Thanks, AJR, for saluting our women musicians!

Salute to all you South African women musicians out there – inside and outside South Africa – as AJR celebrates your Women’s Day today!! I have been listening to wonderful artists in the ‘jazz’ genre (since that’s my narrow niche) and applaud AJR Eric Alan for broadcasting women artists all day today! What other radio station in RSA is doing this, I wonder?

I’d like to also salute a few artists in particular. But there are so many; please forgive me if I left out other notables. Andreas Loven’s latest album, “District Six”, contains double bassist Romy Brauteseth’s exceptional bass scats – her vocals as she plucks away. She is going far, performing with all sorts of domestic and international artists, and is far away as we speak – in Europe on tour.

I think of those Sisters in Sound (SIS) mentors of yesteryear who contributed their skills to the up-and-coming, one mentee being Spha Mdlalose who is growing her art. Lisa Bauer, drummer and vocalist, mentored and taught. Her February 2015 single release of “A Life That’s Lead” provides magic in her art, as does her earlier album, “Finding a New Way”. Other SISs remembered are saxophonist and educator Ronel Nagfaal whose pianist daughter, Nobuhle Mazinyane, recently joined the National Schools Band 2016 during the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. Monique Hellenberg, pianist and vocalist, graciously gave her time and energy to the SIS program, also.

So many other fabulous women artists: musical families of the Willie sisters – bassist Chantal and singer Denay. The Standard Bank 2016 Young Artist for Jazz, Siya Makuzeni, trombonist and vocalist, featured nobly with her own compositions and arrangements at the NAF. Other young artists making their mark are singer Zoe Modiga, trombonist Siya Charles, and pianist Thandi Ntuli whose debut album “Offering” offers some interesting South African beats and twists.

Not to forget those South African women established elsewhere in the world. Norway-based saxophonist Shannon Mowday is cutting an album with brother Hylton and Dad Bob; London-based pianist/singer Estelle Kokot continues to ripen – listen to her “The Sound of You” album. Her solo tour in South Africa called, “The Jazz Feminine in Africa” kicks off in Johannesburg on 12 August. Her Capetown performance is on Wednesday, 17 August, at the Rosebank Theater. Asia-based songstress Brigitte Mitchell, who has played with the greats, offers delectable sounds in her latest album, “Let’s Call It Love” released in Japan in March.

There are so many others. Thanks again to All Jazz Radio based in Capetown for broadcasting such a generous tribute to many South African women jazz artists!!

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Mateo Mera Band – Rocking over Bridges, Heights, and Continents at SBNAF 2016

Mateo Mera sits cross-legged on a mat, resting his Sitar on his bent leg, as he opens the set with a Sitar solo, sung in his best gentle voice.

Matea Mera playing Sitar. Photo: (Cue/Dani O’Neill)

Matea Mera playing Sitar. Photo: (Cue/Dani O’Neill)

What followed was a raucus few songs in not-so-light rock with his quartet’s three guitars blazing. While this seemed like a quirky and unlikely contrast with the viewer’s expectation, the group rather skilfully switched tempos, as well as instruments as they moved through Uruguayan, Indian, the 1970s/1980s American pop rock. Their second concert at Grahamstown’s Standard Bank National Arts Festival 2016 on 6 July drew sold out crowds again, thanks to the group’s sponsorship by the Uruguay Embassy in South Africa, Nikki Froneman Arts Management in partnership with NAF 2016,  and hosting in Johannesburg by UNISA who provided workshop and performance opportunities to these zesty young musicians. I particularly liked their inventive interpretation of a BeeGees song, “You don’t know what it’s like to love somebody” as they swung into American-styled rock. Their concerts pulled songs from their first album, “Sobre los Puentes y Las Alturas” (Over the Bridges and Heights) cut in 2013 but published in 2015.

Matea Mera on lead guitar. Photo: Cue/Dani O'Neill

Matea Mera on lead guitar. Photo: Cue/Dani O’Neill

Full of humour in their performance, the members pranced around the stage, taking sips from their water bottles and swopping instruments and places. Mateo’s highlight was playing guitar and harmonica simultaneously while kicking (backward) a drum with attached cymbal suitcase for percussive effect. Here he excelled in delivering a soft ballad. This was followed by a Beetles’ song by George Harrison, “Here Comes the Sun”, played with a ukulele, after which Mateo jumps around to the piano and vocalizes with the band a heavy rock song (unfamiliar to my otherwise jazz ears). This was mostly a rock concert, and the Sitar was, unfortunately, forgotten after the first song, but the bands versatility in delivering different fusions of rock was appreciated. The set ended with the drummer swopping his drums for the mic as he swung the band into an exciting and physical rap. This ‘rappatoire’ brought instant whistles from a rock-oriented audience, along with a standing ovation.

I caught up for a chat with the band before this performance. Matea puts me at ease immediately as he enters the room and offers me a sip of Uruguayan tea with a chuckle. As I looked down at the greenish brown herbal mush in a brass pot and sipped from a brass straw, Matea enthusiastically remarked, “This is for energy!” Indeed, they had it. This group of 30-somethings chuckle throughout their encounter, each calling out answers to any questions and volunteering information freely.

Drinking tea with Matea Mera band, 6 July 2016 at NAF 2016

Drinking tea with Matea Mera band, 6 July 2016 at NAF 2016

CM: What is special about South Africa?
The Group: There are great musicians. They don’t make one mistake. They were really professional, like Roland Moses and Sakhile Moleshe, the singer. He is like a Uruguayan rapper. We all have a lot in common.

CM: You seem playful and also serious at the same time. What social issues concern you in your music?
The Group: We are goofy and laugh a lot. We’re a sun of another time. But we talk about violence against women, the street life of gangs, and people in difficult circumstances, in our songs. The world has no borders now and I can be anything in the world. We are not just from a country but live in the world. We would like to spend more time in South Africa working with musicians and learning more about your history, particularly those aspects of colonialism and apartheid which were similar in Uruguay.

CM: You say you are a fusion band.
The Group: We call ourselves a rock band, but we actually would like to do more jazz and improvisation. We love fusion, and mix everything. We travel to other countries and find out how to mix our music, like using flute of Bolivia. We love to do special things so we are identified as doing special sounds.

CM: Where did you study or learn your instruments?
The Group: In the house of a master – there’s not a structure for studying in institutions. It’s private study. There are limited numbers of students. You don’t have to go to school to be a good musician. In Uruguay, everybody plays guitar. The government has funding to enable a student to study with a particular professor.
Mateo – I learned my sitar in India with a master. I take several trips to India in order to learn and buy the right instruments. It’s hard to find Indian players in Uruguay.

CM: What kind of groups would you want to work with here in South Africa, if you had an opportunity?
The Group: Percussionists. All of our Uruguayan percussion came from Africa. Our ‘cueros’ percussion is special, too, and goes like this (demonstration).

CM: Why do you want to move more into jazz?
The Group: On stage we are always improving. If we are excited, we absorb the energy of the audience. People loved our first show in Grahamstown. They told us we should play in a theatre without chairs so people can dance.

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And yes, their rocking music is danceable! I hope this zesty group returns to RSA soon. Huuummm…..funding………

Mateo Mera – voice, sitar, guitar, keyboards, bass suitcase
Gonzalo Díaz – voice, bass guitar
Rogelio Lago – drums
Rodrigo Baeza – voice, guitar, sax

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Toon Roos Quartet’s rag doll effect – a highlight performance at NAF 2016

Here’s a Dutch saxophonist who really made me just melt away like hot putty in my seat! At times, I wondered if I had died and gone to heaven. Toon Roos and his band looked like ordinary chaps who might play ordinary jazz. Nope. Roos’s own aura reverberated around the stage as he pulled off inventive, and sometimes quirky, arrangements to certain tantalizing American jazz standards that spoke about the important…..love…..

Toon Roos at NAF2016: CuePix/NAF2016

Toon Roos at NAF2016: CuePix/NAF2016

Known for playing lyrical and funky jazz that grooves to the moment, Roos took us on an escapade into unfamiliar twists and turns. “I Fall in Love Too Easily” spoke reality; Dutch bassist Hein van de Geyn, now an implant on South African soil, slid his bass lithfully into what seemed as hopelessness. I came out as a wobbly rag doll. “Straight No Chaser” displayed masterful arrangements, but “Body and Soul” turned a sleepy ballad on Roos’s tenor sax into another blanket-hugging rendition, again with Hein’s double bass solo exuding the mellow, the expressive, and always the gentle. As many musicians do, Roos wrote “Fading Star’ for a relative, his mother long passed, and offered a beautiful slow ballad in tribute. My dollishness was awakened with the last song by Roos boasting a happy and melodic Brazilian beat. Could improvisational jazz be any better?

Toon Roos Quartet: CuePix/NAF2016

Toon Roos Quartet: CuePix/NAF2016

Roos has played with the greats of Joe Zawinul, John Scofield, Toots Thielemans, Steely Dan, Ravi Coltrane, and Art Blakey. The list is endless. No wonder he’s also a funk master, having a vocal project with drummer Manu Katche who also plays with Sting and Joni Mitchell. Eleven years ago, Roos and his Quartet performed at Capetown’s North Sea Jazz Festival. The man has credentials, as do current band members. He’s been compared to Saxophonist Wayne Shorter by contemporaries, but Roos is really beyond comparison. I would fly to Europe to hear this man again, but more credentialed and less raggedy dollish.

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Ancestral routes in jazz – a journey with Siya Makuzeni, Standard Bank Young Artist 2016 for Jazz

This Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz 2016 started her first concert with an epic vocal scat, the likes I hadn’t heard from her previous songs (by others). Thirty three year old Siya Makuzeni, who hails from East London, skillfully fused her Xhosa sounds with some basic other roots of bebop and improvisational contemporary jazz. Her appearance at Grahamstown’s annual SB National Arts Festival 2016 offered her a first opportunity to present her own songs, constructed in careful refrains that cut across musical harmonies and genres. Hard to describe, but her adept band of three horns, including her own trombone, and rhythm backline including the talented Thandi Ntuli on piano seems ready to boom boosters into the South African jazz cosmos. I was relieved to see another female artist on stage, too.

Siya Makuzeni on trombone: NAF2016 CuePix/Aaliyah Tshabalala

Siya Makuzeni on trombone: NAF2016 CuePix/Aaliyah Tshabalala

I caught up with Siya for a chat on 1 July. I wanted to know what internal juju had been working on her creativity, and I think I got some insights.

CM: Your primary school teacher he told me that you were not very musically inclined or active in those young years. Perhaps it was the people you were working with later who gave you a boost. What was that spiritual bone that sparked you internally to blossom?
SM: I knew something was there, but I’ve never figured out what it was. Music has always been about how I understood life. Even before and during primary school, I was in choirs and learning the recorder. Music was always milling around me at home. My parents had introduced me to such a diverse arrange of music at home. It wasn’t called ‘folk’ or ‘rock’, but just a variety of music. Maybe that inspired me as a child, wanting to emulate my parents. They were a huge influence on me then.

