Good times ... and all that jazz
SCORES of music lovers from across the continent will be taking their annual journey to the Standard Bank Jazz Festival in Grahamstown from June 29 to July 8.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Standard Bank’s sponsorship of South Africa’s oldest and longest-running jazz festival, an important component of the National Arts Festival.
Topping the line-up will be one of the world’s premier multi-instrumentalists, the Australian James Morrison Quintet, along with Estafest from the Netherlands and Andy Narrel from the US.
Other highlights will include the likes of Judith Sephuma, The Soil, Zinzi Makeba Lee and Africa Mkhize, Yaron Herman and Ziv Ravitz, Jimmy Nevis, Marcus Wyatt’s Bombshelter Beast, Shane Cooper, Kyle Shepherd, Thandi Ntuli, Desmond and The Tutus.
This year’s festival showcases artists that have made their name at the event over the past 20 years while also giving a platform to exciting new young players such as the sensational Brazilian bassist Michael Pipoquinha who, at the age of two, is receiving critical acclaim world wide.
The Standard Bank Jazz Festival is known for its collaborations across styles, continents and generations and manages to attract serious musicians year after year.
For 10 days the DSG campus or “Jazztown” and the Monument are jam-packed with performances that continue long after the lights have gone out. The performances then move to the Standard Bank Jazz Cafe in downtown Grahamstown, where the musicians hang out for some serious spontaneous improvisation.
The festival is a launch pad for South Africa’s next generation of jazz stars and where the Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz makes his or her big debut performance.
This year’s winner, bassist Benjamin Jephta, will be following in the footsteps of successful alumni that include Gloria Bosman, Victor Ntoni, Sibongile Khumalo, Siya Makuzeni, Kesivan Naidoo, Melanie Scholtz, Kyle Shepherd, Bokani Dyer and others.
ý For more information on where to stay in Grahamstown and surrounds, and to book tickets, visit www.nationalartsfestival.co.za
JAZZING IT UP: The Soil and Judith Sephuma, far right