Posts Tagged ‘Cape Town Jazz Festival’

I was fortunate enough to attend the 12th Annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival this past weekend. Known as Africa’s Grandest Gathering, it’s been rated the 4th best jazz festival in the world by many critics and it certainly lived up to its billing. 5 stages, over 40 artists, as well as crowds in excess of 35000 people were at the Cape Town International Convention Center on 25th and 26th of March.

Friday Night

As I walked in towards the Kippies stage, I recognised one of my favourite SA jazz tracks, ‘Harolds Bossa’ by the late Hotep Galeta covered wonderfully by the Cape Town Tribute Band which consisted of some South Africa’s finest jazz musicians. Errol Dyers also featured on guitar. Brilliant.

The band payed homage to South Africa’s  fallen jazz legends (Hotep Galeta, Tony Schilder and Winston Mankuku to name but a few…) People were getting down. It was a great opener to the festival and I don’t think anyone wasn’t smiling.

Next up was Ivan Mazuse, a saxophonist/flautist from Mozambique on the Manenberg stage. Afro-Latin jazz fusion is the name of the game here. I had never heard him before but it was sounding hot. He had two female backup vocalists as well as a chick supporting him on tenor sax. A very interesting combo was the vocalists scatting the melodies along with Ivan’s sax, it made for a very cool sounding melody line. His pianist did an amazing electro synth solo which gave the otherwise organic sound a nice twist.

American Dave Koz was next, and he brought his full 5 piece band as well. He is known as one of the finest exponents of smooth jazz (which sometimes is zzzzzz). But this guy was really entertaining. I expected him to just stand there and play the songs but from the opening song I could tell this was gonna be special. He started playing Nkosi Sikeleli iAfrika, and the crowd went nuts and started singing along. He even sang a couple songs (which is new). They played music from his latest album ‘Hello Tomorrow’ and its surprisingly funky. Maybe it’s because his guitarist was ripping it up that night.  A very cool surprise was when Dave called out BeBe Winans to perform ‘The Dance’. This is probably Dave’s most well known song in SA and the crowd was singing it back to BeBe. Amazing.

Next up was Wayne Shorter , arguably one of the world’s greatest living jazz composers. His quartet featured bassist John Patitucci, drummer Brian Blade, and pianist Danilo Perez. When you get a standing ovation before you even start playing then you got some skills.  Their set was unlike anything I’ve ever heard in my life. Improvisation to the nth degree. I reckon this is one of the best jazz quartets in the world right now and I just sat there open-mouthed at the brilliance of these musicians. They played with virtually no boundaries, whenever a new idea popped up they went with it. History played out on that Rosie’s stage and I was fortunate enough to experience it.

Christian Scott, a New Orleans-born Grammy nominated trumpet player was up next. This guy won the Edison Award (The jazz equivalent of a Grammy) and he’s still in his 20s. His quintet consisted of Lawrence Fields (piano), Matt Stevens (guitar), Kris Funn (bass) and Jamire Williams (drums). These guys play some of the freshest, most unique music I’ve heard in a while. Poly-rhythms and dissonant chords combined with Scott’s breathy technique makes for a unique listening experience. And the music is not all jazz chords and nice arrangements either. They played a song called Danziger Bridge Massacre which was inspired by the massacre of the same name that occurred just after Hurricane Katrina. Google it and then listen to the song, you’ll see what I mean. The set was brilliant, the guitarist playing a pretty amazing solo on ‘Litany Against Fear’ with the drummer providing some intense rhythms all round.

Tortured Soul, from the USA, were probably the biggest hit of the night. They play house music, live. I don’t think they knew how much South Africans luuuurv house music. The three piece (Bass, drums, and keys with the drummer on vocals) kept it tight with well-timed syncopations and the typical house ‘break’ which was used to great delight of the crowd. The smooth vocals of the drummer also kept it nice and soulful.

A great first night to an amazing festival. Part 2 coming soon!

