The old, the new at Joy of Jazz

By Don Albert Time of article published May 20, 2015

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The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz promises to be a dynamic mix of new and old ranging from the popular Yellowjackets to the new vocal sensation, Cécile McLorin Savant, who won four categories including Female Vocalist and CD of the Year in the Down Beat Critic’s Poll. Talking about the Critic’s Poll, the 3 Cohens (Anat, Avishai and Yuval) won the Rising Star Jazz Group and Anat walked away with the No 1 slot as the Clarinetist of the Year.

The adventurous line-up includes what looks like an exciting musical experience with a trio of Italian trumpeter Paulo Fresu, who captures the haunting harmon mute sound of Miles Davis, the Indian master of percussion including tablas, and from Cuba, the renowned pianist, Omar Sosa.

For the avant-garde and free jazz enthusiasts there’s the bassist William Parker whose group includes the acclaimed drummer Hamid Drake. Staying with modern music is Dwight Trible from Los Angeles who has sung with Bobby Hutcherson, Pharaoh Sanders and Charles Lloyd and has a vocal style that incorporates gospel and free jazz while trying to bridge the gap between races.

From the UK comes trumpeter, arranger, composer Matthew Halsall whose influences include Alice Coltrane and John Coltrane.

Smoothing things out are crossover/ fusion/funky guitarist, Larry Carlton, US jazz singer Dee Alexander, sweet soul singer Peabo Bryson, Danish harmonica player Lee Oskar and one of the finest electric bass players on the planet, Marcus Miller, and his band.

A group I’m anxious to hear is pianist/ singer Estelle Kokot with US saxman Chico Freeman and South Africans Herbie Tsoaeli on bass and Kevin Gibson on drums.

Africa is well represented by trumpeter Prince Langoasa, The National Youth Jazz Band, Steve Dyer, Vusi Mahlasela, and some amazing and provocative pairings such as Pops Mohamed and Steve Newman with a band that includes Mabi Thobejane; Jimmy Dludlu with musicians from Mozambique and Cape Verde; Jaco Maria from Mozambique and Wanda Baloyi; the South African jazz pianist Nduduzo Makhahtini with Danish saxman Karl-Martin Almqvist and Cape Town trumpeter Robin Fassie Kock.

There’s also Hugh Masekela with Oliver Mtukudzi featuring the Zim Mbira Orchestra and then there’s Ray Phiri with Stimela.

The line-up has something for everyone.

• Free jazz is a genre first applied to the avant-garde which included such musicians as Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler.

• Joy of Jazz, Sandton Convention Centre, September 24 to 26. Info: 011 326 0141. Book at Computicket.

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