeepers. A few months after its release, a collaboration with Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa came in the form of a single entitled “Crossroads”, which was a summer hit.
On August 12, 2014, Jenkins released “The Water[s]”, a project spearheaded by the release of "Martyrs”, a record that juxtaposes harsh truths about society with thought-provoking single with various underlying messages and subtle notions. Centered around the idea of comparing water to life's truths, “The Water[s]” has garnered national attention and serves as Jenkins' breakout project while receiving critical acclaim.
In November of 2014 Jenkins toured on The Smoker's Club Worldwide Rollers tour with Method Man, Redman, B-Real, and Berner. In February of 2015, he headlined his first national tour with Pro Era's Kirk Knight, selling out almost half the shows on tour. Jenkins later joined Joey Bada$$ for Phase 1 of his World Domination Tour in June 2015 while playing festivals like Bonnaroo & JMBLA.
ILHAN ERSAHIN'S ISTANBUL SESSIONS (TURKEY)
Confusion is good sometimes. It’s a way to start thinking about whatever you are confused about. This is what Ilhan Ersahin’s Istanbul Sessions do since 2008. They managed to fire the stages all across the world: from New York to Istanbul, from Paris to Sao Paolo, from London to Skopje… Questions they spread all these years where like: are they really turkish? is this really jazz? doesn’t it sound like a rock band? how come a jazz ensemble can really be like a band? How can they be so able to jam with any musician they meet on stage? And so on…
It’s a simple fact Ilhan Ersahin, being one of the rare moguls of New York City underground scene via his club and record label (nublu), is traveling all around the world. It’s possible to see him jamming with Red Hot Chili Peppers in Sao Paolo, featuring Bugge Wesseltoft in Blue Note Tokyo and/or playing a beautiful oriental set with turkish gypsies in an elegant concert hall somewhere in Europe. His newyorker energy is with him all the time. How about Istanbul Sessions then? It’s a summary of all you read above. Master level musicianship meets a high eclecticism where the cliché of “east-to-west crossover” finds its true sense and power. A session is a meeting of a deliberative body to conduct its business. In this case, the business is music, and the music is another heavyweight long player from Ilhan Ersahin & crew. Upon listening to the record for the first time, one word overrides every other emotion and devours the mind: Cinema.
More specifically, “cinematic.” Ersahin’s sax sounds like it was recorded in the fucking Alps. Or in the sweeping sand dunes and Oasis’s of the Middle East. It’s just that W I D E. On “Falling,” Ersahin’s sax is practically 3-dimensional. Double tracked and bathed in a healthy dose of reverb, the saxophone and rhythm of the band evoke a story-like narrative. From the mad-man trills strewn throughout the track, to the soaring, almost stadium anthem chorus. Clearly, it’s all about the (s)axe, and Ilhan Ersahin is YOUR axeman.
History has a tendency to repeat itself, and for the third time ‘round, East meets West once again. And the results are more satisfying than that mammoth inter-racial orgy you’re always fantasizing of. Through Ersahin’s playing, you can hear the ghostly echoes of dead, pre-war jazz greats behind his frenzy-inducing saxophone playing. You can also hear the Siren’s call, the brooding beauty of the shrouded mystery that is the Desert. Devilishly hot and bothered, the dry night air caresses your face, stirring a primal urge that excites as you step out into the glow of the Turkish metropolis. An Istanbul session, awaits.
AMEL LARRIEUX (USA)
Grammy nominated Amel Larrieux is an American singer-songwriter and keyboardist. Larrieux rose to fame in the mid-1990s as a founding member of the duo Groove Theory along with Bryce Wilson. In 2000, she released her debut album Infinite Possibilities on Epic Records, which she co-wrote and co-produced. The album reached seventy-nine on the Billboard 200 and number twenty-one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, and produced the hit ‘Get Up’, her highest charting solo hit to date. In late 2003, Larrieux and her husband producer, Laru Larrieux founded the independent label, ‘Blisslife Records,’ on which she has released five albums to date.
