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Pan-African Live Jazz sizzles at Grahamstown: A CD Review

This is mixed African music at its best. ‘Live at Grahamstown’ features a world-renowned South African duo of multi-instrumental specialist Pops Mohamed, and his faithful side-kick, Dave Reynolds on steel pan and acoustic guitar.

A Traveling Pair - Dave Reynolds & Pops Mohamed

A Traveling Pair – Dave Reynolds & Pops Mohamed

In this live performance at the 2015 Standard Bank Jazz Festival in Grahamstown, they are backed by another impressive array of world-class musicians: Capetown-born Tony Cedras adds rhythm and texture with his accordion, guitar, and trumpet; Mozambique-born Frank Paco is no stranger on the percussion and drum scene; and Congolese singer/songwriter Sylvain Baloubeta punctuates all songs with his electric bass and falsetto vocals. In fact, all musicians sing and harmonize on this exciting album which melds African indigenous sounds and rhythms with contemporary expressions and improvisation.

Dave Reynolds & Pops Mohamed

Dave Reynolds & Pops Mohamed

All musicians carry not only highly experienced musical weight but a faithfulness to fundamental African beats and bites that they have grown up with. The album moves from earthy messages to past and present blessings to the inevitable spiritual conclusions of life. How better to do this than with blended accordion-steelpan-kora sounds of the soul. Cudos go to Pops Mohamed who wrote the musical score for the South African-made film, The Whale Caller, which recently won an award for Best African Film at this month’s Johannesburg Film Festival.

‘Hands in the Sand’ starts the journey with lovely mellow harmonies from all musicians, almost like settling into their early mission to create harmony. To realize mission, one needs to dream so here enters a brief introduction of the kora, which swings handsomely into a South African swing in ‘Ons Gaan Huis Toe’. Cedras’s accordion presents that familiar morabi sound, steadied by Baloubeta’s electric bass. One feels the home-grown texture of this danceable song.

Dave Reynolds with Tony Cedras, accordion

Dave Reynolds with Tony Cedras, accordion

Throughout the album, Mohamed speaks poetry, both literally and musically. ‘Welcome to the Future’ starts with the soothing relief of the rain stick and his vocals, with earthy undertones held nicely by Reynolds’ equally calming steelpan. This is truly a peace song for the future, for unborn babies, referencing a list of sterling world leaders who have delivered. It’s a refreshing memorial to what can be, as it welcomes the next song on the album, ‘Spirit’. The band manages to engage the audience as they clap into the future, accompanied by a profoundly spiritual buzz from Cedras’s accordion which brings on more applause. More Khoisan vocals and poetry from Mohamed at the end adds further release of the spirit.

Now, we are only half way into the album, and already sniffing a touch of nirvana.

A ghoema swing takes off by Reynolds in ‘Malay Jam’ and awakens that dancing spirit. This moving piece reeks of Cape rhythms, as does ‘Breakfast Ghoema’ as the Reynolds and Cedras swing their way joyfully and energetically to start a new day.  Have we entered nirvana yet?

The album ends with two songs, ‘‘Never Again’, with Mohamed’s African mbira with the Cedras accordion and vocal harmonies which spin the listener softly and delightfully onto another sonic plane. A soft duo of Kora and steelpan in ‘Song for Jos’ brings closure to this eclectic and ambitious album, transporting the listener to another part of Africa, with fond memories about what talents abound among touring South Africans and their pan-African bands.

Reynolds with bassist Sylvain Baloubeta

Reynolds with bassist Sylvain Baloubeta

This album is a winner! Don’t miss its launches this weekend:

Friday, 11 November – KMA Soiree, Hout Bay (021 790 4457 bookings)
Saturday, 12 November – Blue Bird Garage, Muizenberg (evening)
Sunday, 13 November – Guga S’thebe, Langa (afternoon)

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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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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.

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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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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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A Blog Supreme – All Jazz Radio – Monday 7th September 2015

All Jazz Radio Logo Face Book1A BLOG SUPREMEThe first part of the past weekend was gorgeous here in the African Jazz Capital, Cape Town and the second half saw the winter gods rebelling against the summer gods, and really fighting it out they have been cold, wet and miserable on this day, damn. Joy it’s going to be a real soup and sarmie or a nice juicy stew n’ rice one. Mmm, the Klutz in the Kitchen has a couple of important choices to make for a couple of recipes this week me thinks.

There has been so much new Jazz, Blues, Latin and World Jazz released over the past few weeks, I’m having trouble in choosing my favourite new albums and new artists. Can you help me, tell me what yours are, drop me a line here on the All Jazz Radio WebsiteAll Jazz Radio FB Page or by Email Info at All Jazz Radio with Fav Albums and Artists in the Subject line.

I’ve been asked to increase the frequency of the Klutz in The Kitchen’s recipe suggestions. How many recipes would you like to see posted to the AJR Website each week, do tell us simply Email The Klutz In The Kitchen

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The Sound of You is must for Joy of Jazz fans – Jazzaholic by

Don Albert

Don Albert

Don Albert 09/03/2015 08:53:12

Estelle Kokot will be performing at the Joy of Jazz festival in The Sound of You on September 25.

Estelle was born in England and at the age of five her parents decided to emigrate to Zimbabwe (then known as Rhodesia). Eventually she made her way to South Africa and into the music scene. She soon made a name for herself as the vocalist and pianist with the very popular group named Rush Hour.

In 1993 she decided to try her luck in London, where she now has a large following. She also made regular trips back to South Africa, for which she has a strong affiliation.

640x360_estelleA“I am delighted to be invited to perform at this year’s Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival. To be a part of this brilliant line up is really an honour for me and I am looking forward to reconnecting with The Sound of You band and sharing our new music with seasoned jazz lovers and new comers.

“Every time I come home (my home in my heart) to South Africa to perform, it is not just about the music. I feel a deep connection with South Africans from all walks of life. There is just such immediacy in the way people respond to music and to each other. Despite the hardships for many and all the other things that makes life a little difficult, South Africa and South Africans fill me with hope and the way we connect as a people is unique.

“Joy of Jazz has come along at the right time for me. I recorded my new album called The Sound of You in Cape Town towards the end of last year.

Estelle Kokot“It would be ideal to launch the album at Joy of Jazz in South Africa, because Chicago-born saxophonist Chico Freeman will be joining me with Herbie Tsoaeli on bass and Kevin Gibson on drums at Joy of Jazz. We will be performing material mostly from the new album. I might throw in a standard and one of my own tunes too. It is also Chico’s first time in South Africa.

“The Sound of You songbook was written and composed mostly by Chico Freeman and the lyrics were written by Jan Pulsford. Chico is the son of jazz great tenor saxophonist Von Freeman, and Jan toured, wrote and produced with pop diva Cyndi Lauper for 12 years. Jan and Chico have been writing songs and composing together for 12 years.

“Herbie has bought his own exquisite musicality to the songs and the arrangements without taking away from the melodies and Kevin is the most instinctive musician I have ever had the pleasure of working with. All these elements combined with Chico’s lyrical playing means that our first gig together at the Joy of Jazz is going to be quite an event for me, and we are all really looking forward to sharing the magic with you too!”

Estelle Kokot will be appearing at Joy of Jazz on the Dinaledi Stage on September 25.  Booking at Computicket.

Don Albert is an ex-saxophonist and jazz journalist. He spent 12 years with The Star Newspaper on the Tonight writing about jazz. He has presented radio programmes on jazz and was the presenter of the TV series Jazz Studio. He has served on the panel for judges at prestigious competitions. He has also won numerous awards, the latest being A Judges Commendation in the 2013 National Arts Festival Arts Journalist of the Year Awards. Presented by Business and Arts South Africa. It read: For outstanding work as an arts journalist over a sustained period, and for his invaluable contribution to the Jazz Industry through incisive, knowledgeable and passionate reporting.

Thanks to Don for the story

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2012 Jazz Rendezvous Logo topleftThe day’s live streaming broadcast The Jazz Rendezvous Radio, Pinotage, Coffee & Stockvel Show starts with with Eric Alan in the cold seat, yep cold because he is the first to present his show on the first day of the new week.

Latin Perspective copyAt 13:00 Central African Time our Latin Jazz aficionado Tony Vasquez in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA will present his show The Latin Perspective taking us though the Latin jazz lexicon.

From 14:00 it’s Take 5 and Then Some which one can hear the best of Mainstream, Vocal, Contemporary and Smooth jazz, an eclectic mix as is usual at this time and day of the week.

Jazz Around the WorldWe then had to Berlin, Germany where host Wolfgang König takes us a journey through his program of Jazz Around the World. This day takes us on a trip as Jazz Goes Latin.

We have an interesting couple of hours of new music during our live broadcasts before our unique re-broadcasting schedule starts from 18:00 C.A.T.

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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Today is National Bacon Day in South Africa

Bacon is meal CandyThough celebrated in the USA a couple of days ago we felt we needed our own National Bacon Day because we wanted an extra special day to enjoy this yummyolicious morsel. So today’s lip-smacking holiday is the perfect reason to enjoy this classic breakfast food. A BLT, bacon-wrapped meatloaf, or a simple side of bacon, it’s all mouth-watering.

Bacon is cured, smoked pork and has been around for some centuries. The method of preserving pork began in China around 1500 B.C, with the Greeks and Romans continuing the tradition. Modern-day bacon was first packaged and patented by Oscar Mayer in back in 1924.

