Jill Scott at the Jazz Fest
Grammy-Award winning singer, poet and actress Jill Scott will make another go at heading the Cape Town International Jazz Festival this year. Scott, who was the star attraction on the bill last year, was forced to pull out of the event due to work commitments, leaving her fans disappointed. Hopefully this year, this multi-talented artist will be making her presence felt in Cape Town.
The second half of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival line-up was announced at a press conference this week in Rosebank, Joburg.
Saddened by the death of Victor Ntoni – who would have appeared on this year’s line-up – festival founder Rashied Lombard called for a moment of silence to honour the bassist, composer, singer and arranger, whose work can be heard on tracks by South Africa’s jazz singers such as Hugh Masekela and Abigail Khubeka.
The announcement of these 22 artists brings the total to 39 artists taking part in South Africa’s biggest jazz festival, to be held in April.
Joining The Buena Vista Social Club from Cuba, the Robert Glasper Experiment from the US as well as a host of local artists are more jazz luminaries who span not only musical influences and continents, but multiple decades.
The line-up for the 14th annual Cape Town international Jazz Festival now includes:
Brother Ali: US hip hop artist who cites late 1980s rappers of the golden age of hip hop as his principal inspiration. He’ll reference anything from Nina Simone to what his family is up to and doesn’t shy away from politics either.
BWB (US): smooth jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum, trumpeter Rick Braun, and Grammy-winning guitarist Norman Brown are all acclaimed musicians in their own right, but the Americans show their skills by going beyond their usual smooth sounds into improv territory.
Céu: Brazilian indie singer songwriter who draws on everything from samba to electro-jazz and R&B. She received a Grammy nomination in 2007 for Best World Music Album for her eponymous debut album and Best Contemporary Brazilian Pop Record last year for her critically acclaimed third album, Caravana Sereia Bloom.
Chef’s Special: hailing from Haarlem in the Netherlands, this five-member band reference reggae, hip hop, pop and rock for a catchy eclectic sound.
Dubmarine: nine-piece from Brisbane, Australia, who smoosh together dub, dancehall, reggae, drum ’n’ bass and just a touch of rock. Drawing on tracks from their 2010 debut album, Depth of Sound, they have been touring musical festivals in their native Australia as well as Europe and will soon introduce their next album.
Auriol Hayes (SA): the Cape Town vocalist’s Sama- nominated debut album, Call it Love, was more pop than the soul/jazz/ blues fusion of her second album, Call it Love: Anima Sola, which contains much more personal lyrics.
Mafikizolo: after Theo Kgosinkwe’s successful solo career and Nhlanhla’s not so successful solo career, the two have reunited to release a new album which is due out in March. They have again recorded with Kalawa Jazmee, using both the established and younger producers from the successful indie label.
Thandiswa Mazwai: the multiple award winning vocalist who had her start with Bongo Maffin was featured on Paul Simon’s 25th anniversary Graceland tour of Europe last year.
Afrika Mkhize: last year’s Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz has the versatility to play anything from African grooves to hip hop to straight-ahead jazz. However, whenever he can, the Durban pianist most often references his favourite artist, Bheki Mseleku.
Louis Moholo presents 4 Blokes & 1 girl: drummer Louis Tebugo Moholo was one of the leading musicians of the British free jazz scene of the 1970s and his first album under his own name, Spirits Rejoice, is a classic example of the combination of British and South Africa players.
Claire Phillips: this Sama winner plays the guitar, piano and the sax, but it is her vocals that stand out. She references jazz, funk, soul and folk, but whatever she does, her music is always firmly rooted in Cape Town.
Jean-Luc Ponty: this French jazz composing virtuoso violinist started off with be-bop phrasing in the 1960s, referencing Coltrane, moved into jazz rock in the 1970s and was one of the first jazz artists to be featured in a music video in the 1980s. The 1990s saw him merge polyrhythmic sounds with acoustic and electric violins and the Noughties saw him tour the world from India to Venezuela as he continued to record.
Cheikh Lô: Senegalese reggae-influenced singer/songwriter who is also an accomplished drummer who draws on everything from mbalax to Latin rhythms and Congolese rumba.
Pu2ma: Putuma Tiso started as a backing singer and caught Hugh Masekela’s eye at a 2011 jazz fest in Joburg. Now signed to the Native Rhythm label, she has the potential to become a jazz diva of note.
Donvino Prins and Jonathan Rubain: resident saxophonist for the Glen Robertson Jazz Band, Prins and bass player Rubain are among the most sought-after backing musicians on the Cape Town jazz scene. For this jazz fest only they will pool their talents for a something a little different.
Ronin: a Zen funk quartet led by Swiss pianist Nik Bartsch, they play rhythmically complex compositions that contain elements of jazz, funk and acoustic rock. Despite drawing on multiple influences their sound consists of very few phrases continually combined and layered in new ways.
Ben Sharpa and Pure Solid: Ben Sharpa raps – which he loops – over Dplanet’s drum patterns and effects, while Spo0ky provides visuals. The Cape Town electro collective have been travelling Europe, showcasing their sound and generally having a blast.
Ibrahim Khalil Shihab: aka Chris Schilder of Pacific Express of the 1970s, this pianist, composer and singer has worked across southern Africa as well as the Middle East and Far East.
Sonti: exiled in the 1970s, the jazz vocalist worked with the South African German-based musical group Sounds of Soweto and joined the Ipi Intombi musical for a tour of West Africa during the 1980s.
She also worked with Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba, then coached the cast of Umoja in the Noughties.
Steve Turre: trombonist and player of the seashell, he listened to mariachi, blues and jazz growing up in San Francisco and played with everyone from Art Blakey to Herbie Hancock in the 1970s. A member of the Saturday Night Live band since the mid 1980s, Turre leads various ensembles, exploring standards and original compo- sitions drawing on Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and jazz influences and various instruments such as cello, violins, drums, trombones and shells.
Trenton and the Free Radical: the quartet play a fusion of reggae, hip hop and electro beats and their recently released debut album, Giants Step, was produced by Gripper, with the title track featuring vocals by Faithless’s Maxi Jazz.
• 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 Greenmarket Square space and public transport systems.
Tickets: day passes are R440, weekend passes are R645 and Rosie’s Stage tickets are R30 (a performance).
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.
They will include arts journalism, music and photographic workshops, music business classes and the popular master classes.