Larrieux's collaboration with Stanley Clarke and Glenn Lewis on the cover version ‘Where is the love’ received a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Larrieux cites Ella Fitzgerald, Prince, Sade, Rickie Lee Jones, Stevie Wonder, Shawn Colvin, Chaka Khan, John Lennon, Patrice Rushen, Jimi Hendrix and Joni Mitchell as her musical influences. Many of these are drawn from R7B, soul, jazz, folk, hip-hop and gospel with flashes of Middle Eastern, West African, and Indian ethnic styles. She has often been documented for describing her music as “Amel’s music” (Amel means ‘hope’ in Arabic).
BASIA TRZETRZELEWSKA (UK/POLAND)
Poland-native and a British citizen for the most of her life - Basia Trzetrzelewska was introduced as a vocalist with the group Matt Bianco. She and the group’s main composer, keyboardist Danny White, left to begin work on their debut album "Time and Tide". The album was successful throughout Europe and Japan, but it took some adventurous D.J.s to import the album to a new radio audience stateside. The buzz led to "Time and Tide"’s official US release and three Adult Contemporary hits. Basia’s versatility has earned her two consecutive number one Billboard Contemporary Jazz albums with the single “Cruising For Bruising” from the second album “London Warsaw New York”, which resulted in another platinum record. In 1994, Basia developed a more organic sound, with a full band and a deeper variety of musical texture. Once again her appeal continued to penetrate beyond genre lines as “Drunk On Love” became a #1 Billboard Club Play hit while “The Sweetest Illusion” rode the pop album chart. A world tour followed and culminated in a two-week run on Broadway, recorded for the live album "Basia on Broadway".
Danny, along with Mark Reilly, pulled Basia back into the fray to recast their early sound for the 2004 Matt Bianco album "Matt’s Mood”, on which they were joined by a tight band of accomplished musicians, with whom they work until now.In 2008 Basia was back in action with her strongest work yet, "It’s That Girl Again", an album that brings her trademark global pop/jazz sound into today. From the first strum of the guitar to the last cheer from the crowd, the album is a great showing from an established artist firmly planted in the here-and-now. This album was followed by the release of another live album, "From Newport To London", this time recorded in Poland, also including some new studio songs.At the moment Basia and Danny White are working on a new album, which they hope to release in 2015. Those, long-frustrated by the current state of pop music are craving something original and will surely enjoy this new release!
Beatenberg is a fresh new face in pop music from South Africa. Or rather, three faces - Matthew Field, vocals and guitar, Ross Dorkin, who plays the bass, and Robin Brink who plays the drums. Songwriter Matthew says their beat “is about emotions, images and fleeting senses of things: the mad stuff that everyone feels and almost understands.” Their first album, Farm Photos, released independently in 2011, was a tender and somewhat naïve offering which somehow made a strange and lasting impression with its sophisticated harmony, sincere delivery and boyish lyrics. In 2012, Beatenberg opened for The Tallest Man On Earth. This was a special concert that got a lot of people talking about them and several features in the media. They also played ‘Rocking the Daisies’ in 2012. But that was not the final definition of Beatenberg: in 2014, the band pointed towards a new direction.
Having initially got South Africans asking, “Who is Chelsea Blakemore”, Beatenberg broke a number of records with their collaboration with DJ Clock, Pluto (Remember You), spending 17 weeks at Number #1. They are a self-declared ‘pop’ band whose aesthetic is clear but alluring blends synth elements with ‘africanesque’ guitar lines and stark, haunting vocals, while the also displays their core as a trio that actually plays instruments. They are creating and defining a “new South African sound” that pays homage to our country’s musical heritage whilst also breaking new ground with their unmistakably global pop sensibility.
