Jazz at the 40th National Arts Festival #2: Gary Keller Saxophone Quartet


This year 2014 sees the National Arts Festival celebrating its 40th anniversary. As usual the National Arts Festival includes the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival, in JazzE’s opinion, the only pure jazz festival in the South Africa. Today we publish the second in our series of 38 articles on the acts that you can see as part of this annual jazz festival.

National Arts Festival Logo
National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa

Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival Artist Profile #2:
Gary Keller Saxophone Quartet

Earlier in 2014 South African jazz fans were treated to the sounds of the Artvark Sax Quartet, and after the rave reviews and praise for that saxophone quartet, a lot of fans are really excited about seeing another saxophone quartet at the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown in July.

Gary Keller will lead the Saxophone Quartet at the 40th National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July, 2014
Gary Keller will lead the Saxophone Quartet at the 40th National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July, 2014.

This saxophone quartet will be led by Gary Keller who is professor at Miami University’s Frost School of Music. Keller is a respected Conn-Selmer artist who has played with Jaco Pastorious, Frank Sinatra and the Woody Herman Orchestra.

Gary Keller will lead a saxophone quartet in Grahamstown that comprises South African based musicians Justin Bellairs, Marc de Kock and Mike Rossi.

Gary Keller is a jazz and classical saxophonist with a Bachelor of Music degree from the State University of New York at Fredonia. Keller is the founder of the Miami Saxophone Quartet and a member of the South Florida Jazz Orchestra. He has been involved in numerous album recordings, as well as in the pit of Broadway productions and in music recorded for TV series. In recent years he has performed at the Montreaux Jazz Festival Japan, Rochester Jazz Festival and the Scranton Jazz Festival. In July Gary Keller will be able to add our National Youth Jazz Festival to that list.

Justin Bellairs is a South African saxophonist who has studied jazz at the University of Cape Town and improvisation at the Norwegian Academy of Music. He plays regularly with Kesivan and The Lights a jazz band from Cape Town who will be performing at the Carnegie Hall in October 2014. In 2013 he played saxophone on Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz winner Shane Cooper‘s SAMA winning album: Oscillations.

Marc de Kock has an honours degree in jazz performance from UCT College of Music where he graduated in 2000. Marc de Kock was selected for, and toured New York with the National Youth Jazz Band. de Kock teaches at Rondebosch Boys High and co-directs Urban Groove Productions, an audio visual multimedia production company.

Mike Rossi is Professor in Jazz and Woodwinds at the South African College of Music, UCT. Rossi is a Rampone & Cazzani Saxophone Artist. He has served two terms as president of SAJE (South African Association for Jazz Education) and is also a member of JEN (Jazz Education Network) and IASJ (International Association of Schools of Jazz). Mike Rossi has recorded extensivley with a range of international jazz musicians, and is author of three books on composition.

The Saxophone Quartet will perform at the DSG Hall at 22:00 on 4 July 2014. Tickets R65.

Etienne Shardlow

Etienne Shardlow

Etienne is a proud lover of South African jazz, and host of the weekly JazzE Radio Show on Bakgat Radio. He works as an IT Service Management consultant and trainer.
Etienne Shardlow

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