Let chil­dren come, says jazz mae­stro

Sunday Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - BUHLE MBONAMBI

JAZZ lovers braved the chilly weather on Fri­day evening to at­tend the per­for­mance of jazz mae­stro Andile Ye­nana at The Wa­ter­front Ho­tel and Spa in the Point Wa­ter­front precinct.

Ye­nana, who is one of the most re­spected pi­anists and jazz mu­si­cians on the con­ti­nent, per­formed at the Jazz Xpres­sion con­cert. The per­for­mance fea­tured Mar­cus Wy­att, Linda Sikhakhane, Siyasanga Charles and Swiss artists Michael Stuls and Ariel Zamosky.

With a set-up rem­i­nis­cent of the lounge in your home, it was an in­ti­mate gath­er­ing of those who ap­pre­ci­ate the genre, and the au­di­ence was a di­verse mix of peo­ple, in­clud­ing those in the city for the 39th Durban In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val.

Speak­ing to the Sun­day Tri­bune be­fore he took to the stage, Ye­nana said it was his third per­for­mance at a Jazz Xpres­sion con­cert, and that he kept on play­ing at shows or­gan­ised by the group be­cause they drew au­di­ences that truly ap­pre­ci­ated jazz mu­sic.

“I’m happy that th­ese shows are hap­pen­ing be­cause they are an­other plat­form at which jazz mu­si­cians can per­form. The au­di­ence is there, but there aren’t that many shows. We can only grow from here.”

He did, how­ever, lament the lack of in­ter­est in the genre among the youth, and wanted par­ents to bring their chil­dren to jazz shows.

“We need to in­volve our fam­i­lies more. The young chil­dren of peo­ple who ap­pre­ci­ate and love jazz should ac­com­pany them to shows.

“I be­lieve jazz rep­re­sents all gen­er­a­tions, and so that’s the only way it can grow and be sus­tained.”

He was happy to ad­mit that a crop of young jazz mu­si­cians were bring­ing new life to the genre. “Jazz is get­ting younger, in terms of the mu­si­cians we have in the in­dus­try right now. I’m prob­a­bly the old­est mu­si­cian here. But they need to also cre­ate their own au­di­ence, one that will grow with them.”

Ye­nana was fresh off his per­for­mance at the Gra­ham­stown Jazz Fes­ti­val, which took place a few weeks ago.

He be­lieves that Jazz Xpres­sion shows can grow in num­ber. “It has po­ten­tial to be a ma­jor player. And with the Rain­bow (jazz venue) clos­ing down, it’s an op­por­tu­nity to grow the brand and make it a must-at­tend event for lovers of good mu­sic.”

Ye­nana per­formed var­i­ous songs and in­cluded a trib­ute to fallen jazz great, Zim Nqawana.

There also were paint­ings for sale, which forms part of the Jazz Xpres­sion vis­ual arts seg­ment. Or­gan­iser Dumi Ginindza hoped the show would be­come a monthly event.

PIC­TURE: BUHLE MBONAMBI

Re­spected pi­anist Andile Ye­nana, who was a hit at the Jazz Xpres­sion con­cert at The Wa­ter­front Ho­tel and Spa on Fri­day, be­lieves jazz rep­re­sents all gen­er­a­tions, and that jazz en­thu­si­asts should bring their chil­dren to shows.

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