Yummolicious good for your.

Yummolicious good for you

Celebrate all things bacon today by having it as a part of your entire day, at any time. Share your favourite bacon recipes with a friends too.

Yes its true BACON RULES, OK.

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CapeTown jazz jams at O’Driscolls Irish Pub get down!

Spring/summer IS coming, warming our hearts again with a Wednesday night jazz jam open to all!

Joe Schaffers and guitarist Alvin Dyers are at it again!  Making sure there are weekly jams where musicians, fans, visitors, and students can come and enjoy an evening of sounds from some of Cape Town’s great musicians!  Since several ‘Monday night’ jam venues were closed during my 19 year period of frequenting them (namely, Val’s Cafe and Swingers, both in Wetton), homes have been sought to sustain a regular excitement.  The newer ‘Mannenburgs’ housed on Strand Street in an historic building had to be vacated late last year due to renovations and other factors.

There’s a new kid on the block now – at least for good live jazz!  Central to Cape Town and just one block from its vibrant Green Market Square is a pub called O’Driscolls Irish Pub at 38 Hout St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8001   Phone:021 424 7453, open till 2am so they say on their website.

MC Joe Schaffers & Guitarist Alvin Dyers at O'Driscolls

MC Joe Schaffers & Guitarist Alvin Dyers at O’Driscolls

On Wednesday nights, you can sit back at a table or the bar, and down a pint of Guinness while tapping to the music and catch a bite to eat from the affordable menu, offering salad instead of chips for the weight-watchers.

Last Wednesday, 19 August 2015, I popped in as I wanted to commune again with trumpeter Darren English, now based in USA teaching at Atlanta’s Georgia State University Music Department.  Darren, originally from Muizenberg, started his childhood live performance career at a tender age of 15. Couched in a beetles-style hair cut, Darren blew his trumpet to admiring crowds at the Swingers Monday Night jazz jams in Wetton.  His busy father was adamant and loyal about exposing his gifted son to the elements, and accompanied under-aged Darren to this bar/restaurant night club every Monday.

Darren English, trumpet & John Russell, guitar

Darren English, trumpet & John Russell, guitar

Other notables at last Wednesday’s jazz were singer songbird Emily Bruce who, at age 35, is deciding whether to pursue her Doctorate in music or another degree in Marketing, the latter to serve as a ‘real’ income. Mark Fransman, a whiz musician who excels on both piano and saxophones made his appearance as well.  He and Emily were also young guns on the Monday Night jazz jam stages when they had no other platforms to practice their live arts. Guitarist Johnny Russell, another young Swingers hopeful jammed with all of the above.

Emily Bruce & Alvin Dyers

Emily Bruce & Alvin Dyers

MC for these jams, Joe Schaffers, himself an old fixture at the live community jazz gigs and faithful supporter of youth in music, has served with several NGOs in the Cape Flats and Cape Town area serving music educational needs in communities.  As he sings with guitarist Alvin Dyers who kept the jazz jams going for several decades, I could only smile and reminisce how these walk-in and enjoy-yourself jams lightened the end of a day, and afforded musicians and patrons alike opportunities to ‘talk music’ and interact during the evening hours.

Mark Fransman, sax, and Darren English, trumpet

Mark Fransman, sax, and Darren English, trumpet

Who will appear next Wednesday is anyone’s guess! Pop in between 8 – 11pm for a dose!

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Bokani Dyer dyertribes again at Straight No Chaser with Swiss crew

As light rain falls in the middle of Cape Town’s dry winter, Straight No Chaser is the place to be, a manageable venue that handles what warmth seekers want to hear – good live jazz. I walked in on last night’s well advertised gig featuring our own pianist Bokani Dyer who presented his band of seasoned Swiss musicians having musical ties to South Africa. Together, on a country wide tour, his Swiss Quintet performed Bokani’s own ‘dyertribe’ compositions, some from his latest album, ‘World Music’.

Bokani Dyer Swiss Quintet on Tour in South Africa

Bokani Dyer Swiss Quintet on Tour in South Africa

I arrived for the second set, as the first group of patrons were leaving. Entering this small but cozy venue from the chilly wet outside, my eye glasses immediately fogged up. The sauna of human breath was inviting, indeed, and I quickly warmed up as these five musicians took to the stage, thanks to their sponsor, Prohelvetia.

Being a Bheki Mseleku fan (as I am), Bokani performed his own version of Mseleku’s “Cycle” which featured a stunning double bass solo from Stephan Kurmann, followed by a piano duet which sounded very much like the late great Mseleku we knew. Trumpeter Mattias Spillmann started the next song rustling an A4 paper as the bass punctuated. Bokani plucked his piano strings. Drummer Norbert Pfammatter fell in with a steady funky beat. Then, Spillmann put his hat on his trumpet to act like a muffler, another innovative ‘hat trick’! I called this ‘trumpet ruffles while hat muffles’ as the song’s name wasn’t announced.

Mattias Spillmann's hat muffler

Mattias Spillmann’s hat muffler

The final song, “Fanfare”, struck off with a familiar South African beat – again a Mseleku sound – with an extraordinary saxophone solo by Donat Fisch followed by an equally competitive one by the trumpet. It was a finale making any outside inclement weather little to care about.

The Bokani I knew from the past was shining, as usual. But he has lost his dredlocks. His shaved head grown out a little bit connotes him as avant-garde, plain, older, but simpler. I guess a Bokani in the raw!! I grew up with big Afro -black-is-beautiful heads. OK, I’m outdated….

Bokani’s set perked me up. Mind you, at 10.20pm, on a rainy chilly night at the bottom of this hemisphere, I could have dealt with bed. Easily. The trek out was worth it! And why the Swiss four? In May 2014, Bokani did a residency in Basel at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club where he performed with his Swiss comrades who, individually, carry a wealth of experience with worldly views, including performing with notable South African musicians like Abdullah Ibrahim, Feya Faku, Marcus Wyatt, etc.

Bokani with Marlon & Shane

I now look forward to digesting his new CD, ‘World Music’, which Bokani recorded with South Africans he has grown up with. The 12 songs promise another dyertribe special, I’m sure!

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An Interview with jazz guitarist Vuma Ian Levin about “Necessary Contradictions”

Another vibrant, well-skilled South African guitarist hit Capetown’s Straight No Chaser jazz club with his quintet made up of young European musicians. Vuma Levin has been schooling in Amsterdam and making a professional life for himself, but well remembers his own home shores as his debut album suggests. “The Spectacle of An-Other” contains his original compositions which speak messages I like: Through cultural and national identities, how do we empower marginalised Black South African histories post 1994 to integrate into various spaces and experiences without stigma or enclavist mentalities so prominent in the past?

Quintet album cover

Quintet album cover & promotion

His evening at SNC drew a relatively large crowd, as do well publicized artists passing through. Levin is not just ‘passing through’ though. He participates in the Standard Bank Youth Jazz Festival (SBYJF) in Grahamstown beginning July, and will hang around our shores for a while during his study break with the Amsterdam Conservatory of Music where he’s working towards his master’s in jazz guitar performance.

Informed by Levin’s facebook page promotional materials and this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtJuVskXjc8, I queried Levin on what interested him in cultural musicology and what he meant by wanting to liberate musical forms from jargonistic and Euro-centric definitions of what constitutes ‘African music’ or ‘jazz’. My interview with him on 29 June 2015 in Cape Town caught him just before his travels to Grahamstown where, in 2009, he was chosen for the National Youth Jazz Band.

Born in Swaziland from a Jewish South African father in exile with the ANC, and a Swazi mother, Levin could settle back in South Africa only after the new dispensation gave permissions for his parents’ mixed marriage. His father has acted as a DG in government while his mother worked as a consultant with the Department of Education. Settled in Johannesburg, it was only when Levin attended the Sacred Heart College and sang in the school choir that he started his musical training. At age 14, he picked up guitar, watched how buskers on the street fingered their guitars, and sang along with them. Formal musical training continued at the Tswane University of Technology where he studied with the late Johnnie Fourie for 1 year, and other noted jazz musicians.

CM: You talk in the South African context about trying to salvage music from the “pre-colonial, colonial, and post colonial” periods that have marginalized black music. What do you mean by pre-colonial?

VL: That’s a very hard term to define as there’s no written account of what existed in pre colonial times. That’s not to say that the only way to access history is through the written word. History can be encoded in cultural artifacts – song and dance, written items. One of the early projects of the colonial period was to try to neutralize African culture, a concerted effort to vilify it as needing ‘civilizing’, to rid the natives of their traditional practices, which were central to dispersing history through oral means, etc. This effectively limited access to this history. At the end of the day, the pre colonial history is hard to define as we don’t have access to it, unless we can salvage something of the traditional. From the Euro centric standpoint, which looks to written history, there’s none of that in African precolonial life.

CM: When you go to the colonial period, what do you consider ‘colonial’ music?
VL: I consider that music basically from 1652 onwards , when the first settlers arrived and settled, up to 1994. Obviously, that’s a very broad category with a lot of different phases but for me, that is what the colonial moment is for me.