CM: You were blessed with supportive parents. And what about now? Any other relatives or ancestral spirits that pushed you into some spiritual realm?
SM: Oh gosh! Wow! I’m sure that has existed. I haven’t tried to interrogate that. I remember going home where my family had a ceremony. One of my older aunts mentioned that I’m on the ‘right path’, that what I’m doing is like a vessel, healing as I go forward on my journey as a musician. For me personally, I’m still trying to figure that out. I definitely draw from that ‘right path’ and use music a lot to draw inspiration in terms of grounding myself, being on stage……

CM: It would be interesting to pursue that, and draw out from the archives of culture the influences on you. Let’s talk about your own music which is rooted to your own cultural background. There’s something primordial and ancestral about it. What is influencing your choice of song, lyrics, rhythm of your own making? You’ve performed others’ pieces, but with your own voice and interpretation. Now, you’re on your own journey.
SM: I really have to think about it. Many different factors are influencing me. Start on the musical level. Look at my loops: They’re very rhythmic and polyphonic and extremely Xhosa-centered harmonically which has helped me to choose which harmonies I want. I studied jazz, but when I was here at Rhodes, I studied ethnomusicology and this spurred me on to adopt a non-western approach to music. So since 2001, I don’t believe that this approach has left me.

There was also a sense of needing constant change, pursuing something that keeps going forward, that keeps the reel rolling. If the pathway becomes stagnant, then I become frustrated. Because of that, and as I try to grow my career, I look at collaboration as a huge part of my creativity. It has enabled me to do my own stuff. This ties in to finding and mixing genres that have common grounds, trying to flip things up on their heads.

Siya Makuzeni on vocals:  NAF2016 CuePix/Tamani Chithambo_30JUNE16

Siya Makuzeni on vocals: NAF2016 CuePix/Tamani Chithambo_30JUNE16

CM: Speaking about genres, there is melody, refrains, and lyrics. There were two songs you performed last night that you were singing which sounded like ….there was a fine line between scatting and the language. I found that quite intriguing. Also, you do a lot of scat in your songs. Few singers want to scat. You’ve pursued different types of scat and the language fused with it. Where does that come from? Was that deliberate?

SM: Probably. Also, I might not be aware of it because I’m in a space where it’s so natural. When I decided I wanted to be a jazz vocalist, I was listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn. These were my biggest surprises; I’d never heard a voice being used like that before, and I found it completely fascinating. I was also dumbfounded to see how they used their voice like an instrument. This was completely new to me. At that point, as I was transitioning from the trombone to vocals, I could see the similarities between the instrument and the voice. And then discovering these women!

CM: That’s what you’re doing, going beyond lyrics and into the instrumental voice.
The machine you were using – the vocal lyrics pedal – what has enamoured you about that little box? Why are you using that?
SM: Possibilities! Possibilities! Endless possibilities! And as someone who needs constant change, I use it because it allows for this change. I had used a foot pedal for a number of years. I found myself in situations, also, where it was difficult to collaborate with other vocalists on the same song. I had used it in “Prisoners of Strange” band of Carlo Mombelli and the pedal allowed me to explore more with vocals. I listened to other avant guard women singers who were pioneering the use of vocals in different ways, like screams and seagulls and that kind of thing.

It was already an interesting journey, but when I realized there is so much to add harmonically, in terms of using modulation for effects, things you might not be able to do with your own voice, that’s where these explorations happened. So I just said, “I can back my own vocals.”

CM: I guess backing vocals and choirs are traditional in some older jazz forms. That little box gives you different ranges of the same note, harmonically.
SM: It gives a six part vocal harmony so you can really go crazy. You also have the opportunity to put it into the key that you’re working with.

CM: Have you thought about a collaboration with Lwanda Gogwana (trumpeter) since he has pulled from his ancestral roots also?
SM: That would be quite interesting as we both are revisiting the Xhosa traditional songs.
CM: I think of jazz as being improvisation on folk music in a society. Everyone has songs.
SM: Totally.

CM: Regarding your performance last night, I noted in the 6th song that you seemed to deliver a sense of anger in your voice, in your presentation. You show emotion……I felt there was a protest, a pulse you wanted to get across, maybe a sadness or disappointment you wanted to get out.
SM: Not really. It was a moment, when spontaneity took place, and I guess I seized that moment.
I was emoting, yes, but I was having fun. I think what was interesting about that moment was ….right at the end I was doing the vocal percussive thing…. After the growling….. and thinking, geez, I haven’t done that [type of vocal] since “Prisoner of Strange”. This was just a revisit to what I had done before, but this time with my own music.

CM: That’s great, then. To take that moment and go with it! That’s creativity.
Where do you go from here?
SM: Huuummm! Good question. We’re all trying to build dreams. I’m excited, but I can’t say I ‘know’ what’s going to happen. I do hope to tour with my new sextet as much as possible.
We’ll release an album before the end of this year. But really build on the sound, and use those opportunities, like at festivals, to go and visit other musicians. Or find a way to link up with other musicians around the world as a stepping stone for this band to be around in years ahead. The band is like family; we are all committed. This is my first jazz band.

Thandi Ntuli at NAF 05July 2015:  CuePix/Tamani Chithambo

Thandi Ntuli at NAF 05July 2015: CuePix/Tamani Chithambo

Another band I’ve had is more of cross over rock. Now, this is my first jazz band and one where I don’t have to fight musically and where people are personally committed. I’m excited for that and we’ll see what happens.

CM: Do you still collaborate with Carlo Mombelli and Marcus Wyatt as you were doing?
SM: I had to take a break. I just didn’t have time. Of course, we’re all family, but I needed my own time and space to create. That was a very tough decision to take a break from them.

CM: How could you encourage more women to find their creative talents in jazz?
SM: It’s very subjective and personal. To excel in this industry, you have to have balls. I learned this at a young age by being thrown in to the experiences, like with this Festival which I’ve attended for a long time. So because of this, coupled with my determination, it has worked out for me.

But you have to seriously have guts for these live performances!
I also think that if girls are encouraged at early childhood development stage, you would see a difference, and more activity from them as they grow older and enter the industry. More confidence. There’s simply not enough going on to make music accessible to kids at such a young age, so if we could fix that, we’d see a lot more active females.

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Let’s watch this young lady flourish with future events, festivals, and live gigs! HAVING THE EXPERIENCE/DEEP END + DETERMINATION AND GUTS = success.

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NAF2016: A Bassist stole the show…..Trio Corrente from Brazil

Always smiling bassist Paulo Paulelli stole the show, only half way in, with his tongue-in-cheek clicks, hisses, boofs and other oral sputters and percussive grunts  on his willing double bass at Grahamstown’s National Arts Festival. He was left alone.  It was only the second show which kicked off the NAF’s annual, vibey, and highly successful Youth Jazz Festival, as some 350 music students from various educational institutions around South Africa descended on the Diocesan Girls School facilities.

Trio Corrente from Brazil

Trio Corrente from Brazil: right – P. Paulelli

The Brazilian jazz ensemble, Trio Corrente, blessed the DGS Hall with highly entertaining offerings, from soulful bossa nova to funky, clickety-clack choro rhythms, to just plain improvisational frolics that brought laughs, cat-calls, and a standing ovation at the end.

This Sao Paulo-based trio, two times Latin Grammy Award winners, displayed utter perfection in coordinating, not only their eye contact and internal laughter with each other, but their rhythmic, staccato sounds. Their repertoire ranged from the almost classical renditions of Brazilian songs to solo emotions to funky and whacky conversations between the instruments. The musicians talked a lot, musically. It was an unforgettable 75 minutes of pure aural fun ringed with lots of groovy humour and immense talents. This is their first visit to perform in South Africa, and definitely should not be their last! As their other collaborator and saxophonist band member, the renowned Paquito D’Rivera, has said: “Um trio maravilhoso”!

SOUL HOUSING PROJECT

Trio Corrente followed the opening act of the Youth Jazz Festival, a zesty bunch of youthful  South Africans headed by suave hippy hop singer, Sakhile Moleshe, who belts out danceable rap jazz that inspires the youth watching him. Supported by talents such as keyboardist, Bokani Dyer (nominally also an inventive jazz improviser), Soul Housing brings all sorts of familiar rhythms put to unconventional waves of sounds, such as mixed soul and rap, urban funk and ballads. Sakhile put the heat on when he switched to Xhosa rap, with identifiable messages to the largely Xhosa-speaking audience of students and other Eastern Cape ticket holders.

 

Sakhile Moleshe, Soul Housing Project

Sakhile Moleshe, Soul Housing Project; photo by Mia van der Merve/NAF 2016

The best way to kick off a ‘Youth Jazz festival’ is by a local young, familiar, and popular group of ‘young guns’ who are rocking their way to fame (forget the fortune – it doesn’t exist)!

Soul Housing Project: photo by Carol Martin

Soul Housing Project: photo by Carol Martin

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Who is bassist Lionel Beukes?

“After many years performing in China, I felt it was time to ‘come home’, join my roots again, and play our South African music and other standards, and maybe to teach the younger ones,” says Beukes as he proudly smiles his way through my interview.  Back to his home town of Capetown for a little over a year, and newly married to a long time sweetheart, Beukes’ desire right now is to promote fellow elder musician, pianist Ibrahim Khalil Shihab, and pull the latter’s compositions out of the closet.  Beukes also has songs penned in China to bring forth.

Lionel Beukes

Lionel Beukes

“I have two upright basses, including the semi-electric acoustic Latina bass, a double bass and two bass guitars.  At the School (Cape Music Institute at Athlone stadium), I teach the students (who can only afford an electric bass guitar) the double bass positions using their own small guitars. I use the Ray Brown book.”

Lionel Beukes & Ibrahim Khalil Shihab at District 6 Homecoming 27 May 2016

Lionel Beukes & Ibrahim Khalil Shihab at District 6 Homecoming 27 May 2016

Just turned 66 years old, Beukes has no desire to ‘retire’.  “Retirement?  When I retire I’ll be in my grave!  I’m a musician and must help grow the music,” he exclaims when asked if and when he will settle into elder comforts.  “Dedication and commitment is what it’s all about, and for now I plan to fully engage with promoting Shihab’s music and artistry after so many drought years he has had.  I am also writing my own compositions, and together, we plan to get those songs registered with SAMRO and continue our business.”  Beukes et al are approaching radio stations like Bush Radio and Fine Music Radio for sponsoring and interviews as well as performing with his older band, the popular Out of Town, at Swingers in Athlone on Sunday evenings.

Beukes sees the need for a business approach in his music industry. “It IS about making money, but also having opportunities to work with the younger musicians as well.  We aim at the concert hall stage rather than the club scene for live performances, where people can come to listen and appreciate, and pay for it.”  Beukes is presently choosing his own band, including saxman Buddy Wells, known to play with everyone to date. Twenty year old Liam Webb, presently a student at CMI, is his drummer who will soon attend UCT’s School of Music.   “Although I’m putting together the project, my acoustic quartet will include Buddy’s group, in order to promote him, and another piano player. We are all like family.”  But sponsorship is key, he says, to finance promotions and recordings. Beukes plans to approach his old manager in Johannesburg to come on board again.

Various collaborators are supporting the concert hall idea, and even recommending using school halls that are well equipped with sound systems.  So the Beukes team aims to present more lively and vibrant acoustic jazz performances in South Africa’s major cities with the young and old timers.

