The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz once again reinforces its status as this country’s premier jazz festival thanks to a stellar line up of international and local giants on the jazz scene.
Appearing in Newtown, Johannesburg, from August 23 to 25 headline acts include Grammy-Award winner Kurt Elling who has been hailed as the jazz male vocalist of his generation; trombone master Wycliffe Gordon; Grammy-winning guitarist Earl Klugh as well as an appearance by the world famous Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Luminaries from the African continent include Caiphus Semenya, one of South Africa’s most celebrated arts and culture ambassadors and revered and respected worldwide for his musical genius; Bakithi Kumalo who made his name internationally thanks to his performance on Paul Simon’s Graceland;Manu Dibango from Cameroon and Mory Kante from Guinea whose hit songYé ké yé ké, was one of the first African singles to sell over one million copies on the European market.
Two not-to-be-missed concerts include the opening night spectacular Sax Summit and the unforgettable Tribute to Miles Davis.
Sax Summit has five of the world’s top female saxophonists playing the music of Kippie Moeketsi. They are American rising starGrace Kelly, Holland’s acclaimed Tineke Postma, British tenor Rosemary Quaye as well as Shannon Mowday (a former Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz) and Nthabiseng Mokoena. The Tribute to Miles Davis features two former Crusader players’ trombonist Wayne Henderson and drummer Ndugu Chancler, trumpeter Tom Browne, saxophonist Everette Harp, pianist Bobby Lyle and bassist Edwin Livingston.
A powerhouse of female vocalists will also be performing at Standard Bank Joy of Jazz. They are Jane Monheit (US) who has worked with Michael Buble; Maysa (US) who started of her singing career as a back-up singer for Stevie Wonder before recording the hit song Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing with British band Incognito; the multi-Grammy nominated Ledisi (US) fresh off a headlining tour with Eric Benet and Cécile Verny (France) whose voice has been one of the most important in European jazz for the past 20 years. Her love for the songs of her Ivory Coast homeland, gospel, chansons and American jazz standards, have all united in a distinctive way.
Others performers in the impressive line-up include Afrika Mkhize, the 2012 Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz; the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band (SBNYJB); another former Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz Gloria Bosman; Jimmy Dludlu; saxophonist Bhudaza Mapefane from Lesotho; Erik Truffaz the French jazz trumpeter who infuses elements of hip hop, rock ‘n’ roll and dance music into his compositions; jazz maestro Johnny Mekoa; trumpeter Marcus Wyatt; Musa Manzini; Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz 2010, vocalistMelanie Scholtz and violinist Samson Diamond, Standard Bank Young Artist for Music 2010; Botswana’s Shanti Lo who performs with the Swedish Ensemble; Thandiswa Mazwai; Swazi Dlamini and Vusi Khumalo who will be playing the music of Winston Makunku, Zakes Nkosi and Joe Malinga.
Kurt Elling is among the world’s foremost jazz vocalists. He has been named “Male Singer of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association on half a dozen occasions in the past 10 years, and during the same interval has been the perennial winner of the DownBeat Critics Poll. He is also a Grammy winner, and every record he has made has been Grammy nominated. Elling’s rich baritone spans four octaves and features both astonishing technical mastery and emotional depth.
Trombone player Wycliffe Gordon is best known for his work with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of jazz maestro, Wynton Marsalis. The versatile trombonist can scat, multi-note, slide, and plunge, just like he stepped out of the 1930s. Gordon has played with many jazz luminaries, including Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Henderson, Branford Marsalis, Lionel Hampton, Tommy Flanagan, and Shirley Horn.
Guitarist Earl Klugh has recorded more than 30 albums including 23 Top 10 charting records – five of them No. 1 on Billboard’s Jazz Album chart. He has received 12 Grammy nods, millions of record and CD sales and continues touring worldwide.
The music of Duke Ellington defies any strict categorisation. Call it jazz, call it swing or call it big band. But whatever you call it, call it the music that will make you want to dance in the aisles. The Duke Ellington Orchestra in a toe-tappin’, finger-snappin’ concert of music from the great Ellington songbook, including some of his best loved tunes. His son, Mercer Ellington kept his big band alive after his death. When Mercer died, Paul Ellington, Ellington’s grandson took over the band. Pianist Tommy James will be leading the orchestra in their Standard Bank Joy of Jazz appearance.
Manu Dibango is Cameroon’s best-known jazz saxophonist. Starting in the 1950s, he became a globe-trotting musician, living and performing in France, Belgium, Jamaica, Zaire, and Cote d’Ivoire, as well as in Cameroon. In 1960, Dibango was one of the founding members of the Zairean band African Jazz. World attention came to Dibango with the release of Soul Makossa. He has worked with musicians such as Fela Kuti, Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Don Cherry, and the Fania All-Stars.
The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz will take place on eight stages in Newtown including the Dinaledi Stage, the Conga, Mbira, Bassline and The Market Theatre. Other venues include free concerts at Sophiatown, Shikisha and Nikki’s Oasis.
Event producer Peter Tladi of T-Musicman says: “As the festival promoter we spend a great deal of time searching for artists that will appeal to a broad base of music fans. Once again, we have endeavoured to provide a diverse range of jazz styles. The artists performing this year are all highly respected, heavyweight musicians, whether newcomers or those who are icons of the global jazz scene. We have gone for a mix of the contemporary and the classic for this year’s event and have something exciting and unmissable for everyone.”
Commented Mandie van der Spuy, Art & Jazz Sponsorships at Standard Bank: “Our continued support for the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz has seen it grow in stature each year, enjoyed by growing numbers of appreciative audiences who are treated to the best selection of jazz musicians. We were delighted that last year’s festival was a sell-out and are expecting record attendances again this year. We are proud to sponsor an event that not only brings jazz lovers together, but also allows us to stage a wonderful collaboration and celebration of jazz in the heart of Johannesburg.”
For more information on the line-up and venues go to www.joyofjazz.co.za, and www.standardbankarts.com. See alsohttp://www.facebook.com/standardbankjoyofjazz; http://standardbank.mobi/jazz; twitter.com/joyofjazz; www.facebook.com/standardbankjoyofjazz and youtube.com/standardbankgroup
Tickets are on sale at Computicket with a 15% discount for all Standard Bank customers (terms and conditions apply).
The 2012 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz is produced by T-Musicman and brought to you by Standard Bank in association with the Department of Arts & Culture with co-sponsors The Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture & Recreation; South African Tourism; Gauteng Tourism; the National Arts Council and the City of Joburg.