Vuma Levin &

Vuma Levin & Bernard van Rossum (sax) at SNC

CM: Something came out of that colonial period?
VL: Yes, basically what was key was the interaction between new colonial settlers and the people already living in southern Africa, or the indigenous peoples. This interaction took hold particularly during the time when King Shaka was defending and conquering lands or borders of expansion. With this increased interaction, between various ethnic groups within South Africa, you develop a trade in culture, sometimes imposed, like with the Christian missionaries. Sometimes it’s more organic and fluid. The key thing is that whether art forms are forced or organic interactions, they change, even artificially. Even in the 1980s you had your Winston Mankunku’s and Chris McGregor’s travelling with their music in Europe, so there was that exchange. And the effects from these exchanges are different at every stage of history.

CM: What about the present?
VL. Post-colonial? Imbedded in the term is the understanding that even though formal colonialism has ended, the power relations which colonialism inculcated in us are so very much in existence nowadays.

CM: Power, yes. There is now a majority power in this country. Do you think the cultural and musical art forms of that majority are coming alive?
VL: I think it’s hopeful, but I still think there’s a western hegemony on cultural production – a white western one. Through media and business and other institutions, the iconography, I guess, of colonialism remains intact. It’s the same in music as well. So I think there’s concerted effort, particularly by young music professionals in this country to try to break those boundaries. Like: Kyle Shepherd, Bokani Dyer, Thandi Ntuli, Marcus Wyatt,

CM: Talk more about Carlo Mombelli and your experience or influence with him. I don’t see Carlo as being terribly ‘indigenous’ although you have dedicated a composition to Carlo. How would you describe his influence on you?

VL: For me, Carlo was a very early influence. I listened to his music and was inspired at a young age. It’s important to realise that terms like ‘authentic’ and ‘indigenous’ are dangerous terms to use in South African context . The moment that a South African subject takes something from the outside world and uses it in a non-reactionary way to express themselves, it becomes a ‘South African’ thing. So English, and French, and Portugese – all these languages are African languages. They’ve been appropriated by people here and used as a way of articulating their sense of self, and I consider this the same way with music. I consider Carlo’s music as authentically South African as would be a Xhosa composer. They are both citizens of this country appropriating something from the outside and using that as a means of expressing what it means to be a South African for himself, and in an organic way.

CM: Carlo’s stay in Germany perhaps meant he absorbed other influences, but maybe his own infusion of African-ness in his music might not be seen by European listeners in quite the same way as he would have liked.
VL: It’s basically about demystifying Africans because from the European standpoint, there’s a mystery about what it means to be ‘African’.

CM: Which is what Kyle and others are trying to do. Which brings me to your role in trying to demystify this African-ness. This is an important part of your workshops here, to try to correct people’s gahgah about: “Oh, here’s our boy coming back home to his roots” type of response from people. We all are born somewhere, but this doesn’t mean we have to get stuck in our ‘roots’. I have your quote I’d like to clarify: ‘denigration of historical and contemporary South African music’…… What did you mean by this? Isn’t the world trying to bring back this older music of another time?
VL: Well, I think there is this effort to bring it back, but the way it is done is highly problematic. Since Edward Said wrote “Orientalism”, terms such as exoticism and primitivism have entered the cultural lexicon, and people are not sensitive to the fact that they are largely engaging in these practices when they try to empower African forms, basically. So the idea is: If you’re going to book an ‘African band’, already you may have a preconceived notion of what constitutes an African band. You know how to market that. And if anybody falls outside of that strongly preconceived notion, you’re less likely to market them. For instance, how do you market somebody like Bokani Dyer whose music draws from jazz pianist Robert Glasper who doesn’t play African art forms? There’s an alliance between capital and the colonially inherited notions of what constitutes ‘Africans’. It is only fair that those people who continue to engage in these traditional practices, and who have been marginalized in the past, be given space to do their thing.

CM: So ‘traditional’ doesn’t always mean ‘in the past’…?
VL: Traditional artists themselves are often a lot more nuanced with contemporary sounds and narratives than people think . They’re human beings so can carry messages…. It’s a bit de-humanizing to have this preconceived package of beliefs about who they are.

Levin concludes:
So this is an essential feature about what my project is about. These go hand in hand: nuancing African identity and empowering marginalized histories. It is a contradiction because on the one hand, you’re saying there’s no such thing as traditional African-ness, and on the other hand, there IS such a thing and we need to empower that. It’s a necessary contradiction to draw in.

CM: The contradiction helps to empower through debate by providing that debate. It requires a sense of history and social propriety and intelligent debate, doesn’t it?
VL: Exactly.

CM: You have on the one hand local South African influences with people who reside here, whatever the expansion of their music art form is. Some are moving on with their sound forms; others are still stuck with what they know best and in the past. Then you have the ‘diasporic’ influences. Who are these Diaspora you speak about?
VL: I think one definition of ‘Diaspora’ is a large body of people who move from one part of the globe to another. Diasporic musicians can include Africans who have left their African areas. This doesn’t only include musicians but the Africans carrying their intellectual diasporic traditions, like Chinua Achebe, Kofi Agawu (a Ghanaian musicologist). But I’m referring also to the music itself, especially in the age of globalization, there’s increased motion in music. It’s moving around, and again allied to capitalism, not knowing really where the music is coming from. When I was 13 years old, I listened to Radio Head and Massive Attack – that was my music foundation and the music I loved most. So this was diasporic music, which doesn’t only refer to Africans moving about.

CM: That’s an interesting concept of migration, of people migrating without being ‘migrants’. We all are migrating in our social, cultural, and intellectual forms because there’s a world of information out there. This is great. But it’s also overload. People are getting confused – about what they’re hearing, etc. And terms we use are not catching up with the informational overload we’re experiencing. If you have terminologies that are not catching up, then you get stuck with jargon which influences people’s psychology, and the informational ‘box’ effect. But this is just human nature, isn’t it?
VL: Indeed.

CM: How do you break through this? It’s interesting your European band is playing a type of sound you’re trying to cultivate.
VL: The musicians are craftsmen and creators in their own right. The music I compose has such a strong basis in western harmony, just to be publically clear. I consider myself to have been very well colonized in that regard. My ears are very oriented to western harmony and because we all speak in this western harmonic language it becomes possible to compose songs and interact on that front, particularly with that jazz tradition , from Parker and bebop to contemporary modern jazz up until now. Secondly, we have a shared harmonic language that comes out of the classical music tradition and has been elaborated upon by various jazz artists. Because we have these common points of reference, it makes it possible for us to engage in the conversation.

CM: Good point….common points of reference. Are you planning on returning to South Africa more permanently now?
VL: If you asked me this two years ago, when I was finishing my degrees, I would have said, yes, I’m coming back. But with professional obligations, and with things happening in Europe to my favour, I would say, yeah, I’ll come back at some other time. I would try to set up some trans-continental arrangements in the meantime.

CM: If you were to spend time in South Africa, what would you want to do here?
VL: One has to be realistic about establishing networks and business outlets. I would be very interested in working with local musicians. I would also love a job teaching at a University, and having private students. In Europe, I’ve been lucky with several gigs per month. The band, Aurelio Project, led by a Mozambiquan, has included me in their tours.

CM: Who influences you in your improvisations? Who do you look up?
VL: Carlo, Marcus, Africa Mkize, John Davis, Kevin Davidson, Massive Attacks, Debussy, Ravel and other classical music. The atonality of Schoenberg…..

&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&

Vuma Levin plays at the Grahamstown Youth Jazz Festival and also at the Fringe venues.  His quintet includes Bernard van Rossum (Tenor Sax, Spain), Lennart Altgenug (Piano, Germany), Marco Zenini (Bass, Italy) and Jeroen Batterink (Drums, The Netherlands).

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Another meet-up with Somi at SNC – a gig review by C Martin

Somi at Straight No Chaser on Wed, 6 May 2014

This pan-African singer, who proudly hails from Ugandan and Rwandan parentage, pleased too few listeners on Wednesday evening, 6 May, at one of Capetown’s premier jazz clubs, Straight No Chaser, on Beitankant Street. II first saw her at Johannesburg’s Joy of Jazz a few years ago, and was blown away!

Somi's latest Album

Somi’s latest Album

Her New York- based band of international artists shared her planetary space on the small stage as she swung through a repertoire of African- and Arab-influenced contemporary jazz songs. Her influences have recently accumulated from an 18 month study and research stay in Lagos, Nigeria, where she could compose songs that highlight the pop, soul, and jazz of that cosmopolitan African city and beyond. Her latest album, released last year, “The Lagos Music Solon”, speaks to that.

Somi is straight, elegant, and humble in her demeanor. On stage she breathes the African way, and swings her body in rhythm the African way. Her first piece was taken from singer/pianist Nina Simone. Somi shimmers with body emotion which exudes short rhythmic breaths, characteristic in African dance. I watched her guitarist who grooved as he sight-read the score. Nevertheless, he offered some splendid runs. Then her Japanese pianist took over, adding further excitement to Somi’s stage gyrations.

The electrifying drummer presented his steady taps in “I’m Still Your Girl” . Then, the bassist of Greek origin broke out with a southern Indian scat which fit the rhythm of the drums. His Tamil scat accompanied by his own bass added further electric energy which you don’t hear here in Cape Town! A third song, introduced with a drum solo, featured Somi singing in the African idiom as the band strummed out a reggie beat. The guitar wails its answer and talks with the singer. And more mesmerizing songs kept coming…..