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Ibrahim Khalil Shihab Quartet exuded history, texture, and good ole acoustic jazz at District 6 Museum’s Homecoming Center last Friday evening, 27 May.

Having cruised the south Pacific Ocean, I find Irving Berlin’s “How Deep is the Ocean” rings a familiar sensation about what ‘unfathomable’ means, like true love, which is what makes this song rich and textured. The brilliant artistry of pianist Ibrahim Khalil Shihab does just that for 24 minutes in his solo piano album, ‘Solo Piano’, cut in 1999. Known as Chris Schilder of Pacific Express in earlier days, and who converted to Islam in 1975, this Capetownian is no less magical in his musical renditions now. With his fellow team members named below, 70 year old Shihab wishes to revive himself with both established and younger musicians in South Africa.

Ibrahim Khalil Shihab. Photo: David Harrison

Ibrahim Khalil Shihab. Photo: David Harrison

Friday’s concert portrayed an extremely gifted and powerfully alert pianist who excels at improvisation and message. His Scarlotti-styled runs in some pieces reverberated throughout the well-packed hall. Even without an acoustic grand piano which he would prefer, his two electric pianos which admirably served for the evening’s performance managed to do justice to his messages.

In conversation with double bassist, Lionel Beukes, earlier, even Beukes had to haul out his thin Latina semi-electric bass to match Shihab’s piano that evening. “I’ve returned from years in China, and want to continue to perform our South African music, and to promote Ibrahim who has been too silent for too long,” says Beukes. “I teach at the Capetown Music Institute with its musician head, Camiillo Lombard, and try to match our good students with the jazz dons like Ibrahim.”

Ibrahim Khalil Shihab quartet at D6 Homecoming 27 May 2016

Ibrahim Khalil Shihab quartet at D6 Homecoming 27 May 2016

Indeed, Friday’s offerings (promoted by Classic CT) presented 20-year old drummer Liam Webb, formerly from South Peninsula High School jazz band and soon to attend UCT’s College of Music, in his first jazz gig. A student at CMI, Webb displayed confidence and humility during the performance as he was occasionally mentored by Beukes and Shihab. Webb was allowed a drum solo in a Shihab piece, “Pursuits”, which Webb pulled off in clean pizzazz. Another generation later was Buddy Wells whose tenor and alto saxophones provided impressive, clean, and consistent accompaniment to Shihab’s piano runs. The varieties of songs this Quartet played wooed the audience with classic standards, like the whimsical “When You Wish Upon a Star”, with Buddy’s smooth slides in tone. Shihab originals gave tribute to another legendary don, the late Winston Mankunku, in “Spring”, and to elder Chinese people exercising in a Shanghai park across from where Shihab and Beukes worked at the Hilton Hotel.

Liam Webb, drummer

Liam Webb, drummer

The concert ended fittingly with a fast-paced “Bo-Kaap”, another original, which showed everyone’s skills. Shihab is well on his way to performing and, in the near future, recording his pile of compositions which he let to lay for so many of the rainbow nation years.

We can look forward to more mastery from this legend as concert halls gear up for more acoustic jazz performances. A new era to be launched??

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Jazz trumpeter Darren English imagines hope in debut album “Imagine Nation”, with tributes to Nelson Mandela

Capetownian trumpeter, Darren English, kicks off his debut album by Hot Shoe Records (2016) with an original, “Imagine Nation”, a call to youth to make a better day! The first of a three part suite, it’s a melodic song mostly in the minor keys, and shows Darren’s wide range of tones on his trumpet.

imagine-nation-by-darren-english

Nostalgically, I still  ‘imagine’ those Monday night jazz jam sessions at Cape Town’s Swingers when 15 year old Darren, wearing his Beatles hairdo, and always accompanied by his indefatigably supportive father, Trevor,  would silence the packed crowd by his trumpet wizardry. We knew we had another South African catch of a musician who would go places. Indeed he has, 11 years later, cutting this debut album, after having finished his Master’s degree at Georgia State University in Atlanta where he continues to teach jazz studies and perform with various groups in USA. Hence, my affectionate ‘Darren’ reference.

“Body and Soul” presents a rather interesting start with a duo between a bowed double bass and Darren’s muted trumpet. It seems he has deliberately made his trumpet sound flat, confident, no frills technique, no vibratos. A simple rendition of an ole classic.

Smooth runs characterize Darren’s offerings as he faultlessly scales his instrument’s prowess with dignity and pureness. You’d think he’s been playing for decades!

The faster paced “Bebop”, a Dizzy Gillespie classic, displays a fluid trumpet with clean runs and boppish attitude. Drums and bass click away, heralding Darren’s pace, with a lovely solo by bassist Billy Thorton. The even faster paced “What a Little Moonlight Can Do’ introduces Grammy song lark, Atlanta-based Carmen Bradford, who shows off her impressive credentials behind her bebop vocals. I hesitate to compare such uniqueness with other greats, but I must say, her scat, tonation, and jazzy pitch brings about memories of Carmen McRae and Nancy Wilson for me. Her mood control in “Skylark” excelled.

images

The album mellows its pace with a moving and emotional presentation of Nelson Mandela’s wise words from radio interviews, as he brought South Africa’s democracy forward, with advice. ‘Pledge for Peace’, a second Darren original as part of the ‘Imagine Nation’ theme, supports imagining a nation leading a peaceful parade towards responsible freedoms. This song carefully mixes interviews with interplays between trumpet and tenor sax, all which fill the sound space with sunshine and hope, but with caution.

Midway in the album is the third song of the ‘Imagine Nation’ theme, “The Birth” which appropriately describes Darren’s longing for a new nation free of the apartheid past. A long piece, almost 12 minutes, it contains impressive trumpet runs, syncopation with rhythmic gaps of sound, off beats, behind beats, etc. Greg Tardy’s tenor sax is electric. This piece is full of conversation, dipping a lot into fast bebop, then softer slower ballad moods punctuated with horn dialogues….signifying no births are ‘easy’ or smooth. A very ambitious original.

Kenny Banks, Jr’s piano in the Frank Loesser song, “I’ve Never Been in Love Before”, provides classic bebop thrills along side Darren’s muted and even accompaniment . This duo piece is a real hit in the album!

“Bullet in the Gunn”, another original and a tribute to another trumpet mentor, Russsell Gunn, features blistering trade-offs between Darren’s trumpet and the wailing sax of Greg Tardy in occasionally frantic conversations.

The last track, “Cherokee”, presents fast runs by each musician, feasting on and sparring with each other’s energies, but they tended to blend into one men-otanous sound piece for me. I’m not one for blaring horns, but I felt these frantic snorts turned a reputable classic into a blah blah race run. On the other hand, having heard Joe Gransden’s trumpet at jazz jams in Atlanta several years ago, which the younger Darren also attended, it is obvious that Gransden’s style and wit has firmly rubbed off onto Darren’s technique. The two men simply gel and Darren knows it, and is proud to have such a mentor.

Darren-English-Harley-sepia

Darren English remains a formidable ‘young gun’ far beyond just South Africa’s jazz scene, and has been blessed with craft and skills to carry him holistically into a successful future. I am also very proud to say that Darren’s success carries with it a notable humility, yet adventure, in learning to be better. Just better! Watch his space!

See my December 2014 blurb: http://www.alljazzradio.co.za/2014/12/04/carol-martin-chat-with-cape-jazz-trumpeter-darren-english/
The album features: Darren English (tpt); Kenny Banks Jr. (pno); Billy Thornton (bs); Chris Burroughs (dms) + Carmen Bradford (vcl); Greg Tardy (tenor sax); Russell Gunn (tpt); Joe Gransden (tpt).

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“Come Play with Us”: Deep South’s attitude towards artistry; an Interview with songwriter Dave Ledbetter and arranger/producer Ronan Skillan

Deep South, a South African duo who spreads wings wide, travels to the deep northern territories of Europe to harvest fiordic acoustic sounds from Swiss, Swedish, and Norwegian colleagues. “We love what you do and we want your voices to grace our stuff,” invites this duo. Their time is limited, but their zest for inclusiveness is great, with eagerness to explore with fellow artists. “Here’s my composition and you know my sound. What can you add, please?” is the ticket for networking longevity. Guitarist/pianist Dave Ledbetter and percussionist/tabla/didgeridoo maestro Ronan Skillan have been CapeTown friends for long, and meld into each other’s works like happy jelly. They play regularly at Capetown’s popular jazz club, Straight No Chaser, (next gig on Wednesday, 10 February – not to be missed!) and include a handful of illustrious local musicians who add their South African and Cape voice to Deep South, particularly in their first album, “A Waiting Land” (2013).

Deep South’s recent launches of their second album, “Heartland” (2015), have spiralled these innovative acoustic wonders into depths of tonality and expression that cut across ethnic, regional, and even spiritual identities. I lamely attempted a review of this eclectic CD: http://www.alljazzradio.co.za/2015/11/04/acoustically-tripping-with-deep-souths-skillan-and-ledbetter-in-heartland/ and was sorry to miss their November 2015 launch in Cape Town with fellow European collaborators: ECM artist and co-producer of Heartland, bassist Bjorn Meyer from Sweden, bass clarinettist Jan Galega Bronnimann, trumpeter Samuel Wurgler and percussionist Fredrik Gille.

But even better was to chat with the deep souls of Deep South, while overlooking Kalk Bay’s wistful harbour, and find out what makes them tick!

Dave Ledbedder loves dogs

Dave Ledbetter loves dogs

CM: How have you attracted foreign artists to migrate towards you, as in your recent album?
Dave Ledbetter (DL): At the moment, the music has taken its natural course. I think the fact that our music is out there allows people to have access to it. Our first album was more home-grown here because we wanted a sound that was acoustically Capetonian and South African with local musicians like Mark Fransman (clarinet/flute), Shaun Yohannes (electric bass), and Shane Cooper (acoustic bass) adding their particular voices. When we branched out to the northern hemisphere, to our networks in Switzerland and Sweden, we had a more collaborative relationship. Compositions which I and Ronan had worked on over a period of time received a ringing blessing from fellow Hearts.

Ronan Skillan (RS): In Europe, we got a different sound to our songs, with intonation and precision. With our local musicians, we got more heart and feeling and intimacy, because we all grew up together. I think it’s also the way Dave and I relate that builds our networks. I’ve always loved Dave’s music – he brings the compositions, I don’t. I help orchestrate and engineer the physical hands-on process, and offer arrangements and ideas about sound and production. I have visions of specific people I know who will resonate with the compositions, and approach them, like our good friend and co-producer Bjorn Meyer who loved our first album.

DL: When we went to Europe, and I remember this very well, we had no idea of how or what it was going to sound like – this collaboration – before we got there. Suddenly, we’re sitting down together, and things started just rolling. Here it is! It went forward from there. In comparison, our first album was a laborious process over a long period of time, but we managed to capture all the nuances of my playing and could spend time rolling them out. This couldn’t happen with our second album recorded in Europe with limited time and budget. But the organic and free flow of spirit and innovation allowed the guys to bring us what they could add.