Tech it or leave it 😛

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Attention Earth! We’ll be blogging from some of the biggest events to come to our Country this year! Look out on Saturday, for a review on Cirque du Soleil from Waxlyrical, and live Top Gear Festival Updates from Weldedgrass, thatmanruss and MundaneDestroyer! Also next week you’ll be getting live Tweets from the Cape Town Jazz festival courtesy of Musos Jamo251 and MightyMatt1989! Featuring next week will be a Steak House review, as well as our review of the much anticipated BattleLosAngeles .. Follow us on @likeheheheh because I can guarentee it doesn’t end there.

Just because I’m amazing!

The second batch of artists performing at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival was announced on Tuesday.

Here they are:

Don Laka (SA)

Bebe Winans (USA)

Chieli Minucci and Special EFX(USA)

Sekunjalo Edujazz Band (SA)

Citie (Botswana)

Jazzanova (Germany)

Orlando Venhereque(Mozambique/SA)

Chuck Loeb and special guest Carmen Cuesta (USA/Spain)

Feya Faku (SA)

Tribute to Oscar Peterson featuring Jon van Poll, James Scholfield and Hein van de Geyn (USA)

Hugh Masekela & Larry Willis present “Almost like Jazz” feat Victor Masondo & Lee-Roy Sauls(SA)

Guitafrika (SA/Niger/Mauritius)

Conversations with Victor Masondo, Prince Lengoaso, Kevin Gibson, Mark Fransman and Donveno Prins (SA)

Cindy Blackman “Another Lifetime” – Tony Williams Tribute Quartet (USA)

Stereotype Records presents Chad Saaiman, Lloyd Jansen & Mathew Moolman (SA)

Tumi and the Volume (SA)

Tortured Soul (USA)

Naima Mclean (SA)

Big names in the line-up include German nu-jazz outfit Jazzanova as well as BeBe Winans and ‘Bra’ Hugh Masekela. There is a nice mix of local and international artists, which is always nice to see

This is no doubt going to be one amazing festival…

 

Tech it or leave it 😛

Jazzanova have confirmed!

more to follow…

This was the reponse by many a music lover after the Best New Artist Grammy Award went to relatively unknown jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding. Many expected YoungMoney affiliate Drake or teeny-bopper Justine, sorry, Justin Bieber to win the award (sorry for all the Beliebers :P). Florence + The Machine and even Mumford & Sons had high hopes for the award, but it was eventually Esperanza that prevailed, stunning the mainstream music audience…(Who is this chick??)

In short, she is one talented young woman. Proficient on the double bass, bass guitar, violin, oboe and clarinet, she was able to play the violin at only 5 years old. Spalding says that discovering the bass  was like  “waking up one day and realizing you’re in love with a co-worker.” Apparently she picked it up after she got bored playing on the other instruments. A full scholarship at the Berklee College of Music enabled her to grow and soon she was touring the local jazz scene. She does not consider herself a musical prodigy though. “I am surrounded by prodigies everywhere I go, but because they are a little older than me, or not a female, or not on a major label, they are not acknowledged as such.”  The truth is, such talent should not go unnoticed and it seems like her star is shining brighter and brighter.

Three albums have been released so far: Junjo (2006), Esperanza (2008) and Chamber Music Society (2010). She’ll also be performing at the 2011 Cape Town Jazz Festival (Yay!!)

tech it or leave it 😛

The first half of the list has been released, and I must say it is looking hot!

Big names include Earth, Wind & Fire, Dave Koz as well as upcoming bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding. Not many people know her music, but I can guarantee she’ll be in the hearts and minds of many a jazz lover after this festival…

This prestigious festival takes place on 25-26 March 2011

Line up

Simphiwe Dana – South Africa
Hanjin Tan – China
Christian Scott – US
Lisa Bauer Quartet – South Africa:
Dave Koz – US
Gang Of Instrumentals – South Africa:
Patricia Barber – US
Monique Bingham –US
Ivan Mazuze – Mozambique /South Africa:
Dave Ledbetter And The Clearing – South Africa
Sandra Cordeiro – Angola
The Flames – South Africa/US
Esperanza Spalding – US
Gazelle – South Africa
Youssou N’dour – Senegal
Hubert Laws – US
Earth Wind & Fire – US
Wayne Shorter Quartet – US

Updates to follow…Stay tuned!