Top jazz names for Standard Bank’s Joy of Jazz

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Peter Feldman writes for Standard Bank Joy of Jazz:
Dwight Trible
Dwight Trible

Some of the world’s top jazz exponents will gather in Johannesburg in September for the annual Standard Bank Joy of Jazz event, and these include Marcus Miller, The Yellow Jackets, Peabo Bryson, Larry Carlton and Dee Alexander.

For the second year, the event will be staged at the Sandton Convention Centre and it will be from September 24 to 26.

This year the organisers have not only selected an astute mix of popular artists alongside some of the classical greats, but have also sought to stretch audiences’ imaginations with some visionary musical concepts and collaborations.

The festival also boasts an historic collaboration between two giants of song, Hugh Masekela and Oliver Mtukudzi from Zimbabwe. The performance promises to blend kindred musical styles from Zimbabwe and South Africa which have fed into each other for generations.

A significant signing this year is that of American jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant who at 28 has been lauded as a major star of the genre. Salvant won first prize in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2010 and won four categories in the 2014 Downbeat Critics Poll: Jazz Album of the Year, Female Vocalist, Rising Star – Jazz Artist and Rising Star- Female Vocalist. She was also nominated for a Grammy Award in 2014 for her album WomanChild.

Dee Alexander. Photo by Jim Newberry.
Dee Alexander. Photo by Jim Newberry.

Marcus Miller remains one of the best jazz bassists in the world and a multi-instrumentalist and producer. He has won numerous awards for his ability to tread a line between the worlds of pop and straight-ahead jazz. Miller and his all-star band will be promoting his latest album Afrodeezia, recorded at slave-trade locations in Africa, the Americas and France. It’s a statement against human trafficking and the power of music to overcome a history of hurt. Miller recently became a spokesperson for UNESCO’s Slave Route Project.

The Yellow Jackets, whom I first saw in London in the ‘70s, have been dishing out their inimitable brand of jazz fusion with R&B leanings for more than three decades. They are not just a band loved by many, but are a resilient musical institution. Their second Mack Avenue Records release, A Rise in the Road, shows the musicians remain as innovative as they have always been.

From America via Israel comes the 3 Cohens, a rare family band made up of equally prodigious talents. They are tenor saxophonist and clarinettist Anat Cohen, trumpeter Avishai Cohen and soprano saxophonist Yuval Cohen. The siblings have been to South Africa before in various forms. This marks their first performance as a unit.

Briton Matthew Halsall is part of a new generation of jazz musicians that mixes the strength of the old with the fire of the new. He is acknowledged as one of the UK’s brightest talents for his work as DJ, bandleader and trumpeter.

The current Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Nduduzo Makhathini will perform his rooted music with an international band, showcasing why he has become one of the country’s most exciting young jazz performers.

Cécile McLorin Salvant
Cécile McLorin Salvant

The exciting line-up also includes Mozambican Wanda Baloyi who will be performing with her father Jaco Maria, who has had a great influence on her. The familial bond of father and daughter should make for a thrilling musical chemistry.

There is also New York based vocalist Dwight Trible, vocalist Dee Alexander who is equally at home with blues, soul and gospel music, and elder jazz bassist, William Parker, whose work with the late Zim Ngqawana’s New York outfit, The Collective Quartet, has made him an honorary local and this makes his visit a musical homecoming.

Highlights, too, will be performances by Jimmy Dluldu and Friends who comprise Sara Tavares (Cape Verde), Manou Gallo (Ivory Coast), Mingas (Mozambique) and Nono Nkoane, plus other renowned South Africans such as Steve Dyer, Simphiwe Dana, Ray Phiri and Stimela, Vusi Mahlasela and Estelle Kokot.

Standard Bank has renewed its commitment as the flagship partner by signing a three-year sponsorship deal. Says Hazel Chimhandamba, Head of Group Sponsorships at Standard Bank; “We are excited to extend our 16 year association with the Standard Bank Joy Of Jazz festival for a further three years until 2017; and to continue to forge a close relationship with such an exciting and progressive genre of music – jazz.”

Organiser Peter Tladi adds: “The sponsors have helped to minimise the impact of cost for music lovers who would otherwise feel the pinch. It democratises access to great music. Jazz is, after all, the music of democracy. Above all, it also makes it possible for us to put together this major event and create jobs.”

Standard Bank Joy of Jazz will take place on four stages – the Dinaledi, Diphala, Conga and Mbira.

Tickets are available at a 15 percent discount for all Standard Bank customers subject to availability and on presentation and usage of a valid Standard Bank debit, cheque and/or credit card at a Computicket outlet. The offer is limited to 2 tickets per person, providing they meet the criteria. The offer is not available for online bookings. This discount will only be available until 31 August 2015.

Tickets are on sale at Computicket.

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