BÄNZ OESTER AND THE RAINMAKERS (SWISS/SA)
The Swiss-South African jazz collaboration is made up of bassist Bänz Oester and saxophonist Ganesh Geymeier from Switzerland, and pianist Afrika Mkhize and drummer Ayanda Sikade from South Africa. They call their exuberant sound ‘music of intention’. Coming about as a result of a chance encounter, Oester, Geymeier, Mkhize and Sikade met at the National Arts Festival in 2011, when the seed was planted to collaborate on a more regular basis.
This camaraderie and shared musical philosophy has since blossomed with a series of successful concerts in Switzerland and the release of an album, Playing at the Bird’s Eye, recorded live at the Basel jazz club of the same name in 2012. Echoing the members’ varying backgrounds and traditions, the band’s style is suitably eclectic – incorporating seductive and funky blues, African rhythms and Swiss folk tunes, all mashed up with a good measure of blinding improvisation. Mkhize is the 2012 Standard Bank Young Artist for jazz, and is known for his distinctive piano playing. He has also worked as a producer for the likes of Themba Mkhize (his father), Sibongile Khumalo and Kabelo, and served as musical director for the late Miriam Makeba for many years. Sikade, a talented drummer, has worked with such luminaries as Feya Faku, Bheki Mseleku, Robbie Jansen, Barney Rachabane, Darius Brubeck and the late Zim Ngqawana. Oester, on contra bass, is regarded as one of Europe’s leading jazz bassists, and also lectures at the music academies of Basel and Lausanne. Fellow Swiss, Geymeier, on tenor saxophone, has a style that pulses with emotional fire while being buoyed by a delicate spaciousness. The one word that comes up most frequently in descriptions of the band’s music is “joy”.
CARLO MOMBELLI AND THE STORYTELLERS (SWISS/SA)
South African bassist/composer Carlo Mombelli started his professional playing career in the band of one of South Africa’s most important jazz guitarists, the late Johnny Fourie. In 1985 Carlo started the group ‘Abstractions’ developing and performing his original compositions in downtown Johannesburg clubs like Jameson’s and Kippies, as well as a weekly midnight solo bass set at the Black Sun in Berea. Carlo has since recorded and performed at many festivals around the world. Back home he can be heard as a bassist on many South African recordings with amongst others, TlaleMakhene, ZimNgqawana, Marcus Wyatt, Simphiwe Dana, Sibongile Khumalo and Miriam Makeba. Besides the many ballets that have been choreographed to his music, he has also recorded several CD’s and DVD’s of his own works and has been nominated three times for a SAMA (South African Music Awards).
He has given composition and performance workshops around the world from the Munich Richard Strauss Conservatory to the ‘Berklee College of Music’ in Boston, USA. Carlo’s book ‘Mombelli’s Intergalactic Bass Program – Volume 1’ was published in 2011. Carlo currently teaches jazz studies and composition at The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Johannesburg, where he received his doctorate in composition (DMus) in 2009. The Storytellers include: MbusoKhoza: voice, Adrian Mears: trombone Daniel Pezzotti: cello; DejanTerzic: drums & Kyle Shepherd: piano – together, their musical compositions have been credited as being “avant-garde, gorgeous, visionary, emotional and experimental.”
CLAUDE COZENS TRIO (SA)
Cozens is fast establishing himself as one of South Africa’s most sought-after drummers. Known for his distinctive, open-style percussive drumming technique, he is also a talented pianist, composer and drum tutor. Apart from leading his own Trio, Cozens’ compelling energy and inventiveness has seen him perform with a wide array of creative artists locally and abroad. In a major pioneering innovation in drum design, Kyle Shepherd and Claude Cozens designed and built what is believed to be the world’s first complete Ghoema Drum Kit! The Drum Kit was launched at the world première of Shepherd’s 'Xamissa' project at Festival d’Automne à Paris, in France.
