Caiphus Semenya, Simphiwe Dana, the Afrika Mkhize Big Band, Swing City and Ringo Madlingozi are some of South Africa’s top musicians who will be appearing at Jazztown* this month.
They are part of 150 of the world’s biggest jazz innovators who come from 14 countries and are on the bill at the country’s oldest and longest jazz festival, which takes place from June 30 to July 9, as part of the National Arts Festival.
The Standard Bank Jazz Festival in Grahamstown has become a litmus test of South Africa’s jazz future and this year again presents some of the country’s best young talent who will be playing each other’s music and pushing the boundaries.
2012 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Jazz, pianist Afrika Mkhize, will be honouring the late jazz legend Bheki Mseleku with a powerful big band tribute that reflects a national and international potpourri of jazz talent.
Says Mkhize: “Bheki has never been properly honoured before in his own country and we are excited to be doing a big band concert in tribute of his work and legacy. New names and talented young ‘finds’ will be featured in the band and the concert promises to be a musical highlight at the festival. The line-up includes saxophonist Dave O’Higgins from the UK, American trumpeter Eddie Lewis and Swiss trombonist Andreas Tschopp with wonderful South African musicians including Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz 2016 Siya Makuzeni on vocals.”
Three of South Africa’s best loved singers – Idols South Africa stars Graeme Watkins and Lloyd Cele, along with Lonehill Estate’s Nathan Ro – form Swing City and pay tribute to the swing tradition backed by a thrilling jazz band.
Cape Town duo The Kiffness has rapidly become one of South Africa’s favourite live electronic acts, producing jazzy, groovy house music. Founder member David Scott first attended the Jazz Festival as a 13-year-old trumpeter and his musical partner, Clem Carr, was in the Standard Bank National Schools Jazz Band in 2003. Goldfish’s Sakhile Moleshe also attended as a student. He is part of another of this year’s acts, Soul Housing Project which also features Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz 2011 Bokani Dyer.
Other South Africans on the line-up include Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz 2016 winner Siya Makuzeni, Carlo Mombelli, Dave Ledbetter, Paul Hanmer, Wendy Oldfield, Kyle Shepherd and Nokukhanya Dlamini and over 100 more.
Twitter: @standardbankart #Jazztown #NAF16