As Somi thanked the crowd for their presence, she folded into a melodic Africa-south-of-the-Sahara –meets-north-Africa-Arabian twist and explained how her Ugandan and Rwandan ancestry gave rise to her breath scat, which she repeated in a drum duet. We were all spellbound with this ancestral sounding of presence and purpose – Proud to be African. In her last song of the evening, she displayed what seemed like a synopsis of the hour’s set: ziggy ziggy stage movements with her body, slinking sideways, then forward, then sideways again, her voice following the panic of guitars and drums making their crescendos before the solo piano finally takes us all away.

Among several notable positions held, as both an artist and scholar, Somi has been a TED Senior Fellow, and has performed at a major United Nations Memorial event. She has studied both African and Arab jazz traditions, and in 2015, serves as Artist-in-Residence at UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance and The Robert Rauschenberg Foundaton.

It is no wonder that Somi is completing a jazz opera about South African singer Miriam Makeba, her life and legacy. Somi performs again on Thursday, 7 May 2015 at the Straight No Chaser club at 8.30pm and 10pm. On 8 and 9 May, she appears at Johannesburg’s The Orbit jazz club. Not to be missed!! And if you can’t make those gigs, see her at www.somimusic.com.

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Contemplating with Lara Solnicki: a CD Review of her “Whose Shadows?” by C Martin

While listening to “Whose Shadow?”, I marvel at the wealth of lyrics, messages, and the clear vibrato pitch which singer and composer, Lara Solnicki, gives to her chosen songs. No wonder! She has married her love of poetry with music. Her classical operatic training as a Verdian soprano melds nicely with her verbal creative side which authors and re-produces an exciting array of lyrics definitely worthy of the listener’s ear. Toronto-born daughter of filmmaker/author parents, Solnicki released this self-produced second album in March 2014; it became #1 on Radio Canada’s jazz charts following its Montreal launch in December 2014.

LaraSolnicki_WhoseShadow_500px

Her book of poems and experimental prose, “Disassembled Stars” (Lyrical Myrical Press) was published in 2006, and her poems continue to be read in Canadian and international magazines. Perhaps it was her poetic improvisational tendency that led her down the contemporary jazz lane. Besides her private voice teaching Solnicki continues to play in jazz circuits within Canada and beyond, when time allows.

“Whose Shadow?” presents a splash of lyrics with a Jodi Mitchell feel. But it’s Solnicki’s wide vocal range and crisp diction that delivers a highly melodic and soothing musical experience. One warning: like the title suggests, the songs move through misty, sombre, and at times, gloomy soundscapes, but carried by her respectable timbre. It’s about shadows….

‘Sunset’ is a Kate Bush song of iridescence, remembering the day’s activities and praising its crimson-turned-rust end, as the sax seems to hail in this display of colour which frizzles as dusk prepares us to bed down.

Several octaves are reached on ‘Freedom Dance’ and ‘Jim the Dancer’. In the latter, John Johnson’s bass clarinet, in a thoughtful melancholy, steers this sultry melody as the Dancer follows suit, hitting some high notes and displaying the instrument’s equally wide range as does Solnicki’s voice. A jewel of a song. ‘La Flute Enchantee’, sung in French, swings into a fast bebop featuring a masterful piano and double bass duet, then a flute punctuation with bird-like replies. Solnicki’s vocals takes us mystically into nature’s nuances in this wonderful song, my favourite on the album.

‘Music for a While’ has a classical direction with an operatic pull, influenced by Ravel and Purcell, perhaps. In ‘A Timeless Place (The Peacocks)’, a Jimmy Rowles song, this is not an easy climb through intricately weaving tonal scales and pithy lyrics. At best, Solnicki shows she can dare!

And it’s with lyrics that Solnicki also excels, picking uneasy, scaly messages which can at best be humbly chewed. For instance, in ‘Shades of Scarlett Conquering’, a Joni Mitchell song, we hear the ‘deep complaint’ in her . ‘Mercy Street’, a Peter Gabriel song, offers another melancholy, considering the collaboration on lyrics by Norma Winstone , messages which I personally have difficulty understanding. (I guess I’m a Joni Mitchell fan.} For me, it is a sad song, with added mourning by flautist Johnson; yet sung by Solnicki with perfect emotion and restraint. Of all Gabriel’s other stellar songs, I wonder why Solnicki picked this one…..It is only for us to wonder……

The album concludes with ‘I’ll Remember April’ as we feel Solnicki’s breathy voice with soft vibrato and pleasantly gentle pitch of voice at high ranges. This is what makes this album very listenable, coupled with a playfulness of poetry improvising on sound. She story-tells through whispers. But it’s bassist George Koller, himself an award winner and producer of this album, who choreographs the songs so eloquently along with the singer. Together, with a stellar cast of Canadian musicians all known for their quality, they all made me smile, swoon, gloom a bit, and search for my own shadow……

The Band is composed of: Lara Solnicki – vocals; John Johnson- saxophones, bass clarinet, flute; Mark Kieswetter – piano, rhodes; George Koller – acoustic and electric bass; Ted Quinlan – guitar; Nick Frasier – drums; Lena Allemano – trumpet; Ernie Tollar – bansuri flute; Davide DiRenzo – percussion

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Ear Candy -A Review of Al Jarreau’s “My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke” by C. Martin

“I took my first voice lesson a month ago,” beamed the 75-year old multi-Grammy Award singer, Al Jarreau. “Yeah, I’m studying voice now! In the rush of things, I had picked up some bad habits in my singing”. Well, I wouldn’t know! This announcement during his press conference preceded his stage appearance the next evening at the recent Cape Town International Jazz Festival held end March 2015. He was also plugging his latest album, “My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke” which does just that – honours a musical dynasty of invited artists who, together, stamp their own soundprints on the song legacy left by the late Duke who passed on in 2013.

My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke

My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke

Read an My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke excellent interview with Jarreau by Smooth Views about this album’s evolution: http://smoothviews.com/WordPress/?p=1055  and about the signature which producer John Burk puts, as does fellow writer and bassist, Stanley Clarke, on the whole album.

Had the Duke lived to hear his 10 songs on the album, he might have called it ‘ear candy’. There are sweet, some sour, sassy and sarcastic, but always soulful renditions of Duke’s tunes from the artist heavyweights who joined Jarreau.

Although the first song on the album is not a Duke song, “My Old Friend” is appropriate as it commemorates Jarreau’s 50 long years of friendship with Duke. In fact, Jarreau was reminded by Burk that he (Jarreau) was probably the longest collaborator going back to Duke’s Los Angeles days performing in the early 1960’s. In “Churchyheart” (tribute by Duke and Jarreau to Miles Davis’s ‘ Backyard Ritual/Bitches Brew’), there’s a love between fellow collaborator, bassist Marcus Miller, and Jarreau, both who loved Miles, and Miles loved them. You can hear it in the muted trumpet. With lyrics by Jarreau, Miller, who normally is a string bassist, offers a rare bass clarinet duet, or what Jarreau considered marking “some new territories”. Collaborator Stanley Clarke knocked heads together with Jarreau to select the songs having close connections between Duke and Jarreau, such as the bossa/samba song, or “Somebossa” as Jarreau calls it, where George Albright’s melodic saxophone presents this ‘summer breezin’ swing. In “Sweet Baby”, Jarreau’s falsetto pitch comes through nicely, in keeping with the title, matching Lalah Hathaway’s slinky voice. Vocalist Jeffrey Osborne and Jarreau announce “Every Reason to Smile” with a funky pop, like:

livin’ in a one room shack, you know it’s good to look back,

I loved those times so well….that’s how I learned to sing…

 

George Duke with Al Jarreau

George Duke with Al Jarreau

An old classic with Duke on piano and Boney James on tenor saxophone, ‘Bring me Joy’ brings back romantic memories of this past song about another day. Duke’s cousin Dianne Reeves (another multi Grammy award winner) and Jarreau swing into another samba rumble, enhanced by Lenny Castro’s percussion, in ‘Brazilian Love Affair/ Up from the Sea It Rose and Ate Rio in One Swift Bite”’. Characteristically, the song moves into a funky rap scat Jarreau is so noted for. Dr. John rattles his ‘brain salad’ in the last song on this album, ‘You Touch My Brain’ as each instrument skilfully lays out its own phrases like a tossed salad.

As Jarreau said to me during our interviews: “We brought in alot of people to cover his music. We laughed so much doing that record. I thought: ‘George, I’m sorry, I’m having a good time.’” And joyful, it is! So isn’t Jarreau’s aging voice.

The album was released in 2014 by Concord Music Group.

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Episode #2 The Sweet Divinity of Life: Musically Smiling with Al Jarreau….

“Down South in Africa,” sings Al Jarreau. He explains: “where the little bougainvillea winds around the big jacaranda tree as they become one with us, sun, and nature.” This masterful singer emphasized, “And this is YOUR story, class”, as he waved his lyrics page at us journalists (who were given copies) during his press conference at the CTIJF a few weeks ago.

“I should have named my album ‘Jacaranda Bougainvillea’ rather than ‘All I Got’ after my visit to South Africa in 2001, when I saw this transformation taking place …. It excited my band and I to write this piece.” To Jarreau, it’s a “lavender dream, the envy of orchids, when it’s dressed in a pink and fuchsia twine”. He launched this song at the 2002 North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland which also had a ‘South African’ stage. See the lyrics at the end of this article.

Al Jarreau performing at CTIJF on 29 March 2015. Credits:  NetworxPR

Al Jarreau performing at CTIJF on 29 March 2015. Credits: NetworxPR

Listening to this beautiful song on YouTube, one becomes mesmerized with the sweet divinity Jarreau attaches to the smallest of beings. As we chatted in his hotel, I discovered a deeply spiritual and compassionate Al Jarreau that could defy his otherwise contorting body and face when masterfully delivering his stage performance.

