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Thursday, March 28, 2024


Pieter Scholtz and friends invite audiences to an evening of sassy lyrics and cheeky guitar from Durban swinging songwriter, UKZN music department graduate, recording artist and music teacher, John Manuel, whose genre has drawn the tag “murder jazz”. This is one you would be an (April) fool to miss. Plus, a great way to end the 'Easter weekend'.

John Manuel is a swinging songwriter — never sentimental — whose sassy lyrics and cheeky guitar accompaniments have drawn the genre tag “murder jazz”. Playing nylon, acoustic and blues harmonica across a range of styles (African, jazz, bossa), his style has bewitching and illusory characteristics and his songs, appealing to groove and wit, have an unusual effect on listeners. He doffs his bucket hat to local masters Syd Kitchen, Steve Newman and Sandile Shange and his exquisite musical loves are Beatenberg, Elbow and Alison Krauss & Union Station.

From a Durban musical family, Manuel has been teaching for 17 years: English and music. A significant early music teaching influence came about when he started arranging for the brass band at Glenwood High School. When he began, there were three players in the band. When he left five years later, the band had grown to a complement of 30 and struggle songs had made their way onto the playlist.

Manuel is a graduate of UKZN’s Centre for Jazz and Popular Music. His access point was jazz guitar and jazz voice and he started his performing career as a jazz singer.

At St Clements he will sing, play and talk — among other things, about the importance of breath and breathing properly in practice, singing. He will also talk about songwriting for any in the audience who are aspiring to this. And he will talk about his 2010 first solo album and the experience of learning from his mistakes and the importance of knowing how to make your own calls before "letting a producer with a completely different vision come up with some East Coast Radio nightmare".

When not composing, writing, playing music and teaching, he loves time on his fixed cycle and in his little herb garden.

When the donation box is passed around, St Clements encourages generosity and a minimum of R50 per person.

They plan to be outdoors so dress for the weather. If it rains, they will need to set up indoors. Val and the St Clem team will work their magic. We will adapt. All will be well.

Bookings limited to diners in support of St Clements restaurant and staff. They stay open specially for these events. Be there in time to open your tab and order before the performance. Official starting time is 18h00.

Please cancel if you book then cannot make it as they often close the bookings due to space constraints.

The show takes place on April 8 at 18h00. 

Table bookings essential: RSVP St Clements 031 202 2511. St Clements is situated at 191 Musgrave Road in Durban.