Grey skies filled with the promise of more rain the Jazz Capital of Africa, The Mother City, Cape Town and with that in view the city remains the most beautiful in the world. It’s a great time of the year to have a vacation here. No crowds, friendly people, exciting places to visit in the city, great red wine, er, um Pinotage is the All Jazz Radio cultivar of choice anytime along with any meal in my humble opinion. The Klutz in the Kitchen stays with a home-grown recipe he has chosen the wonderful South African Chicken Pie Recipe, which when served with fresh butter & garlic infused mashed potatoes, carrots, peas, and gem squash. It’s oh so good comfort food on any miserable day in any city that faces a cloudy rainy day. Check back on our website later in the day for the recipe one won’t be sorry. J
Today for the first 4 hours of our broadcast day during the Jazz Rendezvous we take an upbeat journey into the funky, fusion and smooth side of contemporary jazz. Yep! It’s a great way to usher in the new day don’ cha think? Join Eric Alan for the best jazz on any radio station in the global village today from 9am to 1pm G.M.T. At 2pm C.A.T. today its again time for
Rudy Nadlir-Nir’s excellent Latin Side, where one can sit back, relax to the soothing sounds of some of the best Latin jazz available today. We then climb to the 5th Floor Jazz for some more contemporary smooth jazz, which will really get the ones weekend off on the right note.
I went to listen visiting expat saxophonist Mark Ginsberg who played at a venue that I’d not yet visited, The Five Rooms Restaurant at the Alphen Hotel in Constantia. I was somewhat disappointed, not by the great band but by bad service. The full review will be posted on the Reviews page of the website later
Grahamstown – a unique jazz festival – Jazzaholic by Don Albert from ArtsLink.co.za
Don says, “This is a unique festival, unlike anything I have seen in the world. You can be very proud of it.”
That is a quote from Maria Schneider about the Standard Bank Jazz Festival Grahamstown and the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival, the two run parallel to each other.
Schneider has just won the best Big Band, Composer and Arranger categories in the Down Beat Critics Poll, while her latest CD ‘Winter Morning Walks’ won Three Grammy Awards.
There were 330 students and teachers plus 90 musicians from SA and 12 other countries for Jazzfest. During the day the youth are auditioned for various bands such as the National Youth Jazz Band and the National School Big Band. There is also a vocal centre for solo artists and choirs. The workshops and master classes are all taught by both local and overseas artists for each instrument plus sight-reading classes, improvising to mixing recorded tracks, rap and adding loops and samples to your music. Rehearsing and sound balances for afternoon and evening concerts are all part of the day which starts at 9am.
Her orchestra combined South African and Norwegian musicians which included the brilliant Ensemble Denada, while the SA musicians, Marcus Wyatt, Dan Shout, John Davies and Melissa van der Spuy proved they were world class. At one rehearsal Maria didn’t like the acoustics of the room so she had the whole orchestra rehearse on the lawn outside under a tree. She knows what she wants and she extracts it from the individual and the sections. When she calls for the music to be played piano (p soft) she means double piano (pp softer). Her conducting is visual and fascinating, and the joy she gets out of listening to a soloist is evident. Her piece de resistance is “Cerulean Skies” which she explains is about the migration of birds.
I was surprised to see Dawn Lindberg at the one concert, who sat opposite me. She said “Don, I don’t like jazz” so I asked why was she there? “Because there is so much fuss going on about this woman,” she replied. She listened and obviously impressed, asked me “How does one write jazz like that?” “Genius,” I answered. ”Almost dazed she asked at the end as to what was written and what was improvised? I told her, and I think she now has a different attitude towards jazz music.
Due to space I can’t go into much detail of the many other highlights that came thick and fast and deserve a paragraph each, but that’s the way the quavers fall and I apologise. Here are some: The sublime tone of Bertil Strandberg’s trombone playing and how he and Buddy Wells’ tenor combined; How Melanie Scholtz has developed from being a jazz vocalists into a suave artiste; The Rondebosch Big Band with the finest saxophone section yet heard from schoolboys; The unbelievable music and sounds created by cellist Ernst Reijseger, pianist Harmen Fraanje and vocalist and m’bira Mola Sylla. Reijseger uses a five string cello and played all over the instrument from pure and delicate arco to scraping on the peg to playing the instrument like a guitar over his knee or tapping the instrument like bongos, he took the instrument into places a cello has never been before from Afro to avant-garde. I was enthralled; Nick Smart took the SA Tribute Big Band through its paces plying the music mostly of Dudu Pukwana and Mongezi Feza arranged by Stuart Hall in the manner of Brotherhood of Breath and the Dedication Orchestra. When the voice of Tutu Puoane was added things jumped up a step or two and they used some
of the repertoire she recorded on the CD Mama Africa. Inspired tenor man Mike Rossi got in the best solo of the night; Bassist Banz Oester and the Rainmakers featuring Afrika Mkhize; Brian Tusi’s 14-year-old tenor player Moses, who is going to ruffle feathers, and the drum workshop of American Jeff Siegel, also bassist Shaun Johannes seemed to be everywhere and the enthusiasm of young trumpeter Marco Maritz.