CM: At your press conference, you handed out the lyrics of your ‘Jacaranda Bougainvillea’ song. Talk about that.
AJ: You know, I was hoping some journalist would ask me some questions about this song which I and my band wrote after our South African performances in 2001. For instance, there’s this verse: ‘Oh Mandela, that garden that you made is a vision of the prayer you must have been prayin’ every day.’ What did you mean there, Al? And I would have replied, “Way down South in Africa. Look at the jacaranda tree huggin’ the Bougainvillea.” That song is thick with message. It was a very important song about what you can export from your past experiences – the political transition out of separate-ness and towards one-ness. That’s more important than the friggin’ gold, or the DeBeers Mine. I should have shouted it out when I was at the conference table.

CM: You performed the song at the Festival, but I think it went beyond people’s heads at that huge stage with several thousand howling people!
AJ: Yes, the sound on the stage was not good for my repertoire this year. The stage needed more of a listening crowd. I think the song is too subtle, too. It needs more exposure.

Jarreau performing at CTIJF on 29 March 2015. Credits:  NetworxPR

Jarreau performing at CTIJF on 29 March 2015. Credits: NetworxPR

Jarreau is a Seer: His reflections about 2015 CapeTown, noted on his website blog, say, “Here there’s something more relaxed and comfortable but far beyond that is the friendly and joyous spirit of the people. And if you look closely you can see an infectious kind of joy and hopefulness of the mind and heart….” Even though he considered himself ‘late to the party’ of the 16th CTIJF this year, his first appearance, he is convinced: “these [Capetownians] were brown skin people just like me who have found something special…some joy and gratitude for life and breath at the moment and big expectations about the future.”

Well, while many Capetownians might dispute this rosy announcement by an enthusiastic outsider, Jarreau’s own evolving life story seems to also reflect a joyous continuum. But it hasn’t always been easy for him….

CM: You had mentioned how you have gotten off your addictions to attend to your health.
AJ: I had to get out of the Whiskey and Bourbon drinking. Now, when I’m close to a bar, there’s a horrible smell…from those alcohols! I drank and smoked a lot, but had to let them go for my general health. And boy, am I unhappy!! (Hah Hah!) So ask me if I’m doing better? NO!! (Hahahaha) I only quit five years ago and boy, am I bored!! Hahahah!

CM: Has your creativity been compromised at all?
AJ: The creativity continues with different stuff to consider. We’re part of this surviving thing. It’s called being-ness, it’s called life, and presence …. what we see and what we comment about out there in the universe and on our planet. My vision has cleared a bit more in that way and I’m moving towards this immortality, and feeling more strongly about immortality, and about who we are, and there’s no such thing as death, which is a misnomer. We just move on and we’re part of this continuing thing which gets better.

CM; Perhaps you’re talking about the ‘past life’, or re-incarnation…?
AJ:  Yes, yes. I don’t know much about that or studied the Hindu and Asian religions, but all those little influences coming into my life from time to time make sense to me. It becomes clearer to me that there is a ‘first cause’, a first something out of which everything came. And today our scientists and cosmologists are beginning to point at it. We talk about it as God. It doesn’t exclude God when cosmologists say ‘it began with a big bang’.

CM: Which leads me to a point: Is jazz as spiritual as it should be? Or is it going into another sexy, material, money issues, gain-what-you-can world?
AJ: That is the danger of all human activity, and jazz is part of it. Song and music writing used to have more soul in it, at a point where it was really connected to survival-ness. Like, early jazz musicians were very close to the soil, to the earth, to growing crops. Raking and picking crops for ‘survival-ness’. As we move away from that sort of society, where the work is done more by machines, we lose that connection to survival-ness. Music is successful because it is the spoiled brat of the arts. Dancers don’t do as well as musicians, never have and never will. Also, painters….and sculptures in the arts. Billions and billions of dollars are made on music and on what musicians have created. And why? Because music is real close to the heart beat. ‘Do don, do don, do don….’[mimicking a heartbeat]. You felt the beat before you even got here, in the wound, real close. And hearing the blood go ‘whisss whisss whisss’. We listened to those sounds before we got here. That’s got to be why music is so close to us and captures us immediately.
_+_+_+_+_++_+__+

Well, I’m going to ‘do don’ and ‘whisss’ myself away to listen to and review Jarreau’s latest album celebrating his old friend, George Duke, and craft my next Episode #3 for this blog. Happy lavender dreams to all! Here are the moving lyrics of ‘our story’:

“Jacaranda Bougainvillea”

Oh what a dream, Oh what a story.
Don’t have to weep, Come and enjoy a smile.
Opening scene is just like a doorway.
Here’s a story, in rhythm and rhyme.

There is a tree on the street and in the forest.
Lavender dream whispered a poet.
Bright potpourri. The envy of orchids,
When it’s dressed in a pink and fuchsia twine.
Jacaranda tree and the Bougainvillea vine.

Oh Mandela, that garden that you made,
Is a vision of the prayer, you must’ve been prayin’ everyday.
Sweet Azaleas, every color every kind.
And the first and the last are all divine.

There is a dream of the trees and of the flowers.
There is a season of peace at the borderline…
Where we’re redeemed and history will crown us.
Jacaranda tree and Bougainvillea vine.

Oh Mandela, would you say that it’s alright?
When the children play they always say, they say that we were like
Cinderella, in your garden there’s a shrine,
To the first and the last they’re all divine.

One and all, big and small, a common birth.
Each and every child for all his worth.
Take the one who’s always last and make him first.
Take these seeds. Seed the earth.

[OUTRO:]
Comin’ along,
Oh what a long way we have come.
Comin’ along,
Makin’ a home for everyone.
Comin’ along, way down South in Africa
Look at (Study) the Jacaranda tree huggin’ the Bougainvillea

[REPEAT OUTRO X4]

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Musically Smiling with Al Jarreau: conversations in Cape Town

Episode #1:   Humor, fun, dancing, message…… mornin’ Mr. Radio, mornin’ little cherios…..

I little dream came true when I was called up after Al Jarreau’s press conference to interview him one-on-one.  As the main headliner at the 16th CapeTown International Jazz Festival, 28-29 March 2015, this American wizard of voice and rhythm in the jazz, R&B, and pop genres blessed me with some 105 minutes of heart and soul talk. Here we go…..

Al Jarreau talks with Carol Martin (28 March 2015)

Al Jarreau talks with Carol Martin (28 March 2015)

CM:  You’re very African in your rhythms. Have you been to other African countries?

AJ:  I’m embarrassed to say, no!  But my ears are bigger than elephant’s….. I grew up listening to polkas, because the Polish settled in Milwaukee where I grew up.  My ears listened to the waltz, and delta blues.  At the age of 7 years, I would hear from our Milwaukee, Wisconsin home the late night polka tavern next door pumping at full force, since the area was historically populated by people from Poland and Germany, etc.  These songs and beats had a huge influence on me as a child and played in my head then.  I listened to church music, since my father was a minister in the church.  (He sings) “Go down Moses, way down in Egypt land, tell ole Pharoah, let ma people gooooo.”

“Yeh Yeh…..” (Al sings a tune with a West African beat, and with scatty lyrics to demonstrate an influence on his own ears and heart.)   You listen carefully and hear these African rhythms and messages which can also be heard in Cuban music…..and Brazilian music.    That’s why I’m interested in making music for others to hear. That’s what I did. I listened to and felt those sounds in that music because that’s the important mission I have in life, to make music for others to enjoy!   And maybe find a little Africa in my music, and a little Poland in my music!

CM:  I was just interviewing Basia who has the same influence from the Cuban and Brazilian music influences, but she’s never been there.

AJ: So you don’t have to be IN a country to hear the music.  But if your ears are really listening, and you’re listening with your heart, you get it!

CM:  Here in South Africa, the lyrics of songwriters are sometimes weak in talking about the social, political, and economic transformations out of the past.  Can we talk about your song lyrics?  Here, there’s always the struggle…..

AJ:  What do you mean by ‘struggle’?  …. the struggle to do lyrics or….the ‘great struggle’?

CM:  Yes,  the ‘great struggle’  – the struggle for ‘freedom’ which is a continuum….  But the lyrics by musicians, particularly jazz musicians, and song writers are weak in reflecting these issues.  Do you write your own lyrics?  And how can jazz musicians be encouraged to write their lyrics addressing these transformation issues?

AJ:  Yes, I write many of my own lyrics.  My answer I think is to find the people who are doing ‘it’, which means people who are writing about the times they live in.  Also, find a sense of humor in the music you write. As well as a sense of fun and dancing.  We tend to emphasise too much the latter, and too little about the art of survival – on our planet earth, and in our communities. How are we taking care of each other?  Some combination of these messages are important for me. So a lot of my songs are the ‘mornin’ tradition –

mornin’ Mr. Radio

mornin’ little cherios

mornin’ sister orio

did I tell you everything is fine

in my mind

in my mind

everything is fine.

how you think is how you are….

Find a way to think properly and you’ll be OK.

Now this involves finding a way of knowing we are OK. I don’t care how many mistakes we make on this planet.  I don’t care how much radiation destroys the planet.  We are OK.  We are immortal. From the rib of God, we DON’T DIE…..  We’re the greatest lesson in the world, ‘cause we don’t die…..

