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Thursday, June 2, 2011


A jazzified collaboration of nations for G'town

There are very few musical platforms that draw 14 different nations together with a single vision. The Standard Bank Jazz Festival is one. The only agenda of this collaboration of nations is to celebrate the globally-shared delight of making music, and to learn from one another.

Norway, France, USA, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, Mozambique, Britain, Slovakia, Australia, Switzerland, Israel and South Africa are all represented on this year’s SBJF programme.

Excess Luggage showcases the uncommon line-up of Hammond B3 organ, piano and drums. On piano is Vigleik Storaas, one of the most important piano players in Norway who has received two Norwegian Grammys for his releases with his own trio. Steinar Nickelsen on organ, now based in China, was voted ‘Young Norwegian Jazz Musician of the Year’ in 2002 and has toured extensively with musicians like Pat Metheny. Drummer Håkon Mjåset Johansen is one of Europe’s most exciting young musical talents with a string of awards to his name. He is no stranger to Grahamstown, having played here three times. Joining them, fresh from a new collaborative recording, is the powerhouse Cape Town sax duo of Buddy Wells and Mark Fransman.

Vocalist Deborah Tanguy, based in Paris, is a leading young jazz and improvising music artist in France. She has regularly collaborated over the past decade with saxophonist Shannon Mowday, 2007 Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz now studying in Norway, and they will rekindle their musical relationship at the SBJF. Supporting them is the phenomenal rhythm section of multiple award-winning French pianist Carine Bonnefoy (piano), Swiss maestro Bänz Oester (bass) and South Africa’s master jazz drummer, Kevin Gibson.

American jazz pianist and vocalist Carolyn Wilkins has been active in the Boston music scene for over 20 years as a performer, educator and composer. She has released four critically acclaimed CD's of her original compositions and is an experienced educator. She is currently a Professor of ensemble at Berklee College, the leading jazz institution in the world. She will present the Children’s Intro to Jazz, an introduction to the basics of jazz. Assisting her is Mark Ginsburg (sax) from Sydney, Brian Thusi (trumpet) from Durban, Professor Marc Duby (bass) and Lloyd Martin, drum lecturer at NMMU.

Danish sextet Wonderbrazz have performed all over Europe, and their original compositions were a hit at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Wonderbrazz features Stig Naur (sax), Peter Kehl (trumpet), Ola Akermann (trombone), Henrik Kjelin (Hammond B3 organ) Martin Seidelin (drums) and Esben Duus (drums).

The singer, vocal acrobat and composer Andreas Schaerer is one of the busiest Swiss vocalists and he impresses not only with his expressive voice - covering an extraordinary range - but also employs a seemingly infinite variety of vocal sounds. Bänz Oester is an extremely perceptive and profound bassist whose boisterous style one can’t but love. Schaerer and Oester tour as a duo, extracting a seemingly limitless range of jazz references and styles and their speciality is composition on the instant, with fascinating, refreshing results. They are joined by two equally creative musicians – from Cape Town Mark Fransman (sax, piano) and from Paris Deborah Tanguy (vocals).

The Ploctones is the vehicle for Anton Goudsmit, an innovative Dutch guitarist whose playing spans all conceivable guitar styles. In the past year he won the Boy Elgar Prize (the most important jazz prize in Holland), as well as the prize for best Dutch pop guitarist, and The Ploctones represent everything that jazz is about. Goudsmit has harnessed the diverse talents of three equally independent musicians - Efraïm Trujillo (sax), Jeroen Vierdag (bass) and Kristijan Krajncan (drums) - and they express a feeling of liberation on stage as their music swings, howls, vibrates, bangs and whacks like nothing else.

Vocalist Tutu Puoane’s mesmerising voice has brought her acclaim and a widening international audience, and she appears again in Grahamstown with her top-class Belgian quartet of Ewout Pierreux (piano), Nicolas Thys (bass) and Lieven Venken (drums). Joining the quartet are trumpeter Marcus Wyatt and Mozambican percussionist Tony Paco, with whom the group recently completed a successful European tour and recording as a sestet.

British saxophonist and MC/rapper Soweto Kinch is one of only a few artists whose appeal traverses underground and mainstream audiences, and who is equally respected in Jazz and Hip Hop circles. One of his accolades is Best Saxophonist in the 2007 British Jazz Awards, and amongst his mentors have been Courtney Pine and Wynton Marsalis. In collaboration with him is a potent international array of musicians well-versed in conflating musical styles. Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz 2011 Bokani Dyer (piano); Anton Goudsmit (guitar), winner of Dutch awards for Best Jazz Guitarist and Best Pop Guitarist; Dutch bassist Jeroen Vierdag; South Africa’s most energetic young drummer, Kesivan Naidoo; and the vocally-dexterous Andreas Schaerer from Switzerland.

Kinch also teams up a killer line-up of serious South African jazz players - Bokani Dyer (piano), David Ledbetter (guitar), Shane Cooper (bass) and Kesivan Naidoo (drums) - for a collaboration spanning the frontiers of jazz and street music.

Acclaimed Parisian pianist Carine Bonnefoy makes her first South African appearance with a stellar collection of musicians. While Bonnefoy’s ancestry lies in Tahiti, she embraces a range of musical trends and has worked with African, European and Caribbean musicians. Norwegian trombonist Tarjei Grimsby is also a successful composer who has composed predominantly with Scandinavian Big Bands and worked eclectically as a professional trombonist. Joining them are Marcus Wyatt (trumpet), Norwegian Steinar Nickelsen (Hammond B3 organ) and young Slovenian drummer Kristijan Krajncan, who is making a big impact on the Dutch jazz scene.

Efraïm Trujillo (sax) is based in Amsterdam and has specialised in the vibrant rhythms of the Caribbean, touring as diversely as Cuba, Tunisia, Jamaica and Senegal. Norwegian Vigleik Storaas (piano) has toured to Estonia, China, Indonesia, India and Israel, aside from most of Europe, and has sublime technique and a means of pulling together diverse styles. To this is added the local rhythm section of Marc Duby (bass) and Lloyd Martin (drums) for a gig that reflects the diversity of musicians on show at this year’s festival, and the way in which Jazz has drawn from the sounds of the world’s music.

Mark Ginsburg emerged as a saxophonist of note in Cape Town in the 1970s. Since migrating to Australia in 1982, he has performed and collaborated extensively and the influences that drive his musical explorations range from singing in a synagogue choir as a young boy, listening to the singing of the hazzan (Jewish cantor), hearing strains of Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane, as well as the contemporary jazz emanating from the highly creative music scene in Australia. Joining Ginsburg are David Ledbetter (guitar/piano), Shane Cooper (bass), Kevin Gibson (drums) and Ronan Skillen (percussion).

The SBJF is extending its youth ensemble programme into the global arena with a small international youth jazz band drawn from different parts of the world, including students from South Africa, Europe and Israel. The band is co-ordinated and conducted by master Dutch bassist Hein van de Geyn, now resident in Cape Town after a period as artistic manager of the Rotterdam Jazz Academy.

The Festival Director is Alan Webster with Production by Donné Dowlman and Les van der Veen is the Sound Engineer. NYJF Teaching co-ordinator is Brian Thusi.

For more information on the Standard Bank Jazz Festival and the performers visit This festival is produced by Eastern Cape Jazz Promotions with support funding from Mmino, Royal Netherlands Embassy, ProHelvetia, SAMRO, US Fulbright program, Spedidam, The British Council and Paul Bothner Music.