Selected Recording Credits include, ‘fineART’ - Kyle Shepherd, ‘Mirrors’ - Bokani Dyer and ‘Insurrections’ - Indian and South African artists, Ari Sitas, Sazi Dlamini, Neo Muyanga, SumangalaDamodaran, TapanMullick, Tina Schouw and MalikaNdlovu. Cozens is set to release his debut album, ‘JubileeJam’, a studio recording of his Trio featuring Kyle Shepherd on keyboard and synthesisers and Benjamin Jephta on bass and all the original tracks composed by Cozens. While his music naturally reflects the rich and diverse sounds and rhythms of his hometown, Cape Town, the African continent and Jazz, Cozens has already ventured beyond that in his quest to write his own story and carve out his own unique identity as an artist. For Cozens the inextricable link of music to spirituality and the yearning for something deeper is always at the heart of what he trying to do and say with his music. “I do believe that music is highly spiritual. Music will have an effect in the spiritual realms.”
COURTNEY PINE O.B.E. and C.B.E PRESENTS HOUSE OF LEGENDS (UK)
Born to Jamaican immigrants and wanting to be an astronaut when he grew up, Courtney Pine C.B.E. is a ground-breaking, multi- instrumentalist who over the past twenty years, has led a transformation in the British Jazz scene and a generation of exciting and innovative players to broaden their styles to take jazz out to a wider audience – not quite outer space, but pretty close. His music integrates modern British music like drum and bass and UK garage with contemporary jazz styles.
He runs his own band and integrates many contemporary musicians in his performances. House of Legends is Pine’s 15th studio album and sees him return to the saxophone and features his soprano sax exclusively for the first time. House of Legends – the Jazzwise album of the year2012 - has been enthusiastically received on its world tour and comes to South Africa with musicians from Africa, the Caribbean and Europe that tell Pine’s personal journey from a multi-cultural point of view. The sounds of Merengue, Ska, Mento and Calypso are played with vigour and sheer enjoyment that induces audiences to dance the night away.
Pine was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2000, and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours for services to jazz music. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Westminster on 6 December 2004, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Southampton on 15 July 2010.
DIRTY LOOPS (SWEDEN)
Dirty Loops, managed by the legendary writer and producer, Andreas Carlsson, is the Swedish sensation band from Stockholm, consisting of Jonah Nilsson (vocals and piano), Henrik Linder (bass) and Aron Mellergårdh (drums) who have known each other since their study days at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. All childhood prodigies, they have combined to create a sound that defies definition and showcases their musicianship and arrangement skills, leading to the formation of Dirty Loops in 2008.
They signed a global record deal with Producer David Foster under Universal Music’s subsidiary, Verve in 2012 and released their debut album, Loopified in Japan in April 2014 followed by releases in the UK in May and the US in August where it featured on the Billboard charts. Their soundscape explores bouncy beats, interesting re-harmonisations, layered with their special twist on pop music, providing the perfect backdrop for Jonah’s wide-ranging vocals. The group has made the successful quantum leap from being a cover band to presenting unique and infectious original music that is taking digital and live audiences on a trip of notes. As Quincy Jones simply puts it, “Dirty Loops are just incredible!”
GERALD CLAYTON TRIO (USA)
Three-time Grammy nominated jazz artist, Gerald Clayton has been hailed by The New York Times for his “huge, authoritative presence.” Three albums over the course of eight years, and countless worldwide performances, pianist and composer Gerald Clayton has established himself as a leading figure in the up-and-coming generation of jazz artists who are fluent in the range of styles that make up today’s jazz lexicon. Gerald received the second place prize in the prestigious Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz Piano Competition. Gerald is the son of acclaimed jazz bassist, composer and bandleader, John Clayton, who has supported and encouraged the impresario since he first showed signs of musical talent at the age of three, which in 2006, led to the second place prize in the prestigious Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz Piano Competition. Around that time, he was introduced to trumpeter Roy Hargrove when they were both featured artists at a performance of the Henry Mancini Orchestra. “That was how things started.” Life Forum was released in 2013 and his most ambitious project to date. Clayton does not want to be defined by any one musical tradition, “I prefer to ignore the boxes, the genre distinctions,” he says. ”I focus on creating honest musical expressions and collaborating with people whose ideas resonate with my own.”
