Jazz giants to light up fest

This year’s Standard Bank Jazz Festival will celebrate jazz legends with a roster of world-class musicians at the annual National Arts Festival.

Luminaries will include Nduduzo Makhathini, Thandi Ntuli, Aaron Goldberg, Albert Frost Trio, Afrika Mkhize, Zenzi Makeba Lee, Amanda Tiffin and Sisonke Xonti, among many.

The director of the Standard Bank Jazz Festival, Alan Webster, said the musicians would make unforgettable additions at the National Arts Festival.

“This year’s programme will celebrate key jazz milestones, give a nod to great musical traditions from across the African continent and showcase some of the best of what Europe and the United States has to offer today,” he said.

In what is perhaps one of the longest-running musical partnerships in SA history, Cape Town saxophonist McCoy Mrubata and pianist Paul Hanmer will give a performance that reflects their influences on each other in celebration of 30 years of collaboration.

The current Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz, Thandi Ntuli, will lead classics from the great pool of hip-hop and soul music genius by the Rebirth of Cool, together with DJ Jenzhero.

The lofty legacy of the historic band the Blue Notes will be revisited with dexterous musical adoration by star-studded Blue Notes Tribute Orchestra led by trumpeter Marcus Wyatt.

Award-winning writer Percy Mabandu will lead an interdisciplinary performance to mark the 50th anniversary celebration of Yakhal’inkomo, the historic record released in 1968 by late saxophonist Winston Mankunku Ngozi.

The project will bring together literature with the masterful jazz musicianship of Andile Yenana, Shane Cooper, Ayanda Sikade, Linda Sikhakhane and Sisonke Xonti.

In keeping with the festival’s focus on youth development and education, this year will mark 30 years of jazz education from Mike Campbell.

The renowned bass guitarist and professor was the founding head of the University of Cape Town Jazz School, which has produced a lion’s share of young professional jazz musicians, including Marcus Wyatt and Buddy Wells.

Campbell will present the UCT Big Band at the DSG auditorium on June 28.

Standard Bank’s head of brand and sponsorship, Jenny Pheiffer, said there was a reason the Standard Bank Jazz Festival had a global reputation, not only as a barometer of the current quality of jazz musicians in South Africa, but also as a launching ground for future industry leaders too.

“The focus on development of young musicians and the way the festival celebrates our jazz heritage exemplifies our values, and this is captured by our campaign call for this year: ‘Art is!’, ” Pheiffer said.

Tickets go on sale from May 7.

For more details, have a look at the www.nationalartsfestival.co.za website. —