Stop mourning, and celebrate the ‘morning’ –

 ‘thank you father, thank you father….  Thank you for giving me LIFE, and eyes to witness, and a mind to understand that YOU are forever, dear Father, and I have come from you. Therefore, I have immortality and forever-ness in me because of you. I’ve just stopped here (on earth) to learn a few little things from you. ‘

We’re on loan….. and un-learning!!  Hah hah.

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The next chats go deeper……  Stay tuned!!  Jarreau is promoting his new album “My Old Friend-Celebrating George Duke” and it’s a whopper!

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Interview with multi-instrumentalist Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, performing at CTIJF

On Thursday, 26 March 2015, one day before the opening performances of the 16th annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival in Cape Town, I was privileged to have a short interview with Sipho Mabuse, nicknamed ‘Hotstix’, a SAMA Lifetime Achievement Award (2005) musician as well as an entertainer and businessman. A drummer at age 8, Sipho went on to learn and play on other percussion, wind, and brass instruments. This youthful 64 year old is passionate about reaching the wider young ears with his ‘music’. During his press conference at the Cape Sun Hotel, he was questioned predominately by eager students pursuing what makes artists tick. He insisted, “I don’t play jazz. Probably, I’m pretending to play jazz, but my music is quite basic and allows young people to interact with it.”

Sipho Hotstix Mabuse

“Try not to be something that you’re not,” he advises. “Be honest and focused.”

A youthful voice commended Hotstix for his energetic (albeit ‘elderly’) approach to life. “I get motivated and inspired by the audience, and I embrace an attitude of inspiration,” replies Hotstix.

“I’ve always believed that each generation has its own space and expression, so we must hope to be able to enter that space and advance with it. I listened to Beatenberg in Soweto– they are, like wow! We cannot cocoon ourselves to believe that only our generation had the ‘best’ music. We elders must appreciate this expansion of expression….”

Hotstix performs Friday, 27 March 2015, on the ‘Kippies’ stage of the CT International Jazz Festival.
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Sipho and I started our interview session with some history. I was working in newly independent Botswana in 1968 as a teacher trainer when I listened to a lot of South African music of the ‘townships’. Sipho said his new band was playing at the Gaberones Main Hall then. Maybe I was there!

We talked about how my jazz soul emerged while attending the world’s largest jazz festival back in the 1950s-60s (still operating today) at the Newport Jazz Festival in USA, as a teenager. “Yeh,” says Sipho, recognizing the familiar, “I was there, too. I saw Miles – he was in retirement for a while. I was working in New York, then.”

I told him I saw the greats, too – Mingus, Charlie Parker, Brubeck – because I grew up as a teenager just a ferry ride away from Newport in those glorious, jazzy days. We shared our histories.

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CM: Our concern with youth – There’s a desire to honour the legacy of South African elders and deceased artists and their contributions to the jazz world here. How do we encourage this honouring amongst the youth?

SM: Unfortunately, most jazz musos have operated within an insular framework. For instance, they try to play like Miles, and interact the way he did. Rather, we ask young people,” Show us what you can do.” Then we can interact with this and the whole ‘them/us’ impasse goes away. They begin to understand music in a particular way, and ‘we’ allow it.

Barney Rachebane’s grandson, Oscar, has great sax skills, and plays pop. I told Barney to allow Oscar to play kwaito if he wants to. Don’t turn him into a Charlie Parker yet, but allow him to listen. He will listen, but if you try to channel his thinking….My advice was not heeded and I think this young talent is now messed up because he wasn’t encouraged to hear and learn from those early maestros of modern jazz.

CM: Should improvisation be corrupted by pop music?

SM: Improvisation cannot be corrupted by pop music, because improvisation IS what it is. Let’s first ask ourselves, what is jazz, historically? What were people doing before they decided to improvise? It was a development within a pop environment, maybe not the same as perceived today. There has always been pop music happening in a certain era which people related to. If you listen to Charlie Parker, for instance, some of his music was dance music. What he found in dance was the jazz…. He allowed the improvisation to happen within that dance style and this was a way to expand his jazz.

Maybe, we’re missing that point. Did the guys create jazz out of nothing? It’s a feeling, from the soul. Improvisation wasn’t just created out of a vacuum. Jazz should not ‘scare’ youth. So Parker managed to make pop culture ‘jazzy’.

In Soweto, we have ‘Jazz Sessions’, I don’t know if you have something similar here in Cape Town. Coltrane – he has a song called, ‘Spiritual’. It’s a bouncy, poppish song, but he improvises. It is a very repetitive piece, and could be boring. But because he improvised on it, you don’t hear the monotony within the chord structure…….because it’s Coltrane. You take the name and his reputation and it’s no longer ‘pop’. it can survive…..

CM: Jazz comes out of a folk history, like in the USA, the African Americans sang their gospel folk music. Folk music is ethnic, expressing a society’s history and culture. In South Africa, with its many different ethnic groups having their own folk expressions, don’t you think there should be more jazz coming out of these groups? Coming from the Afrikaaners, Anglos, Africans, etc? Is this happening? Maybe folk is jazz.

SM: Educationally, we South Africans suffer from myopia. We don’t research on ourselves. We believe something else. What can we offer, we say? Mbaqanga music has a complex guitar… just like in jazz. There’s also the Maskandi of KZN. There are different styles we have not been able to tap into and create. And yet outside people say, wow! Courtney Pine was very avant garde in his improvised West African music. We shouldn’t look down on our African music which is jazz just because it doesn’t sound like American jazz.

Look what Jan Garbarek did in his Norway. He went to the mountains to discover and research the indigenous Sami music, and brought it to us.

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A Blog Supreme – All Jazz Radio – Wednesday March 04, 2015

All Jazz Radio Logo Face Book1A BLOG SUPREMEIt’s been over a week now as the fires continue to burn in the Cape Town’s mountains. The people of our beautiful city have come together to assist the fire fighters with iced drinks and other forms of energy giving sustenance. It has been the biggest fire to my recent knowledge. The 2002 fire was note as big and destructive. The big question remains, was it arson or nature doing her work. I speculate the it was arson due to the time and area where the fire started, which according to news reports was late at night close to a residential area, but we will have to wait for the official investigation to be concluded.

Having seen the destructive fires in Australia and the USA, which were huge, but I have never seen or experienced a wild fire of this devastating nature in Cape Town and environs in my lifetime. Whist I am aware the beautiful fynbos needs fire to regenerate, the horrendous death of animals, birds and reptiles was brought home to me in a photograph published on Facebook showing a tortoise frozen in an ashen pose head extended as if to find some fresh air, it reminded me of the frozen human statues of Pompeii. Quite chilling it was.

After the heat wave of yesterday, this morning has been somewhat cooler with some rain predicted, which I hope will become a reality. Shower your tears, weather gods, give the relieving embrace of precipitation to assist the brave men and women working so hard under very trying, harsh and difficult conditions.

My thoughts are with all who have been affected by the fires and my thanks all of the brave men and women, volunteers and professional, of all fire fighting services working long and hard to combat this dreadful fire.

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Today’s streaming broadcast schedule on All Jazz Radio;

WEDNESDAY

10:00 – 13:00 THE JAZZ RENDEZVOUS RADIO PINOTAGE & COFFEE STOKVEL CLUB

Compiled & produced by AJR Staff 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 LATIN PERSPECTIVE

Compiled, presented & produced by Tony Vasquez in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

(Afro-Cuban, Latin Jazz)

14:00 – 16:00 THE MIDWEEK JAZZ MELANGE

Compiled, presented & produced by Ndoxy Hadebe in Cape Town, SA

(Afro Jazz, Afro Soul, World Jazz)

16:00 – 18:00 JAZZ, BEYOND

Compiled, presented & produced by Brian Currin in Cape Town, SA

(Progressive, Contemporary and Avant Garde Jazz)

 

TUESDAYS SHOWS (Repeats)

18:00 – 19:00 THE JAZZ RENDEZVOUS RADIO PINOTAGE & COFFEE STOKVEL CLUB

Compiled & produced by AJR Staff in Cape Town, SA

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

19:00 – 19:15 LIVE LONDON JAZZ NEWS BLOG

(Latest jazz news from Europe with the influential weekly London Jazz News Blog editor Sebastian Scotney)

Weekly talk segment covering the European jazz scene from London, UK

19:15 – 22:00 THE JAZZ RENDEZVOUS RADIO PINOTAGE & COFFEE STOKVEL CLUB

Compiled & produced by AJR Staff in Cape Town, SA

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

22:00 – 24:00 MZANTZI (South) AFRICAN JAZZ

Compiled & produced by AJR Staff in Cape Town, SA

(100% South African Jazz recordings made up of any number of SAFRO musicians in the band from all corners of the global village)

24:00 – 02:00 THE CAPITAL JAZZ CLUB

Compiled, presented & produced by Jack Ojiambo in Nairobi, Kenya

(Eclectic mix of Acid. Funk, Progressive, Fusion Jazz)

 

MONDAYS SHOWS (Repeats)

02:00 – 05:00 THE JAZZ RENDEZVOUS RADIO PINOTAGE & COFFEE STOKVEL CLUB

Compiled & produced by AJR Staff 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 TAKE 5 & THEN SOME..

