The Mill. Picture: Supplied

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival has over the years made possible a number of unique collaborations.

For some years now the Swiss Arts Council has teamed up with the CTIJF to create a vibrant exchange between South African and Swiss musicians, resulting in the creation of The Mill.

The multi-faceted collaboration has broken new ground by pairing two distinct and seemingly dissimilar worlds to give rise to a Mbaqanga-esque/ Bern/ Third Stream/ Gospel style that draws on lush horn arrangements, soulful piano grooves and razor sharp guitar.

The Mill are embarking on a debut album launch tour in support of When the Wind Blows, a set of original material by the collective. It will premier at the CTIJF on Friday 29 March and they will also facilitation workshops at the Jazz Festival.

The Mill are:

Marco Muller obtained a diploma playing double bass at the Swiss Jazz School in Bern. He leads the trio der Wawawa who have released three albums and has worked with Hildegardt Lernt Fliegen, March Perrenoud Trio, Die Pilze and more.

Jazz pianist Yonela Mnana’s love of composing and arranging has been the main force behind The Mill’s debut album, When the Wind Blows. He studied piano at Wits, presented his masters recital on South African piano tradition in 2017 and Themba Mkhize produced his debut album, Baba.

Swiss drummer Christoph Steiner plays a wide range of music from Jazz and Experimental to more back-beat oriented styles. He has played with renowned vocalist Andreas Schaerer’s internationally touring group Hildegard Lernt Fliegen and plays with his own trio Escape Argo.

Trombonist/ vocalist Siya Makuzeni regularly collaborates with South Africa’s jazz A-list and leads her own rock band Ippyfuze. She has lent her songwriting skills to Language 12 and Mpemba Effect, amongst others, and collaborated live with the likes of William Kentridge and Phillip Miller.

On alto and baritone saxophone is Matthias Tschopp who is also a member of the Swiss Jazz Orchestra. He leads his own Matthias Tschopp Quartet which has released two albums dedicated to the work of Joan Miro, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jackson Pollock and others.

Trumpeter Mandla Mlangeni has collaborated with many distinguished jazz artists such as Feya Faku, Louis Moholo and Shabaka Hutchings. He is part of Tune Recreation Committee which debuted at CTIJF 2017 and whose album was listed as New York Times’ Best Album of 2017.

Fabian Willman on bass clarinet and tenor saxophone finished his masters studies at Jazzcampus Basel in 2017. He is a member of a number of ensembles including the Sarah Chaksad Orchestra and the Jonas Winterhalter Bigband plus bands Monoglot, Minua, Hila Puntur and Trillmann.

Guitarist Vuma Levin earned a Non-EU Talent Scholarship to finish his Masters Studies at the Conservatorium Van Amsterdam and has picked up prizes at jazz competitions around the world.

Florian Egli on soprano and alto saxophone works as a saxophone player and bandleader in various bands and projects such as Weird Beard, Jenny, The Jazz Trio, Egli Santana Group, Lucerne Jazz Orchestra, Raphael Jost and lots of horns and Theo Kapilidis Quartett.