DELFT BIG BAND (SA)
The Delft Big Band, under the Directorship of Ian Smith, was launched in August 2008 as an initiative by the Department of Social Development and NGO Cape Outdoor Adventure Service and Training.
This development programme is targeted at vulnerable youth from high schools in Leiden, Rosendal and Voorbrug. Through this program, which has early intervention as a core element, music is used as a vehicle to equip the youth with valuable life-skills. The band has performed in many local events to foot tapping acclaim.
These include: the Sekunjalo Edujazz; The Cape Town Big Band Festival at the Baxter; the Community Jazz Festival in Guguletu for the Amy Biehl Foundation and various performances at the City Hall such as The Brass Band Pops and joint concerts with the American Palm Springs Band. The band has also travelled abroad where they performed in Norway and their own Tour de France in September 2013 and then in July this year, 13 of the members travelled to Liverpool, England to be part of the Brouhaha “Youth in the World” International Street Festival in Liverpool.
MADALA KUNENE (SA)
Madala Kunene (guitarist) has been described as ‘having a single-minded and uniquely unconventional nature.’ Despite being born into a family of academics, school didn’t feature highly in his life, beginning his busking career on Durban’s beachfront at the ripe age of seven.
He made his first guitar out of a cooking oil tin and fish gut for the strings, and very quickly became a popular performer in the townships. In the early seventies he started to perform as a professional artist playing in variety of styles. Discovered by Sipho Gumede, Madala went to work in Johannesburg, where he considered himself privileged to share the stage with such luminaries as Doc Mthalane and his band, Songamasu, Shor Philips, MankunkuNgozi and Busi Mhlongo. Encouraged by his friend DuzeMahlobo, he revived the 'Madalaine' style of guitar playing, combining blues & soul with African folk, and developed the trance - like quality of his Zulu folk singing. Madala has steadfastly refused to give in to commercial whim, “I want to be myself, to play the kind of music that comes from within me." Kunene draws his influences from Zulu folklore and culture and with wit and clarity, relates traditional Zulu folk tales preserved for posterity. Madala Kunene now performs to audiences around the world.
THE MAHOTELLA QUEENS 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION WITH SPECIAL GUESTS (SA)
The Mahotella Queens is a South African female group formed in 1964 by music producer Rupert Bopape. Originally a studio recording group consisting of around five or six singers, the current line-up of the Queens comprises Hilda Tloubatla, NobesuthuMbadu and Amanda Nkosi who joined the line-up in 2013 on the retirement of Mildred Mangxola.
The group is noted for their distinct vocal harmony sound, guitar-led mbaqanga music and fast-paced stage dancing. Celebrating their golden jubilee in 2014, the group has had hit singles throughout their illustrious career. Their international breakthrough came in 1987, in the wake of the success of Paul Simon’s seminal Graceland album. Interest in “world” music exploded and the international community sat up and started taking serious notice of South African indigenous sounds. They have toured with many great names and in 2010 they appeared in Pee Wee Ellis’s show Still Black, Still Proud: An African Tribute to James Brown, and toured the UK with Hugh Masekela the same year. In 2013, the Queens proved that they have their finger firmly on the pulse of contemporary music, recording a modernised version of Gazette/Kazet, one of their best-known hits, with singer Zamo and kwaito star Brickz for the MTN8 football tournament.
What keeps the Mahotella Queens going strong after five decades – and making music with such apparent effortless ease? Says Hilda: “I guess we are true musicians – born musicians – we’re talented! We’ve got the spirit of true musicians, hence we know how to go about a song, how to do a song.
