Competition was fierce for a place in the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz band. Just 8 musicians were selected for this year’s band, whittled down from a pool of 350 of South Africa’s top young artists who have been at the National Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown for the past six days.
The alumni of the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz band read like the who’s who of South African jazz and include the likes of Kesivan Naidoo, Kyle Shepherd, Tutu Pouane, Siya Makuzeni amongst others. So selection is taken very seriously.
Making up the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz band this year are: Thami Mahlangu tenor sax (TUT), Lorenzo Blignaut Trumpet (Delft), Marcelle Adams Trumpet (Delft), Phuti Sepuru Piano (University of Pretoria), Bradley Prince Guitar (UCT), Dalisu Ndlazi Bass (UKZN), Tshiamo Nkoane Drums (TUT) and Keorapatse Kolwane Vocals (TUT).
Bassist, and former Standard bank Young Artist for Jazz Concorde Nkabinde, the conductor of this year’s youth jazz band remarked “they’re a very talented young group of musicians who are both eager and serious. The heaviest thing was deciding who would make the cut.”
“There is no other programme like this on the African continent where young musicians interact with professional musicians on the same level.”
For Standard Bank Jazz Festival Director Alan Webster the band is a good reflection of what’s happening in jazz development around the country. “It’s at a very high standard and this festival is really a place of inspiration and a benchmark.’
Also announced today was the Standard Bank National Schools Big band, which is made up of the top school musicians from the festival.
The Standard Bank National Schools Big band, conducted by Mark de Kock, performed on 5 July at DSG Hall performing well-known classics such as Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” theme song. The Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band also performed later the same evening.