Mention has to be made of Alan Webster, the man who made all the magic happen. He’s going to have to find a new wand because 2014 has set the standard so high it seems almost impossible to surpass it. One thing for sure though is his incredible team that makes everything run so smoothly from meals to transport and ANY problem that might arise.
Thank you for this inspiring event.
Don Albert is a saxophonist and jazz journalist. He spent 12 years with The Star Newspaper on the Tonight! section writing about jazz. Currently he writes jazz CD and book reviews for Financial Mail and is the South African Correspondent for Downbeat (USA) and Jazz Journal International (UK). He has presented radio programmes on jazz and served awards.as judge at prestigious competitions. He has also won numerous awards.
Mayimba Music Releases Laura Dreyer’s Vida. Arte. Amor. – A Brazilian Journey
Laura Dreyer, a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, has established herself as a vital member of the New York jazz scene. Always drawn to Brazilian music, the composer, educator and multi-instrumentalist created a “latinized” fusion incorporating elements of jazz, funk, and rock. Dreyer was a founding member and contributing arranger for the big band DIVA. In this capacity, she worked with luminaries Dave Brubeck, Rosemary Clooney, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Slide Hampton and Clark Terry, among others. Additionally she has performed with Dr. Billy Taylor, Mel Lewis, Robert Palmer, Nnenna Freelon, Lea Delaria, Leny Andrade and Portinho. She was a band member for the award-winning musicals “Hot and Sweet” and the Duke Ellington tribute, “Hit Me With A Hot Note.”
The National Endowment for the Arts awarded Dreyer grants in performance and professional jazz study/composition. She participated in the BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop and four of her songs have received an honourable mention in Billboard Magazine’s song-writing contests.
Dreyer has been active as an educator, and continues to write for music publications.
Of her current work she says, “I discovered an intrinsic emotional quality in Brazilian music that helped me find a deeper level of self-expression. After having performed many times with Brazilian jazz artists throughout the years in New York City and Brazil, I began to envision recording my newest album in Rio de Janeiro. I had worked with world-class Rio-based jazz artists in Brazil, and realized that I had found the perfect group of musicians to perform my music and complete my vision.”
In the spirit of creating a multi- cultural recording, vocalist and music educator Professor Roger Wesby wrote lyrics in Spanish for one of Dreyer’s compositions. Brazilian vocalist Débora Watts adapted these lyrics to Portuguese, and penned lyrics to another one of Dreyer’s songs. Vocalist Teri Koide contributed her vocal talents and English lyrics to another piece, and Karen Rodriguez helped with further Spanish lyrics and stellar vocals. The repertoire was completed with the addition of two arrangements of a composition by the legendary Romeo Santos.
Dreyer concludes, “I am grateful that the magic I felt during the recording session, and my passion for the fascinating sounds of Brazil, are captured on Vida. Arte. Amor.”
1. Caminhos Novos
2. Beauty & The Beast
3. Ping Pong
4. La Pena El Placer (Portuguese Version)
5. Beijo del Sol (Rio Version)
6. Spring St.
7. Vale La Pena El Placer
8. O Outro Lado do Seu Amor
9. Perdendo Voce
10. A Somba Se Foi
11. Until Daybreak
13. A Danca dos Cacharros
AVAILABLE IN STORES AND ONLINE AUGUST 27, 2014
Laura Dreyer – sax, flute
Itamar Assiere – piano
Jefferson Lescowich – bass
Mila Schiavo – percussion
Aldivas Ayres – trombone
Davy Mooney & Bernardo Bososio – guitar
Marcio Amaro – drums
Karen Rodriguez, Débora Watts & Teri Koide – vocals