Cuban masters in Cape Jazz fest

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Theresa Smith

Thirteen turned into a lucky number yesterday when the Cape Town International Jazz Festival announced the first half of its line-up for next year’s 14th festival.

For the first time ever festival audiences will experience the world-famous Buena Vista Social Club, featuring Omara Portuondo.

This celebration of traditional Cuban music, popularised by the members club of the same name in Havana, became an international success because of a widely acclaimed studio album released in 1997, plus the Oscar-nominated documentary of 1999 by Wim Wenders.

Acid funk group the Brand New Heavies (UK) will provide that touch of nostalgia at the Cape Town International Convention Centre next year with their hits ’Never Stop’, ‘Dream Come True’, You are the Universe’ and ‘Midnight at the Oasis’.

Drummer and pianist Jack DeJohnette has been touring the US in support of his latest album, Sound Travels, playing with various musicians he’s collaborated with over the years. Next year he heads our way with saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and bassist Matt Garrison. Expect improv on the work of John Coltrane as well as their own compositions.

Bassist Victor Ntoni heads up the South African artists. The composer, singer and arranger will present Iconoclast, featuring Lawrence Matshiza, Khaya Mahlangu, Lulu Maduna and Hilton Schilder.

Festival favourite Jimmy Dludlu makes a welcome return to the bill. The self-taught guitarist and band leader is acclaimed internationally for his original African jazz and fusion music.

Pianists Robert Glasper continues to make waves in the music world as the leader of the acoustic Robert Glasper Trio, but Cape Town is in for a treat as he comes this way with the Robert Glasper Experiment.

The Experiment blends funky jazz with electric hip hop beats and is comprised of internationally acclaimed cross-genre masters: drummer Chris Dave, bassist Derrick Jodge and saxophonist and vocalist Casey Benjamin.

Guitarist Errol Dyers provides the Cape jazz/ghoema with his cross between traditional langarm and the Cape Town carnival sound, while soul singer Zonke Dikana will showcase her songwriting ability on the Jazz Fest stage for the first time.

The Reza Khota Quartet return to the festival with vocalist and guitarist Shane Cooper on bass, Buddy Wells on saxophone and Jonno Sweetman on drums.

Latin jazz pianist Chano Dominguez (Spain) often references his Andalusian roots in his post-bop, fusion and flamenco-influenced music and for those audience members more interested in the local urban sound soulful house, the three- piece Mi Casa, hip hop duo Khuli Chana and AKA will be quite the drawcard.

US vocalist and actor Gregory Porter, whose 2010 debut album Water was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album at the Grammys, rounds out the list of the first half of next year’s jazz festival line-up.

The festival will take place a week after Easter, on Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6, with the free concert taking place on Wednesday, April 3.

The free concert draws on the top headliners for the festival and has not only become very popular, but has changed how Capetonians interact with the Green Market Square space and public transport systems.

Tickets for next year’s event go on sale from Saturday. Day passes are R440, weekend passes are R645 and Rosies Stage tickets are R30 (a performance).

The festival continues to grow in stature on the international jazz scene as it continues to attract more and more international audiences and media.

As an added security measure the organisers have decided that in order to curb ticket fraud no one will be able to exit and re-enter the venue.

The festival will present a series of workshops across various venues in the city and greater Cape Town during the week prior to the festival, including arts journalism, music and photographic workshops, music business classes and the very popular master classes.

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