CM: You are eclectic musicians with Arabic, Asian, and other influences. What stimulates you to be like this? For instance, to play an Australian shamanic didgeridoo?
DL: I think it’s the open hearted spirit of generosity, when we say, “come play with us”, wherever we are, and with whomever we meet. This same open hearted interaction underpins everything we do. And that, essentially, is what we’re all about.
RS: I’ve been travelling to India and studying tabla regularly with one leading Indian percussionist. This has exposed me to a variety of methods and meanings of Asian and Arabic instruments, including the healing qualities of the didgeridoo sounds.

CM: Would you compose or take somebody else’s compositions?
DL: I would write for whoever we book to play on the album, like my good friend, trumpeter Marcus Wyatt. I know his stuff and the way he plays, so would include his voice in what we do, and write specifically for that voice. Same for a bass clarinet or sousaphone player. This is a way to enhance your vision. Just invite them.
RS: Regarding who to involve, thankfully the composition are always very strong. A good song is a good song. Period. It doesn’t really matter who plays it.

CM: Take your song, ‘Forest Road’, written about a road in Nairobi, Kenya. What’s that all about?
DL: My parents and their parents were Salvation Army missionaries, and my grandfather died in Nairobi. My own mother was born in China, and has just turned 89 years old. My grandfather died very young from an allergic reaction to bees. One day, he was walking down Forest Road in Nairobi and collapsed from a bee sting and died on the spot. My grandmother would take walks along Forest Road where he was buried in the cemetery, and would allow herself to be attacked by bees until the ripe ole age of 92. That was in 1942. My mother was traumatized by this loss of her young father as she was only 14 years old then. So the event of his sudden death stood out for me, and I tried to imagine what the reaction might have been to his death, given the environment they were living in, being war-time and in Nairobi. In this song, I imagined the Forest Road funeral cortege carrying the coffin with the brass band wailing. The song just came to me, very easily. I was chatting a while back with Mike Meyer’s guitarist who is a white sangoma, and he told me, “Somebody is looking after you. I can see it; he’s an elderly gentleman with red hair and glasses.” I replied that that must be my grandfather. “He’s looking after you,” the sangoma repeated. “He’s making sure you don’t mess up….too badly!”

Ronan Skillen live

Ronan Skillen live

RS: This story was also touching for me. As I was preparing to visit Nairobi for performances with our local band, Babu, I told Dave I would like to visit the gravesite. Dave gave me a rose quartz crystal and said, “Please put this on the grave for me.” I wasn’t sure I would have time in our busy schedule, but one free afternoon allowed me time at the grave. I asked a taxi if he knew where the Forest Road cemetery was. He looked confusedly at me, a white guy with an accent, and asked “Why??” I said I would tell him the story along the way. The grave was hard to find with all the vegetation growth over the decades (from 1942), but I found it. It was a very touching experience for me.

CM: Another song on your Heartland album that moved me considerably was ‘Awagawan’. What influenced this composition?
DL: I was deeply saddened when my good friend and guitarist with Tenanas, Gito Baloyi, was shot and killed in cross fire in Johannesburg. That’s when I wrote this song which has a spiritual bent to it. Ronan and I sat with it, reworked it, and put it aside. When our European trip was being planned, I took the song out again, Ronan and I added some sections, like the didg section, and the oud section. It was good in hindsight that I left those sections to bring them back at a later stage.
RS: I remember thinking that bassist Bjorn would probably find something in the song to resonate with. Sure enough, there’s an additive in there which was written for him. The same for percussionist Fredrik Gille.
DL: That bass clarinet is not suppose to sound like it does on the album in this song. But clarinettist Jan asked if we wanted that breathy sound. We said, YES! For me, such a sound was more pranic, from the inside, and that is what I wanted. I was delighted when Jan broke out of that mold of what some people consider the ‘proper’ sound of the clarinet.

CM: What you’re talking about is the architecture of composition. You start with an idea, a composition, but it’s fused by others.
DL: Well, the composition is already written. How I want it to sound is going to depend on people able to voice that idea. So whoever is contributing, I’ll be hearing their voices to enhance what’s already there. The music sounds must perpetuate an intention from a conscious place, music that makes the light in people’s heads flash, that makes them feel they have stumbled onto a fundamental truth here. It’s about feeling in life, from a very conscious perspective.

These two multi-talented musicians, while displaying their undeniably rich consciousness and pursuit of truth, are flagging other creatives out there to ‘come play with us’. This, in itself, is a great honour.

Deep South perform weekly now in and around Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban. Catch Dave Sunday 7 February 2016 at the Jazz at the Nassau concert (Bookings at 076 401 0008) as he plays piano and guitar with others. Also, Deep South et al play Wednesday 10 February at Straight No Chaser (Bookings at 076 679 2697).

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Four Blokes, Four Band Leaders highlight free jazz improv

Overflowing crowds packed CapeTown’s venerable jazz venue, Straight No Chaser, this January to imbibe a new year dose of jazz improvisation from four distinguished musicians across several age ranges. Quirky free jazz Capetownian pianist, Kyle Shepherd, elder drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo, and bassist Byron Bolton, brought together British/Caribbean tenor saxophonist, Shabaka Hutchings, for several evenings of unusual performances during the hot week of 13-16 January 2016.

South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo

South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo

I walk in late. Moholo’s frantic drums are spitting away. Kyle taps away on piano keys influenced by various objects strewn across the piano strings, like wooden sticks and cardboard. Nice harpsichord effect amidst an intense melody-absent improvisation. This foursome chatters, talks about important things, expresses emotion through various thumps, instrumental grunts, plucks and wails.

Now, what are they all talking about? Pianist Kyle then picks up a drum mallet, and starts hitting the piano strings, with purpose, not randomly, it seems. Double bassist Bolton eyes drummer Moholo as they share secret things behind their tapping, bow strumming, and pitter patters. They dance together, not necessarily in rhythmic harmony. There is no ¾ time. There is no time, just presence, the now! Shabaka’s sax offers undertones and subtle nods as a wrestling match ensues. Who’s refereeing this road race? All four of them! It’s intense, and after 25 minutes, I’m exhausted. Time for applause as one watches the two ceiling fans seriously pushing warm breezes in this packed venue. We are all seeking relief from a January heat wave.

This cozy venue of Cape Town’s Straight No Chaser needs to be five times bigger to hold offerings by, simply put, The 4Blokes, who performed additional nights due to popular demand. And still the music fans keep coming to these sold-out shows. The band simply advertise themselves as: “A pioneering free jazz drummer. An award-winning British saxophonist. A virtuoso young pianist. A bowing bass maverick. Four band leaders. 4 Blokes” .

Saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings

The visiting tall lean Londoner saxophonist, Shabaka Hutchings (http://www.shabakahutchings.com/) has a number of impressive awards and experiences with notable bands. His second Sons of Kemet album was released in September 2015 as he continues his research on the musical influences amongst the Caribbean diaspora in Britain. Back to his Cape Town concerts, he survived the ring matches with drummer extraordinaire, 77 year old Louis Moholo, who has absorbed every worldly influence on jazz improvisation since his early beginnings with Chris McGregor’s The Blue Notes, and then the Brotherhood of Breath in the 1960s/70s. Moholo doesn’t age; he just gets better. One doesn’t just ‘listen’ to him; one watches him. He’s very much engaged with his percussive instrument which becomes an extension of his own humanoid discussive personality.

Likewise, the enigmatic bowing bassman, Brydon Bolton, shows prowess when his bowed strings wrestle with the group’s improvisational quackery. He’s another watchable performer bordering on the classical traditions and jazz improve, as manifested in his electro-acoustic band, Benguela.

All four ‘blokes’ are composers with propensities for ‘free jazz’, the experimental, and home ethnics. Theirs is hardly conventional, even though several songs in their recent gigs were traditional bebop jazz of another era. There lies their inexorably creative improvisational talents!

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The Klutz in the Kitchen’s Straight Talkin’ No Punches Pulled Restaurant, Bistro, Cafe, Pub, Food Truck, Street Food & Take Away Grub n’ Cooking Maguffta Reviews

Klutz in the Kitchen

The Klutz in the Kitchen’s Straight Talkin’ No Punches Pulled Restaurant, Bistro, Cafe, Pub, Food Truck, Street Food & Take Away Grub n’ Cooking Maguffta Reviews

Restaurant Review

Pescarne, Main Road, Hout Bay

Late last week there I was beavering away at the keyboard and the phone goes, breaking all thoughts of what I was doing. To my pleasant surprise it was the sultry voice of a very dear friend whom I had not seen for quite sometime saying they had arrived for their regular holiday in Cape Town. She asked me to join her hubby and his sister to join them for lunch, which I gladly agreed to. They had lived in Hout Bay some twenty and then some years ago and had returned to Europe after a number of very happy years of living here. Now I have not been on that side of the mountain for a really long time, so was excited at the prospect of visiting the area again.

 

 

Yesterday, Tuesday, I headed for the Republic of Hout Bay, remembering how bad the traffic and access was I made sure I left with plenty of time to of arriving with a little time in hand to pick them up. On arrival at the Beach Club and joined them for a cup of coffee and catch up before heading out for lunch. The chosen venue was discarded due to the extreme windy conditions, and went on a search of Cheyne’s in the old village, which had been recommended by a friend of my lunch hosts. Finding parking and getting ready to walk to the restaurant, we were asked by the friendly manager of the close by Pescarne, if he could assist, and we told him we were looking for Cheyne’s and he pointed us in the right direction, quickly looking up the info on Zomato found they weren’t open for lunch. Never having been there before, we were invited by the manager to check out Pecarne.

 

 

There is a large outside deck area, again due to the wind we elected to sit inside the large dining area. The waiter introduced himself, Jimmy was his name, and presented with a number of laminated menu’s. After looking through and discussing the options, we ordered our drinks, a glass of red for my mate and myself, which we later found out to be Spier Signature Shiraz at R35 per glass, My host had to glasses and I had one. The ladies opted for a couple of glasses of Spier Brut Sparkling at R59 per glass and a small bottle of sparkling water at R15. I though good chance after all the fuss about water in restaurant to ask for a glass of tap water, Jimmy immediately asked if I would like ice and lemon to which I said yes please. Good start not so?

 

 

The menu was quite extensive and covered all bases, breakfast, burgers, steak, , Seafood, Shellfish, Greek Cuisine, Salads all pretty reasonably priced. My companions decided on the seafood option with my host and his sister opting for the Baby Calamari he with Chips and his siter with Baked Potato at R79, my host’s wife on finding out the line fish option was either Cape Yellowtail or Dorado, decided on the latter at R99 with salad instead of chips stating she’d not had it in a long while. Both of the fishes are on the SASSI Green list. I decided to go the Carne route and ordered the Beef Trinchado at R79, a favourite of mine. I then asked Jimmy if the chips were fresh or frozen, he was unsure and hesitant, but said fresh, being the sceptic with that answer decided on the baked starch instead.

 

 

The food arrived, with the Calamari looking reasonably good but the chips were the frozen variety, The line fish, was not Dorado at all but a couple of fish fillets of indiscriminate type and totally dry, fried and not grilled as requested. The Trinchado was not much better swimming in some sort of spicy pinkish orange liquid with the meat tough really awful, BTW it came with a bowl of those frozen “chips” instead of the baked potato as requested. I tasted and immediately sent it back and eventually the “Dorado” was also returned. I was not asked is I would like anything else but saw the kitchen was fussing over another portion of Trinchado and said I was not willing to have the dish again and again not asked if I wanted something else from the menu, to late I said my friends had already finished their meal.