Compiled, presented & produced by Clifford Graham in Cape Town, SA

(Contemporary Smooth Fusion Funk & Soul Jazz)

08:00 – 10:00 JAZZ AROUND THE WORLD

Compiled, presented & produced by Wolfgang König in Berlin, Germany

(All genre styles of jazz from around the world)

 

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Tim Hauser, Co-Founder of the Manhattan Transfer, Dead at 72

Tim Hauser

Tim Hauser

Was only original member still with the famed vocal group

By Jeff Tamarkin

Tim Hauser, who co-founded the vocal quartet the Manhattan Transfer in 1969 and was its sole remaining original member, died Oct. 16. Details regarding the cause and place of death are not yet available, but Hauser’s passing was confirmed by the other members of the Manhattan Transfer—Alan Paul, Janis Siegel and Cheryl Bentyne—on the group’s Facebook page. That lineup had been undisturbed since 1978 when Bentyne replaced Laurel Massé, injured in a car accident. (Bentyne has been sidelined on occasion during the past few years as she’s undergone treatments for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.)

Schooled in classic jazz vocal harmony, swing and vocalese—they were often compared to Lambert, Hendricks and Ross in their early years—the group, named after a 1925 novel by John Dos Passos, was also immersed in ’50s doo-wop, bebop, pop, Latin and world music and other genres.

Tim Hauser, Erin Dickins, Marty Nelson, Gene Pistilli and Pat Rosali

Tim Hauser, Erin Dickins, Marty Nelson, Gene Pistilli and Pat Rosali

The original lineup—Hauser, Erin Dickins, Marty Nelson, Gene Pistilli and Pat Rosali—released its debut album, Jukin’, on Capitol Records in 1971. That lineup, which leaned as much toward the rocking good-time jug band music of the Lovin’ Spoonful as to jazz, disbanded the following year and Hauser grouped with Massé, Paul and Siegel.

That lineup signed with Atlantic Records and released the self-titled Manhattan Transfer album in 1975. Reaching back to 1940s swing but also to the girl group sound of the ’60s and to New Orleans R&B, the album included guest contributions from saxophonists David Sanborn and Zoot Sims, trumpeters Randy Brecker and Jon Faddis and other jazz luminaries of the day.

Manhattan Transfer

Manhattan Transfer

The group continued to record for Atlantic until the late 1980s, and although none of their albums rose higher than number 22 on the Billboard album chart (1981’s Mecca for Moderns), they did enjoy one Top 10 single in their cover of the Ad-Libs’ “Boy From New York City,” from the same album. That year the group won Grammys in both the jazz and pop music categories. They won a Grammy in the Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo or Group category the following year for their remake of the classic “Route 66.” Ultimately the Manhattan Transfer took home 10 Grammy awards in all.

The Manhattan Transfer was also a consistently popular concert draw and found a foothold on entertainment television.

After leaving Atlantic, the group signed with Columbia Records in 1991 and, in 2003, with Telarc. In 2009 they released The Chick Corea Songbook, a tribute to the keyboardist, on the Four Quarters label. The Manhattan Transfer was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998 and was named best vocal group in the JazzTimes readers poll on several occasions.

Born in Troy, N.Y., Dec. 12, 1941, Hauser grew up in towns on the New Jersey shore, and began his singing career in Asbury Park at age 15 with a doo-wop group called the Criterions that once performed for the legendary disc jockey Alan Freed. In college Hauser sang with other vocal outfits, including one folk aggregation that included future hitmaker Jim Croce. Hauser served in the Air Force beginning in 1964 and took jobs in advertising upon his discharge, before starting the Manhattan Transfer in 1969.

Hauser released one solo album, Love Stories, in 2007.

Tim Hauser solo albumHauser underwent spinal surgery in 2013 and was absent from the group’s performances for some time.

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All Jazz Radio – A Blog Supreme – FRIDAY 3rd October 2014

2014 ALL JAZZ RADIO VERY SMALL LOGOA BLOG SUPREMEI’ve  got to say, I maybe putting a kybosh on the weekend ahead, but it is another truly beautiful start to the day, glorious sunshine and cloudless sky, the Mother City of Cape Town shows her true colours again today.

The broadcast day starts with Jazz Rendezvous Radio, Pinotage & Coffee Stockvel Club on All Jazz Radio at 10am C.A.T with the usual mix of great new jazz cd’s, but we will also be chatting to wonderful Cape Town Jazz vocalist Emily Bruce VocalistEmily Bruce and will find out what she’s been up to and what we can look forward to from her over the coming months. At 1pm Central African Time the EuroJazz Frontier with London based host Peter Slavid presents a show during which he showcases some of the more creative British and European jazz available today. Rudy Nadler-Nir then gets behind the mic and will take one on an exciting musical journey starting at 2pm C.A.T. Join him for the his regular program, Latin Side.

Kolade Arogundade

Kolade Arogundade

Exciting time at 4pm today because its Friday Faaji one of the two new show that starts this weekend. Hosted by expat Nigerian professor at University of Cape Town, Kolade Arogundade. The show will be focused on the various jazz styling’s of Africa, and will showcase some musicians one may not yet have heard on radio stations in the global village, join Kolade for two hours of exciting discovery. If one missed the previous day’s programs our re-broadcast schedule kicks off from 6pm so one won’t miss a note of the music.

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October is Pork Month and today is Carmel Custard (Crème Caramel) Day

pork month celebrateDid you know pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world, accounting for about 38 percent of meat production worldwide, although consumption varies widely from place to place. Despite religious restrictions on the consumption of pork and the prominence of beef production in the West, pork consumption has been rising for thirty years, both in actual terms and in terms of meat-market share.

CREME CARAMEL

CREME CARAMEL

The Klutz in the Kitchen won’t be presenting a pork dish until Roast Pork Day later in the month so he’s finding the perfect recipe for a Crème Caramel to celebrate the day in sweet style, check the recipe on The Klutz in the Kitchen’s page on our website for a decedent Rooibos Crème Caramel & Toffee Apple treat.

October 3, 2014 is also Diversity Day & Yom Kippur

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

This week is National Walk Your Dog Week

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Tune Me WhatTune Me What – Caravan of Sound By Brett Lock and Leon Lazarus

Lloyd Ross

Lloyd Ross

There was an urban legend going around in the South African musical fraternity that Lloyd Ross, the founder of Shifty records, had managed to fund his alternative record label with the money he earned writing the theme music to the popular Afrikaans TV drama series ‘Vyfster’.

Koos KIombuis

Koos KIombuis

It’s a great story, but alas not entirely true, as he tells Koos Kombuis in an interview for the SA edition of Rolling Stone magazine:

I did indeed write ‘Vyfster’. But no, I had to make a helluva lot more money than that to lose while I recorded and released Shifty records part-time. I worked in the film industry for that money. And later the Swedes gave enough money so that I could lose it for a couple of years full-time.

Regardless, the story of Shifty Records is fascinating and as Tune Me What joins other fans of the label in celebrating ‘Shifty September’ – marking 30 years since the label was founded – we end our trilogy of Shifty-themed shows joined in our ‘virtual studio’ by Lloyd Ross himself.

The conversation is punctuated with some of the key records from Shifty’s

Sankomota

Sankomota

history, from their first LP by Sankomota to their final releases with Van der Want/Letcher.

There’s a huge variety for such a small label too; we hear the a cappella singing of the FOSATU Worker’s Choir to the electronic experiment of the Kalahari Surfers.

Most of all, we hear from Lloyd Ross as he talks about Shifty’s mission to challenge the old regime, their battle with censorship, their role in the new South Africa and why eventually they had to call it a day, leaving the rich musical legacy we’re celebrating 30 years later.

Also mentioned in the programme is Michael Drewett’s documentary about Roger Lucey, which is well worth watching. Also, read Roger’s book!

Tune Me What? is a podcast and blog by Brett Lock and Leon Lazarus that highlights South African music and artists at home and around the world. For more information, visit tunemewhat.com or facebook.com/TuneMeWhat.

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Joe Ready to Serve ‘Gold’ At Jazz Safari By Felix Eupal

Joe Thomas

Joe Thomas

It is regarded as the biggest jazz concert in the country. It happens once every year and has been doing so since 2008.

It is the Nile Gold Jazz Safari and this year’s edition will be going down this Friday evening at Serena hotel’s Victoria hall. Last year, it was Keith Sweat rocking the stage and this year it is American R&B singer Joe Thomas – popularly known as Joe – and the Tizer band going on stage. Joe, alongside the band, flew in on Tuesday evening and on Wednesday the organizers held a press briefing to share their thoughts about the concert.

Going by the lineup and their promise of a ‘gold’ concert that will awe Kampala, one is left with just one option; dress up and wait to be blown away. Joe held a concert in Kampala way back in 2008 and the seven-time Grammy award-nominated singer, with a new album up his sleeve, says: “I will be doing a bit of everything from the old favourites like ‘Don’t Wanna Be A Player'”.

Another performer will be Norman Brown, an award-winning guitarist in the best pop instrumental category. Starting his guitar playing career at age eight, Brown told The Observer, “I will be doing some covers, but mostly I want the fans to have the best; so, most focus will be on the originals.”

Then there is the Tizer comprised of five people: Lao Tizer, Steve Nieves, Raul Pineda, Chieli Minnuci and Andre Manga. They have performed at Java Jazz festival in Jakarta, Joy Jazz Festival in Johannesburg, Dubai Jazz festival, and Barbados Jazz festival, among others.