MELANIE SCHOLTZ PRESENTS "OUR TIME" FT JITSVINGER (SA)
Melanie Scholtz is an award winning jazz singer and composer. Playing piano since the age of five, she went on to study classical singing at the Eoan Group before completing an Opera Diploma Cum Laude at the University of Cape Town in 2000. Melanie has released five albums as well as collaborating with many South African and international jazz artists. In 2012, Melanie won all three prizes in the prestigious Jazz Revelations competition as part of the Jazz a Juan Festival held in Nice, France.
She was invited to be part of the festival programme in 2013 and continues to tour internationally on a regular basis. Her latest offering, Our Time, speaks of heritage and ancestry – an answer to the call to receive the baton being passed down from one generation to the next. Produced by Bokani Dyer, fellow Standard bank Young Artist award winner, the album features a stellar array of amazingly talented musicians, among others, Shane Cooper, Benjamin Jephta, Marlon Witbooi, KissangwaMbouta, GormHelfjord, John Hassan, Justin Bellairs, James McClure, Siya Charles, Riccardo Morretti and Jitsvinger.
This album draws from old and new. Ranging from Motown, to Jazz to Hip Hop, creating a Neo South African hybrid. The addition of Cape Town born MC extraordinaire, Jitsvinger, solidifies the awareness of paying homage to where we come from as young South African artists. “A new generation with a new sound, born out of pride and celebration for who we are and who we will become. It’s our time now….”
NAIMA KAY (SA)
Afro-jazz sensation Naima Kay, born Lungile Khumalo, is a 2014 South African Music Award (SAMA) ‘Best Newcomer’ award winner. Discovered by Touch Africa Records, at a jazz festival in Port Shepstone in 2009, where she grew up, her stage name “Naima” is an Arabic name meaning ‘peace’.
An inherently ‘shy’ person, she expresses herself through her music and released her debut album, the 12-track Umsebenzi, early last year, which she says both young and older people can relate to. “I write about love, life and things that happen around us. There’s also a gospel song on the album.” She has been writing songs for other artists, including her brother, DJ Sammy for many years, but has fully stepped out into the limelight, to embrace a musical career. She attributes her influences to her brother and 83 year old grandmother, and being in church which inspired her to write the debut song Lelilanga which achieved significant airplay and led to her award. Her vocal range is wide and encompasses a spread of melody that gives her a unique and ‘quality’ sound that both pleases and soothes the ear and confirms she is indeed a star in rising.
SIPHO "HOTSTIX" MABUSE (SA)
A SAMA Lifetime Achievement Award (2005) and with numerous industry accolades, the ‘Gentle Giant of SA Music’ wears many hats – entertainer, businessman, father and care-giver to many. From Carnegie Hall, New York to Newtown, Johannesburg, when "Hotstix" hits a stage, the world sits up and listens. Born in Johannesburg in 1951, Mabuse began playing the drums from the age of 8 – the instrument that garnered him the nickname "Hotstix”. He has mastered many more instruments – flute, piano, saxophone, kalimba, alto flute and Aftican drums among them. He began his career as a professional musician at the age of 15 forming the band: The Beaters, which evolved to become Harari. In 1978 the group performed in the USA with Hugh Masekela and subsequently supported and backed Percy Sledge, Timmy Thomas, Letta Mbula, Brook Benton and Wilson Pickett on their South African tours.
This eclectic ensemble was impossible to categorise; mixing funk and disco with jazz, while also using traditional African instruments to create a completely unique sound. They were the ultimate party band, splitting in 1982 with Mabuse going onto a long and successful solo career that continues today. In 1985, he released probably his single most important hit, Burn Out, which became South Africa’s first crossover hit. After a ten-year sabbatical, he released the album Township Child in 1996, catapulting him into international stardom where he remains.
The founder and owner of the famous ‘Kippies’ jazz establishment after which one of the stages at the CTIJF is named, Mabuse has had a career spanning 50 years. He continues to perform but has also devoted a significant part of his life to philanthropic works and supporting local causes and is a regular commentator and contributor to debates around arts & culture, with board positions on The National Arts Council and SAMRO (the South African Music Rights Organisation) as well as now Chairman of Music Exchange.
