A week of not-the-usual-fare of musical offerings from bands which consider themselves of ‘mixed’ influences kicked off with the launch of Mike Rossi’s ‘Journey’ album, The World, rather, seemed to be depicted sonorously and joyfully by all groups that followed their musical themes throughout the week.
Rossi started the live band wagon with local musicians, some who had featured on his chatty album, like trombonist William Haubrich, drummer Kevin Gibson, and pianist bop artist, Andrew Ford along with Rossi’s multiple instruments, saxes and flute.
But it was the performance of young former-Delft Big Band, Lorenzo Blignaut, on flugelhorn that stole the show. His grooming by former Band leader and trumpeter, Ian Smith, has payed off handsomely from teenage years; Blignaut is dedicated and largely self-taught, mentored of course by the greats. Had the lighting effects been better, photographers would have flocked to this popular bakery-cum-jazz venue to catch various band wizards which Slow Life brings in, consistently and faithfully, in order to grow jazz and its various forms in this peninsular community.
Mid-week, Ancient Agents, a poly-rhythmic, multi-percussive group, performed at the vibey Café Roux’s Capetown branch on Shortmarket Street, before their travel to Madagascar for a popular music Festival.
Ronan Skillan’s hand-made slide metal didgeridoo expertly accompanied by Swedish cajon box beater and frame drum specialist, Fredrik Gille, brought eerie ancient and earthy sounds that made drinks rattle. Schalk Joubert’s electric bass foundations often echoed Reza Khota’s guitar conversations, making this evening’s event electric, different, and fulfilling. http://www.alljazzradio.co.za/2017/09/20/primordial-and-polyrhythmic-ancient-agents-is-a-percussion-delight/
Musicians enjoy Café Roux – it’s obvious. Eat some yummy pizza or light dishes first before the show, then relax back to a sound quality experience and dreamy decorum with an appreciative audience. Although Ancient Agents musicians focus on ‘jazz’, their improvisations cut across ancestral and traditional folk lines that are always pleasing. As is the venue! Oh, and yes, the venue introduces the band, and softly reminds the patrons to keep chatting volumes low in order to appreciate the musical offerings. Woe to the many other venues who simply don’t care about the music!
By Friday, another Slow Life-sponsored group hit town: SULP* (Swiss Urban Landler Passion) intrigued music students and fans at a College of Music concert with their enigmatic sounds that draw out folk life in an increasingly urbanizing Switzerland, yet stay true to tradition, the ‘Landler’ folk music. Featuring the concertina instrument, with its diatonic buttons on one side, and chromatic buttons on the other side, and a 4 metre long ‘Alp Horn’ blown, or rather breath-caressed like a didgeridoo with a French horn twist, and several other more ‘modern’ instruments, like the saxophone and double bass, SULP swung into rapturous waltzes and polka moods, reminiscent of music played in the popular film, ‘Sound of Music’. The alpine terrain comes to life, as did this recital hall with students looking for the familiar. Homegrown South Africans, Trumpeter Marcus Wyatt, and guitarist Derek Gripper added their individual mixes of African and a bit of Nordic influences. As SULP says, “Swiss folk music, in its contemporary form, did not emerge in the countryside but was invented by industrial workers in the fast growing urban centers re-imagining their rural origins in the rapidly changing world.”
SULP play at 4 other venues this weekend.
*Simon Dettwiler (conertina), Matthias Gubler (saxophone) and Hannes Fankhauser (Alp Horn, double bass)