Cape Town jazz fest 'one of best'
28 December 2007
The Cape Town International Jazz Festival, now ranked among the best jazz festivals in the world, will bring together 40 local and international acts at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 28 and 29 March 2008, while offering a range of parallel exhibitions, courses and workshops for music lovers and entrepreneurs.
Music festival website Melodytrip now ranks the Cape Town International Jazz Festival ahead of Switzerland's Montreaux Festival and Holland's North Sea Jazz Festival, a rating organisers attribute to the presentation of varied musical styles, and a good mix of local and international artists, under one festival roof.
Nineteen artists or groups have already been lined up for the festival - see the list below - with a further 21 to be announced at the beginning of 2008.
As in previous years, the music will range from straight-ahead chords by older statesmen of jazz such as US pianist Kenny Barron to the fiery township lines that South African kwaito artist Zola will belt out.
In between Barron's lyricism and Zola's "ghetto scandalous" chants about Bhambatha, skoko and umdlwembe, there will be lots of smoother sounds, with US saxophonists Gerald Albright and Najee set to dominate this range.
From the East comes Japanese pianist Hiromi; representing the Scandinavian countries will be Swedish saxophonist and flautist Lennart Åberg; and on the opposite side of the scale will be two big bands that come out of Cape Town: Gavin Minter's Friends with the Mother City Jazz Orchestra, and Leslie Klein-Smith and Mother City Groove.
Leading the African troupe at the 2008 festival will be Zimbabwe's Oliver Mtukudzi, while another band that will rely on indigenous instruments in its performances will be the Bongani Sotshononda Project.
In the eight years that the Cape Town International Jazz Festival has been in existence, there has always been a female vocalist to hold the fort at each of the five festival stages.
Taking charge of vocal scores at the Rosies stage in 2008 will be the hottest jazz singer in the US today, Tierney Sutton, while Belgium-based Tutu Puoane will take charge at the Moses Molelekwa stage.
And while the Cape Town festival always gives space to budding musicians - in 2008 it will be the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band - it also honours bands known for the longevity of their music. Three groups in next year's line-up fall into this category: The Manhattans, The Soul Brothers and The Four Sounds.
More than just the music
"The formula of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is simple: bring jazz together with its popular music siblings," festival director Rashid Lombard said in a statement on Tuesday. "The 33 356 people who attended the 2007 festival is proof that this is a winning formula."
The festival is about more than appearances by musicians, however; it is about people coming together, honouring artists and exploring the potential of music to create social cohesion.
Running parallel to the musical performances in 2008 will be the Duotone Photographic Exhibition, the South Atlantic Jazz Music Conference, an arts journalism course, music business course, music workshops for schools, festival golf day, and clinics where some of the performing artists impart their skills to local musicians.
A five-day stage lighting workshop will also take place, with the first two days of the course focusing on the theoretical aspects of the trade while the last three will see trainees testing what they have learnt at the festival.
10-day festival by 2010
While sticking to the well-tested formula, the festival organisers have a plan to make the festival a 10-day event by 2010. As part of this plan, and as a response to growing numbers, the location of two of the five stages is to change in 2008.
The Bassline - for newer experimental sounds such as hip-hop, kwaito and house music - will move to a dome to be built outside the Cullinan Hotel, with the Moses Molelekwa stage will take its place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
London-based quartet The Bays and Atlanta-based Ananda Project will join South African kwaito star Zola in opening the new location of the Bassline at the Dome. Durban hip-hop/jazz fusion band Big Idea will also feature at the Dome.
The build-up to the two-day festival will kick off with a gospel concert "Gigs for Kids" and a "Cape Town Cares" concert for pensioners and senior citizens on 22, 23 and 24 March.
And from 2008, the South African Association of Jazz Educators will hold its annual conference in the week of the jazz festival.
Artist or groups already scheduled to perform at the 2008 Cape Town International Jazz Festival are:
- Ananda Project (US)
- Bongani Sotshononda Project (SA)
- Gavin Minter with the Mother City Jazz Orchestra (SA)
- Gerald Albright (US)
- Hiromi (Japan)
- Kenny Barron Trio (US)
- Lennart Åberg Band (Sweden) featuring Peter Erskine (US)
- Leslie Klein-Smith and Mother City Groove (SA)
- Oliver Mtukudzi (Zimbabwe)
- Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band (SA)
- The Bays (US)
- Najee (US)
- The Big Idea (SA)
- The Four Sounds featuring Zelda Benjamin & Phyllis Madikwa (SA)
- The Manhattans featuring Gerald Alston & Blue Lovett (US)
- The Soul Brothers (SA)
- Tierney Sutton (US)
- Tutu Puoane (SA/Belgium)
- Zola (SA)