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TWO GRAND pianos and two young pianists having a whale of a time. What more do you want from a jazz festival?
Kyle Shepherd and Bokani Dyer weren’t the literal poster children for the Cape Town International Jazz Festival for nothing.
The two guys on the cover of the Jazz Fest’s who’s who magazine kicked off proceedings on the Rosies stage on the second night of the annual event.
Both draw on a mix of a global jazz sound with an unmistakeable local sensibility, and it was as much their virtuosity as their great connection that made their duo THE stand-out performance of the event.
Dyer kept a close eye on Shepherd – who was practically dancing in his seat. And the impish grin on Dyer’s face says he was having just as much fun.
Dyer had been “dying for the opportunity to perform” a collection of his compositions, originally created with the idea of either overlaying dubs, or playing with another pianist – and they mixed it up with original compositions from both.
The originality of our local musicians and the pride they all displayed in their musical roots was palpable not only at the Rosies stage, but the whole weekend.
Explaining the impetus behind the Blue Notes Tribute Orkestra, Marcus Wyatt paid tribute to the original South African sextet, whose compositions they played on Saturday night.
While this particular set of contemporary musicians could play their own music, they choose to explore their roots as well.
Guitar quartet Shape of Strings to Come and the C-Base Collective did the same, with Jimmy Dludlu (pictured) leading a slick collective, cleverly drawing on everyone from Jonathan Butler to Brenda Fassie.
This was the most slickly organised Festival I have attended, with the most almost-on-time schedule-keeping ever, even if the Kippies stage was running a bit late… which is par for the course if you’ve done this before.
Not only does that huge cavern of a warehouse have the worst acoustics (ask Level 42), but changing the stage between artists must be a nightmare.
But, it is their biggest stage which featured the artists like Erykah Badu (totally jampacked and way better than her previous foray here) and best local act, MiCasa.
Not only did JSomething read the crowd well, but he also did a little John Legend, just to show he really does have what it takes to be on a jazz platform.
But it was when he brought out all his “surprise” guests, like Jimmy Nevis, to help him along that the audience just loved him even more. - Theresa Smith
OVER THE weekend, Cape Town morphed into the biggest musical precinct in the country. The 15th annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival was a giant success this year.
And while the Sounds Fringe Cape Town is not officially part of the jazz festival, it added to the magical atmosphere of the few days.
Not only did the jazz festival have workshops for aspiring musicians, producers and music journalists last week,
they also brought out three of the most nostalgic artists of the past 30 years.
From the main venue – the Cape Town International Convention Centre – to venues around Green Market Square and hotels such as the Cape Sun, there was no way one could avoid the sounds of jazz.
During the day the Cape Sun was abuzz with media collecting their accreditation and conducting interviews
with international and national jazz superstars.
People like DJ Black Coffee were there to give workshops while Sakhile Moleshe (pictured) did a quick wardrobe check with his couture designer for his show that night.
In the afternoon, one could relax and listen to bands like Touchwood at the Hotel on the Square. This young three-piece female group consists of a xylophone player, a violinist and an acoustic guitarist. The identical twins harmonise with the lead singer, and they were quite a find on the Fringe.
At least 15 000 people braved the drizzle on the opening night of the Festival which was, as always, held in Greenmarket Square. But after that, the weather behaved itself. The Dutch group Tasha’s World were enjoyed by the crowd.
The Convention Centre had five stages and presented a wide spectrum of artists.
This included the Bassline Stage, which was outside in a dome. While it was often not as popular as the main stags, where the likes of Lalah Hathaway and Erykah Badu played to packed audiences of 20 000 people, it certainly gave a platform for younger music fans. This in turn ensured that they were exposed to music which is more sophisticated and has more history – which in turn cultivates a festival audience for the years to come.
The younger fans were there for Cape Town favourite Jimmy Nevis, The Muffinz, AKA & Da Les and Soul Housing Project. Soul Housing Project gave an animated performance, with lead singer Sakhile Moleshe and keyboardist Bokani Dyer showing why they are the future of South African music.
The Muffinz gig was packed to capacity on the Moses Molelekwa stage. Again, fans knew the words to all their songs and played along nicely with the group’s interactive show.
There were those music fans who were finally getting to see their heroes from 30 years ago, like Level 42 and Shakatak.
Then on the Sunday, Kirk Whalum played Paarl, Shakatak played Wynberg and of course there was K-Day, which is KFM’s annual celebration of music.
Cape Town really knows how to throw a party! - Therese Owen