 

 

Coffee and Espresso at R18 each, sent mine back as the cup was chipped and the crema was almost black, second cup was much better with the crema the right colour.

 

 

A very disappointing lunch at Pescarne and I asked for the owner to voice our complaints. He eventually arrived at our table apologising profusely laying blame at the feet of his new Malawian Chef who came with good references. I asked if this new Chef had cooked his signature dish and a dish from the current menu, you’ve guessed right, no he had not. That’s not the way one hires a Chef, on paper and telephonic references at all. A few other excuses were used by this time I was so over the discussion. They also had an extensive. Sushi menu and there was a Sushi Chef on duty as well. Jimmy had tried his best, but was lacking in training, not his fault, and he did not know what the food was like on the menu. When I chatted to him a little earlier. When I was in the trade I made sure all of my staff tasted everything on the menu over a period. When a new dish was due to be added to the menu the entire staff, from waiters/waitresses right through to dishwashers all tasted and gave their opinion and that opinion was highly regarded. Will I go back to Pescarne after the abortive disgusting lunch, the answer is yes as I always promise to do.

 

 

The Klutz in the Kitchen’s Grub Rating

★ = Really bad, horrible, unpleasant, and abysmal, blerry awful

 

 

The Klutz in the Kitchen always revisits establishments whether the review is good or bad because nobody has a good day everyday. Looking forward to a return visit.

 

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The Klutz in the Kitchen’s Straight Talkin’ No Punches Pulled Restaurant, Bistro, Cafe, Pub, Food Truck, Street Food & Take Away Grub n’ Cooking Maguffta Reviews

 

Klutz in the Kitchen

Klutz in the Kitchen

The Klutz in the Kitchen’s Straight Talkin’ No Punches Pulled Restaurant, Bistro, Cafe, Pub, Food Truck, Street Food & Take Away Grub n’ Cooking Maguffta Reviews

The Avenue Restaurant and Grill

It was one of those day’s, students doing their #Tag thing, a muggy Thursday and whilst beavering away at the listening to newly arrived music which were to be added to our playlist I had some fat finger trouble and suddenly there was this beautiful, mouth watering picture of a thick juicy steak all over my computer screen. Were the food gods being crazy to lead me off the work path, ‘cause this revelation led me to think what the Klutz was going to prepare for dinner. Quickly casting aside all thoughts ot the Klutz getting behind the hot stove and mostly because there was no steak fixings in the apartment at all. Then it happened, yep the word Avenue popped into my mind, eureka, The Avenue Restaurant and Grill. It was a total random spur of the moment choice, so hopped into the mechanical chariot and headed over the bridge to 2nd Avenue.

 

Once parked entered the emporium and greeted by smiling friendly wait staff and was led to our table the charming waitress Perpetua and left with the menu after placing a drink order. Not being in an alcohol frame of mind opted for a soft drink instead. Looking through the wine menu an was very happily surprised to see that all wines on the list were well under R200 per bottle. At last a restaurant where the wine costs more than the food one is to consume. Timer to start a #tag restaurant wine prices must fall movement, eh!

 

The food menu was also very reasonably priced and was informed by the affable waitress that the chips were hand cut from real potato’s, so on the advice of Perpetua and being quite hungry, decided on the 350gm sirloin medium rare (R145) with chips and also came with “roast” veg which I turned down, can’t stand them see, never had a good experience with “roasted veg” We were immediately offered a side salad instead which was gratefully accepted and also ordered a side of onions (R28) as well.

 

My order duly arrived in good time and looked good on the plate with the chips, onion and salad in side dishes, so far so good. Cutting into my steak was like using a blunt butter knife, tender as a ripe avocado. The first mouthful was juicy and very tasty, the basting sauce used was flavourful and did not detract from the meats flavour but enhance the taste experience. A truly wonderful piece of steak, best I’d had in a very long while. The salad was fresh and very tasty with their homemade salad dressing.

 

Now for the sad part of this tale, the chips were very oily and horribly verlep. This is often due to the raw chips not being rinsed off under fresh water and dried before being thrown into the fryer or the oil was used one time to many or not hot enough. Not much good can be said about the onions either, the batter was cooked hard, and one could if not careful chip a tooth on the horrid things. Nuff said if that.

 

The coffee was very good and rounded out a pleasing steak and salad meal, The Klutz in the Kitchen was satisfied with the friendly service and will be back in the near future.

 

The Klutz in the Kitchen’s Grub Rating

★★★ = Middling, tolerable, almost acceptable to adequate, still could be much better

 

The Klutz in the Kitchen always revisits establishments whether the review is good or bad because nobody has a good day everyday. Looking forward to a return visit.

 

Email the klutzinthekitchen@alljazzradio.co.za

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The Klutz in the Kitchen’s Straight Talkin’ No Punches Pulled Restaurant, Bistro, Cafe, Pub, Food Truck, Street Food & Take Away Grub n’ Cooking Maguffta Reviews

Klutz in the Kitchen Confessions

 

August – Coffee and Deli Harfield Village Kenilworth

 

Sjoe feeling quite industrious at the moment this is the second review I’m writing today, now as one may gather I love living in the Southern Suburbs and going to discover some of the food emporia in Claremont and those radiating outwards from our home base. Now listening to the new album by Cape Town Chartreuse Amanda Tiffin Consideration currently just a six track promo EP with the full album due next week prior to the her launch concerts on Friday 13 at the Nassau Centre (Groote Schuur High School) at 20.00 and on Sunday 15 November 2015 at 19.0at The Reeler Centre Theatre (Rondebosch Boys High School) South African Jazz is really in a good place now.

 

Ok back at the G & GA again (Gin & Ginger Ale my Late Dad’s Favourite tipple) so refreshing on a muggy day in Ol’ Cape Town, hey theres a song in them that words somewhere. 🙂

 

This is a review of a new little place that opened in 2nd Avenue’s famous restaurant row about a month and a bit ago. The August Coffee and Deli is a little emporium that wishes it could I guess. My first visit was to reconnoiter the place and being a deli had a look at the meat and veg products on offer. So far so good, neh! While browsing around and asking questions about their expectations and philosophy for the place which was simply to provide residents in the area with the best produce they could find so I ordered a coffee and also got myself a nice piece of Rib eye and a half a kilo of mince. Both items were cooked by the Klutz over the ensuing days and were really very good and of great quality, best of all reasonably priced far better than Frankie Fenner Meats that has recently opened in the area.

 

On the strength of my first small meat order I ordered a couple of Lamb Shanks and a few day later popped in once again to check on my order that sadly have not yet arrived. I was there, and again fell under the aroma of their coffee and decided to order their much-touted burger. The restaurant side of the business is tiny as is the blackboard menu they have some pasta’s and salads on the menu as well, all reasonably priced. They however didn’t serve any chips on the day of my visit.

 

The burger came and was the same size as the bun, which they get from Knead just up the road and mixed salad greens underneath the burger patty, but no tomato or onion. The first bite was delicious the meat was perfectly cooked medium rare and very tender. The basting sauce was tasty but I’m not to sure if it that was homemade? Had a commercial flavour to it. I also asked what spices were used in the burger and was told coriander, paprika, cumin and salt and pepper all of which were extremely subtle and hardly there, could be the BBQ sauce overpowering the flavours. Sadly the ubiquitous wooden board was once again, like so many other places used, as a serving vehicle for the meal, shame about that and hope that chuck the things into their next braai fire and get proper crockery to serve on. At 30 bucks for the burger, was a treat.

 

As to my Lamb Shanks, after being assured that they would have then in a few days and would called to let me know of their arrival. Still waiting for a call as this this little issue is now well over a month old. Guess I’ll just have to go give them a real bollocking.

 

The Klutz in the Kitchen’s Grub Rating System


★★★ = Middling, tolerable, almost acceptable to adequate, still could be much better

 

The Klutz will be back.

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The Klutz in the Kitchen’s Straight Talkin’ No Punches Pulled Restaurant, Bistro, Cafe, Pub, Food Truck, Street Food & Take Away Grub n’ Cooking Maguffta Reviews

Klutz in the Kitchen

Klutz in the Kitchen

 

Truth Coffee – Cape Town

 

The Klutz made a Haddock Mornay for dinner last night, which was very good by the way and had a nice little Chateau De La Doos Sauvignon Blanc from the Robertson Winery to accompany the meal, yummoloicious it was too. I took a portion of it to Mum and dropped it off a wee bit earlier for her lunch. On arriving home decided it was time for a lunchtime G & GA (Gin & Ginger Ale) before sitting down to write this review and listen to the brand new sophomore album by the group Deep South called Heartland and get to write this review of Truth Coffee which was visited some si to seven weeks ago. Pleasant way to kill two birds with on stone, neh! The talented twosome of David Ledbetter and Ronan Skillen are to launch the album next week, Saturday 14th Nov 2015 at The Reeler Theatre in Rondebosch from 19:30 – 22:30.

 

It’s not often The Klutz in the Kitchen ventures out of the suburbs but was forced to due to a technical problem with his Lap Top. So decided to continue the quest of finding the best coffee in the Cape and headed to Steampunk HQ, Truth Coffee shop, after finding street side parking ambled over to the packed joint’ I was greeted by the cheerful smiling and very affable floor manager Haley who showed me to a table. I was offered the breakfast menu having arrived a half hour or so before the menu change and being a first time visit I asked for the lunchtime menu to peruse too. I asked about the coffee and what her recommendation was and she suggested the Resurrection blend, which was agreed and ordered with cold milk on the side. The cold milk was a safety measure, just in case the beverage turned out awful.

 

Looking through the very grubby and dirty photo copied menus; hands feeling quite dirty after handling the clipboard things. Got to carry some wet wipes for occasions such as this. Besides, what’s it with this grubby method of presenting menu’s these days. It certainly ain’t trendy at all and is very off putting.

 

Jovial waitress Neli brought my coffee after a long wait and told her I couldn’t make up my mind between The Croque Monsieur or the Steampunk Benedict could she make a suggestion, she immediately stated she enjoyed both so was difficult for her to choose. Mmmm, not much help I said with a smile. It all boiled down the difficult choice of the Bayonne Ham or the crispy bacon. Ok, so you guessed which won out eh, the bacon naturally. So Steampunk Benedict was ordered along with another cuppa nice java.

 

When the food arrived it looked really good and tasty but my expectation was lowered drastically on seeing the blerry wooden board, which was bedecked with some greaseproof paper on which the Sourdough toast with two softly poached eggs, crispy bacon and hollandaise sandwich and topped assorted greens was placed. First bite was quite lekkerlicious so cast my misgivings about the wooden board to the back of my mind, though not to easy must say. It was a pleasant meal with very nice coffee with good service in an interestingly decorated space with a pleasant bustling old world atmosphere, but still the search continues for that perfect cup of coffee.

 

Will be back again sometime in the future.

The Klutz in the Kitchen’s Grub Rating System


★★★★ = Enjoyable, pleasant and satisfactory, worthy of a visit from time to time.

