At The Orbit on Wednesday evening, Johannesburg jazz fans got a glimpse of what might be a highlight of this year’s Cape Town International Jazz festival.
The Blue Notes Tribute Orkestra is a seven piece band, led by trumpeter Marcus Wyatt, that aims to share the music of one of South Africa’s greatest historic jazz offerings. The Blue Notes, comprising Chris McGregor (piano), Dudu Pukwana (alto sax), Mongezi Feza (trumpet), Nikele Moyake (tenor sax), Johnny Dyani (bass) and Louis Moholo (drums), are better known in Europe than in their home country of South Africa. Now considered one of the greatest free jazz bands of their era, they made a huge impact on the jazz scene in Britain and Europe in the 60’s and 70’s.
The Blue Notes Tribute Orkestra play the music of The Blue Notes, as well as music recorded by the band’s individual members. The Blue Notes Tribute Orkestra are introducing some of this music to South African audiences for the first time, and if the show at The Orbit on Wednesday evening is anything to go by, they will be creating a new generation of Blue Notes fans at this year’s CTIJF. The two sets played at The Orbit covered an array of tunes ranging from avant garde to free jazz and gave an insight into the various styles of jazz covered by the Blue Notes in their time. Each member of the Tribute Orkestra had an opportunity for solo improvisation and a highlight of the evening was an incredible solo by 19 year old bass player Thembinkosi Mavimbela.
The Blue Notes Tribute Orkestra are: Marcus Wyatt (trumpet), Andile Yenana (piano), Siya Makuzeni (voice & trombone), Mthunzi Mvubu (alto sax), Janus van der Merwe (tenor sax), Thembinkosi Mavimbela (bass) and Ayanda Sikade (drums).
They can be seen on the Rosies Stage at 20:45 on Saturday 29 March at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.