Cape Town - Africa's grandest gathering got off to a great start last night with the jazz festival team working like a well-oiled machine to ensure that the thousands who poured into the convention centre were treated to an evening where the joy of jazz was played out in a peaceful, happy and orderly environment.
Crowds swelled, well into the first sets and as the word got out, many moved from one stage to another to make the most of what was on offer.
Up first, the Sekunjalo Delft Big Band truly gave their all and offered some superb rhythm, well-synchronised playing and serious foot tappin' and dancing numbers.
Lead vocalist David October was one of the stars of the show as he crooned a number of fabulous hits from I Feel Good to Higher and Higher.
Next door on the Kippies stage, audiences were well entertained by slick vocalist Amanda Black, offering some catchy home grown numbers, backed by Christopher Mofenyi and Nobie Kobedi on piano, John Timothy on bass and Kearabetswa Praises and Moalusi on drums.
Indian jazz supremo Louiz Banks making up a quartet, made magic music in the more intimate Rosie's venue, playing some intricate jazz numbers, many of which developed into exquisitely beautiful ragas.
I particulalrly enjoyed Belgian group N8N with Nathan Ambach on vocals and Rus Nerwich on sax - who provided some really sophisticated and cool Euro jazz.
Many stayed to make a night and an early morning of it with plenty of sustenance and drinks available at private lounges and public bars and eating areas dotted around the CTICC.
Taxis were readily available just outside the convention centre and festival security guards and facilitators all helped to make it as easy as possible.
Tonight's show starts earlier, with The Settler's High School Band strutting their stuff from 5pm. Don't miss the tribute to Bra Hugh Masekela at Kippie's from 10.45pm in The Boy's Doin' It, which has a range of veteran musos celebrating life of this legend - the group includes Khaya Mahlangu on sax, Fana Zulu, bass, Tsepo Tshola, vocals, Sibongile Khumalo and more.
Another unmissable act is Simphiwe Dana and her 13 piece all-woman band from 7pm on the same stage, and in R+R=Now, you can catch a host of top peroformers from Robert Glasper, Christian Scott, Justin Tyson and company.
And that's not to mention highly anticipated The Soil, Sisonke Xonti and Jarrad Ricketts. And much, much more...
* For more details go to www.capetownjazzfest.com Weekend passes for the festival are sold out, but day passes are still available at www.computicket.com at R750 per ticket.