 

The final track of the album ha started, timing could not be better so far so good very enjoyable album. Well done Dave and Ronan.

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Acoustically tripping with Deep South’s Skillan and Ledbetter in Heartland

Skillan and Ledbetter’s Deep South brings “acoustic ‘trip folk’ with a hint of jazz, African groove and Nordic precision” to their latest Heartland album. And what a treat, just released on 1 October 2015 !! Multi-instrumentalist Dave Ledbetter and the percussive talents of Ronan Skillan (table, udu, percussion, didgeridoo, and hybrid kit) are adequately supported by several Swedish artists, with whom the two South Africans have worked over the years. Heartland offers hauntingly melodic compositions by guitarist Dave Ledbetter, all with a nordic acoustic twist of musical imagination.

Skillan, Ledbetter with Björn Meyer in Bern

Skillan, Ledbetter with Björn Meyer in Bern

Recorded and co-produced in Bern, Switzerland, thanks to Swiss Arts Council (Pro Helvetia) supports, the artists include: Fredrik Gille on riq, frame drum, and percussion. He specialises in flamenco and Arabic percussion. Watch a wonderful display of his frame drum solo at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wREUu1U_hs.   Jan Galega Brönnimann on bass clarinet and Samuel Würgler on trumpet and flugelhorn and co-producer bassist Björn Meyer make up this stellar artist line-up.

This album starts off with an engaging one-note strum in ‘Little Dan’ and moves with different rhythms from Ledbetter’s piano which becomes copied by his guitar. Ripples and waves of sounds ooze from flamenco castanets, Ronen’s percussions, back to that one note addiction, muted strings…. And that’s just the beginning!

Those of us who have listened to Ledbetter over the ages will hear his familiar tunes, always performed differently depending on the ‘Spaces Between Places’, as this tune suggests.

Deep South Heartland CD cover

Deep South Heartland CD cover

 

In ‘Harbour Intro’, I hear echoes of several depths of Ledbetter’s guitar which, for me, symbolizes looking at the calm ripples of sea waters at the shore, looking southwards. Sounds reverberate as they swing into ‘Harbour’ with Ledbetter’s joyful guitar. Percussions add that folksy element and move into poppish 4/4 beats. Ledbetter’s harmonic chords are rarely jarring.

‘Forest Road’ is named after a major road leading into central Nairobi. This sleepy ballad brings out the breathy bass clarinet of Jan Gelega Brönnimann which harmonizes with Ledbetter’s soft rhythmic scenes. How often do you hear a bass clarinet in folk/jazz? This is a favourite piece!

Now that the listener has settled back and become very relaxed, the ear starts its journey towards realizing nirvana. The next tracks on this eclectic, soothing album, present soundscapes reminiscent of ‘nordic’ meditation, like in ‘Moonchild’, with a clear and crisp trumpet of Samuel Würgler. We move on to an Indian groove, ‘Awagawan’, which has a most unusual collaboration between Skillan’s didgeridoo with tabla overtones and Brönnimann’s whispering bass clarinet. This is just a whopping super treat on the album, plain and simple ! This Indian spiritual belief of Awagawan says that only good Karma can liberate us from The Wheel of Eighty-Four, or the cycle of ‘Awagawan’. The song is a tribute to the late, greatly missed Gito Baloyi who was murdered on the streets on Johannesburg, and was a stunning guitarist team member of Tenanas. It connotes the karmic birth and rebirth of style, form and sound, as well as deed, in our lives. Beware: don’t repeat actions which produce recurring sufferings in your lives!

‘Gone but Not Forgotten’ follows as the karmic journey continues. This is the longest song on the album, has lots to say, so one can easily meditate on the soft, slow nuances. Sometimes funereal, the wistful conversations between all four instruments hold attention and purpose. Listen carefully because towards the end, there’s a wonderful trumpet surprise. All is not forgotten!

‘Clovelly’ offers a bluesy jazz twist to this delightful song led by Ledbetter’s piano. Just when I thought my mind and spirit would have been cleansed of all evil karmic intentions, after the previous meditative offerings, along comes ‘Time Out’. Yes, I need that! This one’s for the body, I guess. Another slow, stereophonic tone poem which tunes the ear, certainly relaxes muscles, and celebrates with a higher registered bass clarinet, unique in all ways.

This is acoustic at its best, a blend of jazz, folk, funk and blues across global spectrums!

ALBUM LAUNCH!!
Don’t miss the South African launch of Heartland on 14 November 2015 at 7.30pm
Where: The Reeler Theatre at Rondebosch Boys’ High School
– Canigou Avenue, Rondebosch, Cape Town
How much: R100 on Quicket or R120 at the door

Highly reputable South African musicians join, like regular Deep South bassist, Shaun Yohannes, and JHB-based trumpeter Marcus Wyatt of ‘Language 12’.    What could be better?

Heartland CD Launch

Heartland CD Launch

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The Klutz in the Kitchen’s Straight Talkin’ No Punches Pulled Restaurant, Bistro, Cafe, Pub, Food Truck, Street Food & Take Away Grub n’ Cooking Maguffta Reviews

Loco Lounge Harfield Village Claremont

My 86 year old Mom had a really bad fall late last week, her being a fanatical gardener, she was heading inside to answer the phone (landline) when she attacked by the garden hose, you know the problem with these pesky garden hoses, they get quite ornery from time to time when neglected. I took her to her quackter on Friday for a check up. Mom’s quite ok but looks like she’s been through a round or two with Laila Ali, she’s is quite a trooper. So the Klutz in the Kitchen made a huge pot of Aunty Sarah’s Truly Excellent Pea and Bacon Stoup, her favourite, last night and delivered it to her this morning. Hope she’s going to enjoy it and will relieve her of cooking duties while she convalesces. Aunty Sarah’s Stoup somehow works better than any amount of chicken soup see.

After stopping off at the supermarket to get a few much-needed victuals, it was a total spur of the moment decision to head to the Loco Lounge in Harfield Village to have a bite. Having read and heard so many great reviews and reports about the little place.

On walking in I was greeted by Dexter, the very affable and charming waiter on duty and led upstairs to the dining area. Impressive and inviting simple, clean lined décor with interesting denim tablecloths decking the tables. I was the only soul in the place at the early lunchtime. The menus were somewhat tired and grubby raw cardboard with a few grease spots and someone had written something intelligible at the bottom of one of the clipboard presented menus. I felt the urge to wash my hands after touching them.

On being handed the Lunch/Dinner menu I was told the Steak and Line Fish was not available at lunchtime and only available at dinnertime. Ok then so why have it on the menu then, huh? I then asked the big question, fresh or fake frozen chips, the answer, fake frozen. Blerry hell I thought, that really spoilt my first impression of the place. I also had a good look at the very tacky and overpriced photo copied wine list, really atrocious. The cocktail list was just as boring and plain, nothing jumping out saying try me try me. The list of cocktail’s can be got at any average cocktail bar anywhere in Cape Town. The one surprising thing was the beer list, mundane though it is. The Amstel price of 20 bucks was the cheapest of all other beers on the list. Having been put off by the drinks menu I ordered a cup of coffee and the Loco Burger to munch. There was no indication that the meal came with any starch or salad at all, they did however have a separate sides and extras section, which included “Skinny Fries”. After being asked if I wanted any extras and enquiring if anything else came with the burger I was told that “skinny fries” came with the burger. Mmm, makes me wonder is it a ploy used by restaurants at large to get punters to order the paid for extras and are only told if enquiring whether the meal comes with anything at all. A little dishonest don’t you think?

The coffee arrived on an interesting saucer, more like a tray and rather unique, the beverage was hot and not too bad at all. My burger arrived looking a little anaemic and flattop fried as opposed to grilled. Before chowing down I cut a piece of the burger patty off to taste, there was a total lack of seasoning but there was also a strange sourish taste to the damn thing. Can’t describe the flavour and it also left an unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth, which a gulp of the coffee could not remove. The much bragged about bun was toasted and tough, seemed like a day or two old. Not a good lunch at all, damn still got that hellish taste in my mouth as I write this despite rinsing with a couple of glasses of water once I got home.

There was no ownership on duty at the time of this visit, so told Dexter of my concerns and disappointing experience.

The Klutz in the Kitchen’s Grub Rating


★★¼ = Just ok but really needs to be so much better, a little off putting but has potential for improvement.

The Klutz in the Kitchen always revisits establishments whether the review is good or bad because nobody has a good day everyday. Looking forward to a return visit.

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The Klutz in the Kitchen’s Straight Talkin’ No Punches Pulled Restaurant, Bistro, Cafe, Pub, Food Truck, Street Food & Take Away Grub n’ Cooking Maguffta Reviews 

All Jazz Radio Logo Face Book1

Grub Review

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Who doesn’t enjoy a good curry, huh! Some say the best Durb’s curry can only be found in, well, er, um Durban. Well, got to say the Klutz is one of those quirky grub nutters who just doesn’t like curry; he just has a weakness for a really good one, it’s Klutz Kryptonite, see. All right then, I know this is Cape Town, the Gatsby and false tooth Kingdom of Afrika, and don’t we all know there is a whopping difference between the Kaapse and Durbs curry varietals, all ‘n all.

 

It was with great glee that I discovered a new little place, to me, a couple of months ago in my home range of Claremont, Belvedere Road to be precise, called Nice ‘n Spicy. On entering the tiny space the aroma’s engulphed warmly and rapping one in a blanket of gorgeous flavours, immediately my mouth began salivating in anticipation of what was to come. It was a surprise to see a well-known face, apron bedecked somewhat rotund character behind the counter. Hey I’m rotund too, so no slight intended, comes with age see. Former Cape Town radio DJ, Lee Downs, yes and somewhat surprised, as I did not know he had any cooking aspirations or credentials at all.

 

We started chatting, catching up on occurrences of the past few years, then the inevitable question arose, what does a former radio personality do after the glitz and glamour of commercial fades? Easy answer, he said, he is a food lover and has been for years, so what better than to open a place that features homemade nosh from his childhood. Bunny Chow, a multiplicity of Curry’s, Solomes, Samoosa’s, Hamburgers, Homemade Pickles and what has become a firm favourite of mine, the Pulled Beef Marsala Sarmie, totally morish, but beware it’s highly addictive, though I’m a large fella could not finish two in one sitting. There is a small seating area, very small, being a take away, so I sat down to enjoy the Sandwich, yummolicious, mouth tingling, telling me it was enjoying the spicy concoction. I promptly ordered another to take home for dinner later.

 

Been back a couple of times and eventually tried the Bunny, which was large, tasty, spicy like a good curry should be. I couldn’t finish off the container, the contents however did not last long, full of flavour it was, the only drawback was the lack of potato in the heady spicy mutton stew, only a small piece of the starch was included. Not to serious an infringement in the Klutzes eyes but will make sure to ask for extra potato’s on the next visit.

 

I highly recommend curries and specially that wonderful Pulled Beef Marsala sarmie, but I will have to have a good strong talk and boxing match with myself when next visiting, ‘cause I’ve got to try some of the other menu items.

The Klutzes Grub Rating for Nice ‘n Spicy is ★★★★ = Enjoyable, pleasant and satisfactory, worthy of a visit from time to time.

