national Arts Festival Banner

Monday, October 24, 2011


The UKZN School of Music in conjunction with the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music (CJPM) is proud to present the 6th edition of the UKZN Youth Jazz and Popular Music Festival on October 24 and 25. The festival culminates in a performance on October 26 by Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for 2010, Cape Town-based jazz vocalist, Melanie Scholtz, in duo with her husband, guitarist Gorm Hejlford. This concert will bring the popular Wednesday trios series to a close for 2011.

The primary objective of the Festival is to showcase the prodigious talent in the School’s Jazz and Popular Music programmes by featuring the work that the staff and students have put together over the course of the semester in the Ensemble classes. Normally featured as part of the regular lunch hour concerts held on a Thursday at the CJPM, it has become apparent that the generally high level of performance warrants more exposure and a wider audience.

The lunch-hour concerts are generally an informal affair more akin to the atmosphere of the sanctified church than the rarefied hallows of the concert hall. There is the sensation of observing the ritual of baptism as the Music foundation students take to the stage to strut their stuff for the first time. Their halting lines and brave attempts to keep up with the tunes’ arrangements and chord changes are responded to with warm encouragement and appreciation by their peers while they nervously navigate this initiation rite.

Later, the more experienced students, the aspiring jazz cats, ever eager to demonstrate their new found facility and the jazz licks they’ve spent hours transcribing from their favourite musicians, stake their claim and re-establish the pecking order. Glamorous singers, haughty horn players and wannabe rock guitar heroes all add to the spectacle. A feeling of warm camaraderie, good humour and an appreciation of the individual’s music expression and group cohesion prevails.

There are currently two Masters of Jazz students in the complement of part-time jazz staff and along with putting the undergraduate students through their paces, they serve as important role models as young jazz educators and professional musicians in their own right. Audiences will hear how these young teachers create fresh and innovative arrangements to keep the students on their toes and stretch their own creative abilities.

The KZN Youth Jazz and Popular Music Festival also aims to spearhead a new initiative to promote Jazz and Popular Music education in schools and community programmes. All music teachers and students interested in learning about Jazz and Popular Music and integrating it into their music education should contact the administrator, Ms Thulile Zama, at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music on 031 260 3385 for details. The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music is housed at the Howard College campus of UKZN, Shepstone building, Level 2.