SONS OF KEMET (UK)
Sons of Kemet are a British jazz group formed in 2011, made up of Shabaka Hutchings (founder, saxophone and clarinet), Oren Marshall (tuba), SebRochford (drums) and Tom Skinner (drums). Their music is an eclectic mixture of jazz, rock, Caribbean folk and African music.
The band won 'Best Jazz Act' at the 2013 MOBO Awards and in September2013, released their debut album ‘Burn’, which received a variety of awards and nominations, including the Arts Desk 'Album of the Year 2013' and a nomination for Gilles Peterson's Album of the Year. Sons of Kemet’s unique and infectious take on jazz, using its twin percussion element, is earning them a loyal following wherever they play. Beyond the impressive credentials of the band members, it is the raison d'être of the group that explains why it has made a sizeable impact in its short life span. There is a meaningful cultural slant to the whole project with Hutchings in particular, drawing influence from legendary artists Count Ossie and Cedric ‘Im' Brooks to produce the ‘happy island music sound that links to the African diaspora.’
The bands name is derived from ancient Egypt where the last Nubian king was called Shabaka who wrote the ideological principles of the time – the Kemetic Principles –, which have influenced Greek philosophy and expound on universal consciousness, which the band aims to evoke through its musical sound.
WALLACE RONEY QUINTET FT LENNY WHITE & BUSTER WILLIAMS (USA)
A product of the Berklee School of Music, Wallace Roney is an American hard bop and post-bop trumpeter. He has been playing since the age of 16 and earned the admiration and respect of his colleagues and elders in the process. He is one of the few musicians of his generation who learned and perfected his craft directly from alliances with ‘Jazz Masters’. His most important and meaningful relationship being with Miles Davis who mentored him after hearing Wallace play at his 1983 birthday gala performance in Carnegie Hall.
Their association peaked when Miles chose Wallace to share the stage at his historic performance in Montreux in 1991. After Davis died, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams and Roney banded together and toured the world in tribute. Wallace has played with many of the industry’s luminaries: Tony Williams, Ornette Coleman, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Philly Joe Jones, Walter Davis Jr., Herbie Hancock, Jay McShann, David Murray, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Rollins, Curtis Fuller, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Dizzy Gillespie and more.
Joining Roney on this tour are Lenny White and Buster Williams. White is a fusion drummer and acclaimed producer known for his versatility. He has played with the likes of Miles Davis, Stan Getz and Joe Henderson amongst others over a career spanning more than three decades. He has co-created some of the industry’s most influential music. Williams (born Charles Anthony Williams) is a Grammy award winning bassist. With many other awards and acknowledgements under his belt, he has played, recorded and collaborated with many of the giants of the Jazz world including soundtracks for multiple films and television shows.
ZOE MODIGA (SA)
Zoe Modiga was born Palesa Nomthandazo Phumelele Modiga in Overport Durban, raised in Pietermaritzburg. She attended school at the National School of the Arts in Braamfontein, Johannesburg where she studied classical piano, clarinet and singing. She is currently doing her third year at the South African Music College UCT, majoring in Jazz Vocals.
This singer, songwriter and performer has been a part of celebrated festivals such as the Aardklop Festival, Artscape Youth Jazz Festival, UCT Jazz Festival, Joy of Jazz and The Cape Town International Jazz Festival. She has shared stages with Gloria Bosman, Matthew Gold, The Kiffness, Breakfast Included, the Frank Paco Ensemble, Mark Fransman, and Marcus Wyatt. She aspires to pursuing a multi facet career where her singing, song writing and performing is challenged, revered, inspired and influential.
Winner of the 2015 Open Mic series, Zoe's undeniable talent and stage presence have inspired festival organisers to up the main prize of her performing at CTIJF free concert to include a performance at the main festival