Contact Nice N Spicy, Belvedere Road, Claremont, Cape Town on 0837703024

Email The Klutz In The Kitchen at klutzinthekitchen@alljazzradio.co.za

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A Blog Supreme – All Jazz Radio – Monday 05 October 2015

 

All Jazz Radio Logo Face Book1An AJR Blog Supreme1Still the winter gods persist with the cold, overcast weather in the African Jazz Capital, but we remain very upbeat despite the drought conditions in our area of paradise. Summer is coming that we are sure of and are really looking forward to. It the exchange rate that is a major problem now, I mean very favourable for visitors to our fair shore and crazy fur us to travel out of the country, so I’d like to welcome all would are planning their vacations to include South Africa, moreover to The City of Cape Town, the Mother City, make your plans today, it’s going to bed a good holiday.

Took Mom and Uncle Jimmy to the country cousins on Sunday, invited for lunch we were twas a prelude to Moms 89th birthday on Wednesday, Pilotage and beer flowing, rugby and foody things discussed around the table lots of fun was had by all. The Kluze in the Kitchen really enjoyed the meal, mainly ‘cause he had a cooking day off, a lekkerlicious salad starter followed by a delicious Venison meatloaf with vegetables and rice and mushroom sauce with a creamy pie for dessert then relaxing on the patio with a cheese platter and finishing off homemade Limoncello. Must say Mom enjoyed very much now the pressure is on to find a suitable place to take her for lunch on Wednesday in the Rondebosch, Claremont, Kenilworth area. Got any suggestions?

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It’s not only is South Africa where journalists screw up the word Jazz, check this headline from The Observer (Kampala) 2 October 2015

Uganda: Karyn White Here to Jazz Up Ugandans

By John Vianney Nsimbe And Felix Eupal

It is the Nile Gold Jazz Safari and it is happening this evening at Kampala Serena hotel’s Victoria hall……….

Read the whole story on the All Africa News Website

Karyn White a jazz artist, huh?

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Here’s some great new and always exciting to here about a new release by a great vocalist.

Giacomo Gates Celebrates The Release of His New CD “Everything is Cool”

Gates approaches jazz singing with a showman’s poise and an aficionado’s zeal. With his deep, cognac baritone and his vintage-hipster lexicon, his phrasing and his bearing, he upholds a distinctly masculine ideal of deceptively easy nonchalance. Gates is known as the modern day heir to Eddie Jefferson, the godfather of vocalese. Here he uses the style sparingly, but to great advantage. never showboating by using the challenging technique. Backed by his go-to pianist, John di Martino and guitarist Tony Lombardozzi leading the rhythm section and Grant Stewart out in front on saxophone, Giacomo sings and swings his way through a dozen tunes – some familiar favourites, some rarely heard gems. He may be soft and subtle or he may be hip and humorous but one thing Giacomo Gates is not, is predictable.

Giacomo Gates Celebrates The Release of His New CD

“Everything is Cool”

Thursday, October 1st

Jazz at Kitano

Shows 8 & 10 pm

Giacomo Gates – vocals

John diMartino – piano

Ed Howard – bass

Jazz At Kitano

66 Park Ave @38th St

NYC

212.885.7119

www.kitano.com

Giacomo Gates – Everything is Cool

Savant Records SCD 2146

Giacomo Gates, vocals

John di Martino, piano

Grant Stewart, saxophone

Tony Lombardozzi, guitar

Ed Howard, bass

Willard Dyson, drums

Tracks: Everything is Cool • If I Were You, Baby, I’d Love Me • When Lovers, They Lose • Social Call • Hazel’s Hips • Almost Blue • Take Five • Who Threw the Glue? • Here Today and Gone Tomorrow • Please Don’t Bug Me • All Alone • Well, You Needn’t / It’s Over Now

TT = 48:23

This story from Nestor Jazz News

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So you’re a Hummus and a beer fan are you? Well now the good news is that you can indulge in both all at one time, in a glasss. An Israeli brewery, the Meadan Craft Brewing is now making Meadan Chickpea Malt Ale. Why you may ask? They wanted to make a kosher-for-Passover gluten-free beer, and did, so now hummus fans can rejoice by raising a glass of the favourite food.

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Today is National Apple Betty Day in America!

Celebrate today, hey any apple pie is good any day, but The Klutz In The Kitchen thinks that the date should be changed to the 7th October, why you ask, it’s the head hocho’s Moms birthday on that day and here name happens to ne Betty see. Any how the Betty is a crustless apple pie seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. An apple brown betty is a common variation, which includes layers of sweetened breadcrumbs.

This classic American dessert dates back to the colonial period and probably evolved from the traditional English bread pudding. The name “brown betty” first appeared in print in 1864 when it was mentioned in a Yale Literary Magazine article.

In honour of National Apple Betty Day, bake your own version of this scrumptious dessert and top it with lemon sauce, ice cream, or whip cream. Yum!

October 5, 2015 is also Simchat Torah, World Habitat Day

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Chili Month, Dessert Month, Pasta Month, Roller Skating Month, and Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month

This week is Walk Your Dog Week, World Space Week, and Fire Prevention Week

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SCHEDULE

TODAY, MONDAY ON ALL JAZZ RADIO Cape Town, South Africa

Tune into the All Jazz Radio live stream, don’t miss the best jazz out of Africa, today.

10:00 to 13:00- The Jazz Rendezvous Pinotage, Coffee & Stockvel Show

Compiled & produced by Eric Alan in Cape Town, SA

(A mixed genres show of the latest International and SAFRO album releases from the global village)

13:00 to 14:00- The Latin Perspective
Compiled, presented & produced by Tony Vasquez in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
(Afro-Cuban, Latin Jazz)

14:00 to 16:00- Take 5 & Then Some ……
Compiled, produced & presented by Clifford Graham in Cape Town, SA
(A Mix of Mainstream, Vocal, Contemporary and Smooth jazz)

16:00 to 18:00- Jazz Around The World
Compiled, presented & produced by Wolfgang König in Berlin, Germany
(All genre styles of jazz from around the world)

SUNDAY (Repeats)

18:00 – 22:00 The Eclectic Mix

Compiled & produced by AJR Staff in Cape Town, SA

(Mixed Genre Jazz, Blues, Latin and World Jazz)

22:00 – 24:00 The Jazz Rep – Now and Then

Compiled, presented & produced by by Ray Porter in London, UK

(Historic & Nostalgic Jazz)

24:00 – 02:00 The Groove Merchant

Compiled, presented & produced by by Andy Hardy in Ngongotaha, New Zealand

(Groove, Fusion & Funk Jazz)

SATURDAY (Repeats)

02:00 – 0500 Smooth, Fusion and Funk Show

Compiled & produced by AJR Staff in Cape Town, SA

(Mainstream, Vocal, Contemporary Smooth, Fusion, Funk & Soul Jazz)

05:00 – 08:00 No Name Brand Show

Compiled & produced by AJR Staff in Cape Town, SA

(Contemporary, Mainstream, Nostalgic, Pop Jazz)

08:00 – 10:00 The Kibby Factor

Compiled, presented & produced by Guitarist James “Acid Robot” Kibby in Cape Town, SA

(Acid, Avant Garde, Electronic Jazz, Blues)

All Jazz Radio streams in the C. A. T. (Central African Time Zone). Please note that Central European Time is one hour behind Central African Time and GMT is 2 hours behind.

Note too that all programs are repeated, eg. Today’s programs are repeated tomorrow evening from 18:00 and the previous days programs are repeated at 2am the following morning.

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SUPPORT ALL JAZZ RADIO

Online 24/7

Streaming from the Jazz Capital of Africa

The Mother City Of Cape Town

Drink Pinotage,
Support Jazz, Blues,
Drink Beer,
Support Smooth, Latin & World Jazz
Drink Filter Water

We do at All Jazz Radio
do it too,

&

do it now

SUPPORT JAZZ, BLUES, LATIN & WORLD JAZZ MUSICIANS

Don’t Pirate

Go buy their music

Go to their Live Gigs

Go Buy their DVD’s

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Please join the All Jazz Radio – Cape Town, ZA FB Group and stay in touch with us, also please Like the All Jazz Radio/Klutz In The Kitchen and follow us in the Twittersphere too. Please checkout our Website as well

 

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“Love Letter to Cape Town” draws out the indigenous bloodheart of Tony Cedras, a CD Review

This album, full of harmonies, draws us into a world not of fantasy or fancy lyrics, but of soundscapes echoing the joyous resonations of originality from the ancient language of a First Peoples, the Khoisan.

The indigenous bloodheart of multi-instrumentalist Tony Cedras, born in CapeTown in 1952, an early mover in the Cape jazz scene, then long exiled overseas and active in the anti-apartheid activities, is also known for his arrangements with the early band of Paul Simon. Cedras announces his return to his Cape homeland in this beautifully organized album recorded in Cape Town at Milestone studios and published in 2015 by Zurich Sessions Featured Artists.

Tony Cedras on accordion at Straight No Chaser, CapeTown

Tony Cedras on accordion at Straight No Chaser, CapeTown

A block buster array of musicians matching the spirit of this Khoisan soul make up this exceptional album. The promo video on his website doesn’t show Cedras playing accordion for some reason, but gives a good feel about the other musicians that make up this album. Deeply anchored in his heart is the preservation and recognition of the Aboriginal Khoisan peoples of Southern Africa, and his album certainly raises awareness of their dwindling, yet vibrant, heritage and culture.

Appropriately, his ancestral soil is felt in the opening track, //Hui !Goeb, with Cedras’ flugelhorn and Khoisan chanted clicks presenting soundscapes of the Ancient Nation’s Sacred Sites “where rainclouds gather”. Cedras says,
“As a descendant of an Ancient Nation, I am inspired by the significance of our Sacred Sites and it is central to my creativity.”

The next track, ‘Genesis’, offers a melodic tour through our original peoples of Africa, from South Africa to Tanzania to Zambia and beyond. Typical South African beats with congas are heard, absorbed with horn harmonies. Three energetic strumming guitars of Cedras, Errol Dyers on acoustic, and the notable Steve Newman on Soprano, along with backing vocals, explain Cedras’ life journey: “My life’s journey is one that exposed me to a myriad of cultures; I have always been curious about individual life stories and relocation. Irrespective of the motivation of movement, it brings about a new beginning that ultimately defines who we are.”

Probably the most beautiful, but not a Cedras original, song on this album is his unique arrangement of ‘Yakal Nkomo’ of the late great saxophonist, Winston Ngozi Mankunku, with rhythmic mbaqanga beats dancing nicely out of Cedras’ accordion. Cedras also plays guitars, keyboards, drums, and synth bass in this rendition, the latter which skilfully produce the off-colour sound of protesting bellowing bulls. Cedras says

“Reflecting on my musical career is to acknowledge those who inspired me. This was a favourite composition of the late Mankunku, a legendary tenor saxophone player whom I met in the early 70’s. He had an encouraging spirit and was an inspiration to my musical career.”

Tony Cedras at Straight No Chaser

Tony Cedras at Straight No Chaser

‘Horizons’ was written by Cedras in Botswana and recorded during his 1989 Graceland Tour with Paul Simon. It’s a song about Africa’s gift to world humanity, rapidly strummed on the guitars of Cedras and Dyers, with entrancing backing vocals.

Other songs convincingly present the sounds and feel of journeying through Africa dragging South African origins along, from Elsie’s River outside of Cape Town to a Congolese ballad sung crisply by Freshly Ground vocalist, Zolani Mahola, and back to South African folkish strings of Rayelle Goodman’s violin and Cedras’ guitar in ‘Autshumao Suite,’ a stunningly joyful upbeat piece. Cedras songs move between a very danceable masqanda beat of ‘Black Brown Cheri White’ to Mahola’s crystal clear ballad voice in the churchy ‘Mother Song’.

The album ends with a melodic middle eastern flair, ‘Journey to Alkebulan’, thanks to Rustin’s double bass stringing. It seemed a bit dour after the previous joyful uplifting songs, but the album’s presentations resonate long after the headphones come off.

If there was ever an album to pick up your spirits and move on, this is it! Transformative. This is not background music. You sing and hum along, and can’t keep yourself from dancing! Soundcloud sources mention genres of his album as ‘African jazz, jazz, klopse, goema’. It fits into no category – I could venture to say the album is ‘traditional but contemporary South African folk’. Or better still, just plain ‘music’ that draws out the emotions, hopes and dreams!

To Learn more about the South Africans performing on the album, go to Cedras’ website: http://www.zurichsessions.com/featured-artists/tony-cedras/. The Zurich Sessions is a musical get-together of some of the finest international and Swiss musicians and promotes collaboration with others.

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A Blog Supreme – All Jazz Radio – 02 October 2015

All Jazz Radio Logo Face Book1An AJR BLOG SUPREME copy

The weather gods are really very fickle, gorgeous cloudless sky in the African Jazz Capital, The Mother City of Cape Town, though chilly morning, but a shorts and flip-flops day for sure. At least the washing will get dry too.

The second day of October, sjoe, and is birthday celebration month of my Mom and Late sister Jenny would have be 62 and Mom turns 88 this month. Now starting to plan where we going to celebrate, Last year I took her and her Brother to the Hussar for lunch. Both enjoyed the meal and celebration there. Now, here’s the question do we return there again this year or find a new place to go to. Got any suggestions?

This year has been a really storming year so far, musically speaking, we received so many great new album by a veritable galaxy of Jazz, Blues, Latin and World Jazz stars it’s going to be very difficult to choose my Top 50 album releases of 2015, and there’s still another three months left to make the right choices, but there are still many more to be released.

Jazz Music LogoI must acknowledge the people who have kept us up to date with all those new albums also introducing us the so many new artists and important bio information over the past years. In alphabetical order big thanks go to the following;

Ann Braithwaite, Brian Hurst, Cindy Budd, Dawn De Blaze, Jim Eigo, Joshua Ellman, Kari Gaffney, Kate Smith, Katherine Growdon, Kenny Tlale, Lisa Reedy, Lynda A. Weingartz, Mark Rini, Michael Carlson, Natty Goehring, Richard Anton and Shaunna Machosky, plus all of the independent musicians who have contacted and sent us the albums, both locally and internationally.

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Klutz in the Kitchen

Klutz in the Kitchen

The Klutz In The Kitchen is gearing up to fire up his old slow cooker, which he has finally reclaimed from his Mom, who he discovered has never used it since he loaned it to her 30 or so years ago, been gathering dust in the back of one of her kitchen cupboards, see and saves buying a new one. Now cleaned up and looking like brand new, he is eager to get going, but he is looking for recipes to use and the first is a really good recipe for Lamb Shanks. Now, if you can please help, please send your Slow Cooker recipe to The Klutz In The Kitchen soonest. Looking forward the hearing from you.

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I discovered another ex South African who lives in the UK and am trying to get his CD to put on our play list soon. Here is his bio taken from his website;

Philip Clouts Quartet UmoyaPhilip Clouts was born in South Africa and brought to Britain as a baby. His father, the poet Sydney Clouts, was a great fan of South African music and throughout Philip’s childhood the house resounded to the strains of Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and township jazz. It was the pianists who particularly caught Philip’s ear, especially Abdullah Ibrahim and Chris McGregor, and that’s where it all started.

Philip Clouts is founder member, composer and pianist in Zubop ‘that spirited, hugely enjoyable jazz outfit, which takes the whole world of music as its home territory’ (The Observer). 4 CDs have been released on 33 Records and performances have been in a wide variety of venues and festivals in the UK and Europe, including WOMAD, Glastonbury, Berlin Worldbeat Festival, Brewery Arts Centre, Exeter Phoenix, Frankfurt Sinkkasten, and London Vortex.

Zubop developed into ZubopGambia, collaboration with BBC World Music award winner Juldeh Camara and other West African master musicians, which has done two major UK tours and headlined at festivals. A concert at Ronnie Scott’s, London, where they “managed to raise the roof” (Roots magazine) was released as a live album.

Other work has included playing with virtuoso folk fiddler Chris Haigh in Klezmania, a group playing Klezmer music with elements of jazz improvisation, and touring with singer Gary Howard of the Flying Pickets.

Philip has released a trio CD of his compositions entitled “South “which was praised in Jazz UK as “An enormously enjoyable set of accessible but distinctive originals. Like the compositions, Clouts’ solos are thoughtful and persuasively structured”

Since 2007 the Philip Clouts Quartet has been a major focus of his composing and playing.

The new CD Umoya (titled from the Zulu word for life force), features rising star Samuel Eagles on sax and is one of the first wave of releases on the new jazz imprint from prestigious classical label Odradek Records.

On this album, Clouts’ African inspirations extend beyond Cape jazz to Gnawa music and Afrobeat, and further to pan-European folksong, soul-jazz and even drum ‘n’ bass. Joined by saxophonist Samuel Eagles, bassist Alex Keen and Yamaha Jazz Scholarship-winning drummer Dave Ingamells, he brings his musical journey alive with superb musicianship and infectious vigour.

“Eagles’ phrasing lends itself perfectly to the immediacy of Clouts’ melodic writing, and to the conversational nature of the group as a whole…the end result is one of attractiveness with the added headiness of exotic flavours and joyous, dancing rhythms.”  Rob Adams

The album release will coincide with a tour of England and Scotland including dates at Bridport Arts Centre (23 Oct) the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh (26 Oct), The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen (29 Oct) the Capstone Theatre, Liverpool (30 Oct) and a London album launch at Café Posk on Saturday 17 October.

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Fried Scallops DayFried ScallopsA scallop is a type of marine mollusc in the Pectindae family. Scallops are typically two to five inches in size and can swim by rapidly opening and closing their shells. The muscle used for this activity is the only part of the animal that we eat.

Scallops are a highly prized seafood delicacy, known for their delectable taste and the variety of ways in which they can be prepared. In Japan, for example, scallops are served in soups or prepared as sushi. In Western cultures, scallops are usually breaded, deep-fried, or sautéed in butter.

To celebrate Fried Scallop Day, enjoy some delicious fried scallops from your local seafood restaurant. Bon appétit!

National Diversity DayOctober 2, 2015 is also Diversity Day

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Chili Month, Dessert Month, Pasta Month, Roller Skating Month, Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month

This week is Walk Your Dog Week

Welcome to National Diversity Day. Friday, October 2, 2015, it is the 10th Anniversary of NDD, too! “Embrace Diversity, Embrace Our World!”

NDD Mission: To awaken the world to the wonders of all of our beautiful differences. To spread the awareness that all of us are the same in our desires for a good home, food, safety and the comfort of being accepted regardless of appearance and/or beliefs. With that awareness comes the joy of embracing all that others different from ourselves have to offer us in endless numbers of ways!

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Today’s Streaming Broadcast Schedule on All Jazz Radio

FRIDAY

10:00 – 13:00 The Jazz Rendezvous Pinotage, Coffee & Stockvel Show

Compiled & produced by Eric Alan in Cape Town, SA

(A mixed genres show of the latest International and SAFRO album releases from the global village)

13:00 – 14:00 The Eurojazz Frontier

Compiled, presented & produced by Peter Slavid in London, UK

(Euro Jazz – Old & New)

14:00 – 16:00 Jazz Mixed Bag

Compiled, presented & produced by Rudy Nadler-Nir in Cape Town, SA

(As the name implies a veritable cornucopia of jazz, blues Latin and world jazz)

16:00 – 18:00 5th Floor Jazz

Compiled & produced by AJR Staff in Cape Town, SA

(Contemporary, Fusion, Funk Jazz)

THURSDAY (Repeats)

18:00 to 21:00- The Jazz Rendezvous Pinotage, Coffee & Stockvel Show

Compiled & produced by Eric Alan in Cape Town, SA

(A mixed genres show of the latest International and SAFRO album releases from the global village)

21:00 – 22:00 Todd’s Turntable
Compiled, presented & produced by Todd Gordon in Edinburgh, Scotland
(Vocal Jazz from across the centuries up to today)

22:00 – 24:00 Mzantsi (South) African Jazz
Compiled & produced by AJR Staff in Cape Town, SA
(Jazz from the African continent, made up of the music by Afro Jazz, Blues and Latin musicians from across all borders)

24:00 – 02:00 Vagabond Blues
Compiled, presented & produced by Brian Currin Cape Town, SA
(Blues from Africa & the Global Village)

WEDNESDAY (Repeats)

02:00 to 05:00- The Jazz Rendezvous Pinotage, Coffee & Stockvel Show

Compiled & produced by Eric Alan in Cape Town, SA

(A mixed genres show of the latest International and SAFRO album releases from the global village)

05:00 – 06:00 The Latin Perspective
Compiled, presented & produced by Tony Vasquez in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
(Afro-Cuban, Latin Jazz)

06:00 – 08:00 The Midweek Music Melange
Compiled, presented & produced by Ndoxy Hadebe in Cape Town, SA
(Afro Jazz, Afro Soul, World Jazz)

08:00 – 10:00 Jazz Beyond
Compiled, presented & produced by Brian Currin in Cape Town, SA
(Progressive, Contemporary and Avant Garde Jazz)

All Jazz Radio streams in the C. A. T. (Central African Time Zone). Please note that Central European Time is one hour behind Central African Time and GMT is 2 hours behind.

Note too that all programs are repeated, eg. Today’s programs are repeated tomorrow evening from 18:00 and the previous days programs are repeated at 2am the following morning.

Tune into the All Jazz Radio live stream, don’t miss the best jazz out of Africa, today.

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SUPPORT ALL JAZZ RADIO

Online 24/7

Streaming from the Jazz Capital of Africa

The Mother City Of Cape Town

Drink Pinotage,
Support Jazz, Blues,
Drink Beer,
Support Smooth, Latin & World Jazz
Drink Filter Water

We do at All Jazz Radio
do it too,

&

do it now

SUPPORT JAZZ, BLUES, LATIN & WORLD JAZZ MUSICIANS

Don’t Pirate

Go buy their music

Go to their Live Gigs

Go Buy their DVD’s

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Please join the All Jazz Radio – Cape Town, ZA FB Group and stay in touch with us, also please Like the All Jazz Radio/Klutz In The Kitchen and follow us in the Twittersphere too. Please checkout our Website as well

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