Silk Events are in charge of the production and have promised to outdo themselves. The artistes had a music test and rehearsal session yesterday to ensure there would be no sound glitches. This year’s concert campaign was dubbed ‘Crack the Code’ in which people had the chance to open a safe once they bought Nile Gold from selected outlets.

Twenty-one lucky people won tickets to the show plus the chance to meet the artistes up close at the ‘Meet and Greet’, invite-only, party that was hosted at Guvnor. Just like last year, part of the proceeds will go towards supporting the cancer ward at Nsambya hospital. So, it isn’t just about music, but also partying for a good cause.

Tickets have been going for Shs 180,000, and sorry for those who haven’t got theirs as yet; they are already sold out.

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Seun Kuti At Dimajazz 2014 – Anthem for Africa

Seun Kuti

Seun Kuti

Constantine, Algeria — Nigerian singer and saxophonist Seun Kuti gave Thursday, in Constantine (431-km east of Algiers), a concert, an anthem for Africa and its youth, as part of the International Jazz Festival.

Son of famous musician Fela Kuti, founder of afrobeat music, Seun took the audience on a trip to Lagos, with African percussion sounds and his performance of songs from his latest album “Long Way to Beginning.”

Seun Kuti, conducting the group Egypt 80, created by his father, played saxophone before signing “Black women,” a song that praises African beauty and deals with the return to the roots.

He also singed “Higher Consciousness,” which contains messages to the young calling them to “reinvent” Africa.

Perpetuating Afrobeat tradition, the singer performs “Ohun Aiye,” a song that tackles Africa and its ills, urging for change.

Speaking at the end of the show, Seun stressed that for him, politics and music “are one and the same.”

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All Jazz Radio Blog – Wednesday 19th August, 2014

2014 ALL JAZZ RADIO VERY SMALL LOGO

The problems just continue, I am in the process of changing Internet service providers after close to 20 years with M-Web, the past two months have offered up serious problems with the upgrades, line speeds and lack of regard for customers and customer service which has led to this decision. M-Webs customer service standards have dropped badly, and become totally become untenable. I can no longer support or recommend their services at all. Please note that should you have any on my iafrica.com email addresses can them and use info@alljazzradio.co.za in future as of today. Have you experienced problems with M-Web then please let me know.

Klutz in the Kitchen - Guitar3It a true winters day in the Mother City again today, but fear not the Klutz in the Kitchen has found a lekkerlicious recipe of an Easy Chicken Pie for today’s dinner with all details to be found on the AJR Website a wee bit later.

 

Todd Gordon

Todd Gordon

2012  Jazz Rendezvous Logo topleftTomorrow the day starts off at 10am C.A.T. with Jazz Rendezvous and includes a whole heap of new album releases, after that the Suave and debonair vocalist Todd Gordon from Edinburgh, Scotland presents his popular vocal jazz show, Todd’s Turntable from 1pm Central African Time which will feature some of the finest jazz vocalist from the global village.

Jazz-E Logo RecordIf it’s Thursday, then it must be Jazz-E time from 2 to 4pm C.A.T. on All Jazz Radio, do join the effervescent, huh? Etienne Shardlow for his award winning 100% South African Jazz Show, The Jazz-E. er, um just been corrected he’s not yet won an award, so with the in view we have nominated him for the Golden Toenail Clipping Award, watch this space for news of his escapades.

Brian Currin

Brian Currin

The big man is then in with Vagabond Blues at 4pm C.A.T. with another big bag full of Blues, join Brian Currin until 6pm, whereafter he heads off into the sunset to corral and catch a roaming hot dawg and a beer at his favourite dawg joint. Now you know what’s coming up on All Jazz Radio so there is no excuse not to choon via www.alljazzradio.co.za Have fun tonight and enjoy your time in the kitchen listening to the best jazz radio station streaming out of Africa today.

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All Jazz Radio Blog Sunday June 13th 2014

So I dragged myself, kicking and screaming, off to Straight No Chaser last night. J Only kidding it was with great anticipation and joy that I took myself off to Straight No Chaser last night to witness the launch of the debut CD, Jubilee Jam by the Claude Cozens Trio. Just having listened to a few tracks from the album when I had Claude in the studio a couple of days before the launch night. With this in mind, I trotted along to the venue with an open mind to hear all the music from the album performed live. The Trio made up of Claude Cozens, leading from behind his drum kit with Benjamin Jephta plucking the bass strings and Kyle Shepherd tinkling the ivories and pounding the keyboards.

 

What a treat to have these musicians performing the compositions of Claude’s, all beautifully written and arranged, and as Claude’s musical story unfolded the subtleties and nuances of each piece came though to the willing ears of the audience. Each of the musicians contributed their individuality and personality, which further to enhanced Claude’s musical story. I was totally blown away by the maturity of Claude’s music and once again showed the depth of jazz talent in Cape Town. The evening was to my mind was a resounding and triumphant successful album launch. Go get a copy soonest one won’t be sorry.

 

Sadly it’s turned out to be an awful day in the Mother City, overcast, but not too chilly, and some rain expected later so its an indoors day with some great comfort food to be cooked. The Klutz in the Kitchen is frantically searching for the recipe of the day, which will be posted on the All Jazz Radio Website, for one the check out.

 

There is an interesting Eclectic Mix of music on today’s musical menu, tune in and have a listen to an uninterrupted music experience on the first choice of radio listening today, which is naturally All Jazz Radio. All of the music featured today are from the many newly released albums that have crossed our music managers desk. I will post the Eclectic Mix playlist this evening for all to see.

 

The Standard Bank Jazz festival in Grahamstown is now over for another year and what a triumph it was, the feedback I’ve been hearing is so positive that Of can’t wait to see what next years festival brings.

 

The Standard Bank Joy Of Jazz is still to come in September and that is something I can’t wait for. The line up is totally enticing and I would encourage one and all the make bookings right away so as to avoid disappointment.

 

I invite you to subscribe to our website to keep updated of all that is happening at All Jazz Radio and ask that you also join our Facebook Group, All Jazz Radio – Cape Town, ZA too. Do remember to tell and encourage Friends, Family and acquaintances to listen the first and finest, Jazz, Blues, Latin and World Jazz online radio station streaming all day and every day from the Jazz Capital of Africa, and the most beautiful city in the world, Cape Town.

 

Enjoy the music

Eric

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All Jazz Radio Blog Saturday June 12, 2014

All Jazz Radio

All Jazz Radio

I guess when you love doing something, its never too tedious to do, neh, so let me tell you what’s going down on All Jazz Radio on this rather balmy but lovely morning the Mother City. There’s lots of exciting new music and other stuff to come through out our streaming day, today.

 

I went to a venue, Plebs Live Acoustic Music, Comedy & Craft Beer in Mowbray which I’d not been to before last evening for what was billed as a curry taste off where 7 various curry dishes were presented, Lamb, Chicken Thai Chicken, Beef, Fish and Bobotie and served with rice and all cooked by home cooks. Best of all was the cost at R25 for all six which were served in bowls and enough for the three of us old friend who I hadn’t seen for yonks, with Alison, Barry and I sharing the table and quaffing the Belgium style craft ale, which wasn’t too bad at all. The evenings music was performed by a number acoustic folk musicians some of which were very good, some not so good and some who were real prima donna’s, sulked and did not perform because they did not bring all the needed equipment with them, nuff said. The place could do with a real clean up, décor wise, just little too drab, however it’s not run as a restaurant, though it could be as it is the place the ale is brewed. All in all a very lekker evening catching up with old friends, enjoying the music, mixing and meeting with great like minded peeps.


 

Straight No Chaser

Straight No Chaser

At Straight No Chaser in Cape Town tonight there is the launch of drummer Claude Cozens’ debut album, which I’m looking forward to. The album titles Jubilee Jazz feature the mercurial Kyle Shepherd, who recently released his new album in Grahamstown, on Piano and Keys, Benjamin Jephta playing bass, I do believe that Benjamin is putting the finishing touches to his sophomore album, something I’m looking forward to immensely.


The broadcast day at All Jazz Radio kicks off with The No Name Brand Show during which will be feature a whole heap of new album releases from numerous musicians I have never heard before that have come into the radio stations library. Here are some of the names one can expect today, starting with Terry Marshal, Joe Coughlin, and Dave Chamberlain’s Bag Of Bones. Sara De Ville, Eric van Aro, Claude Cozens, Donna Singer, The Stockton Helbing Quartet, The Ault Sisters, and Joshua Redman finishes off the first hour of todays show.

The following hour kicks off with Peter Lerner, Andrew Hadro, Iain Mathews with Egbert Derix, Vincent Lyn, Lex Futshane, David Kain, Christine Vainderlis, Mark Meadows, Dan Shout, Sarah Gardner rounds out the second hour of our show. Please remember to subscribe to out website at www.alljazzradio.co.za if not yet done. Please direct all family and friends to do so as well.

The third hour of The No Name Brand show with Moi, Eric Alan starts with Mary Ann Anderson the moves on with Jason Paul Curtis, Titilayo Adedokun, Bryon Tosoff, Sam Hankins, Barbara Ween, Mindi Abair, Charlie Apicella + Iron City, Brenda Russell, Lenny Picket with The UMO Jazz Orchestra, Restless Natives, The Chris McDonald Orchestra, Lisa Casalino, Andy Williams with Studio Rio, yes that Andy Williams, surprised, eh, And Nia Simone closes out the hour. Enjoying the music so far, that’s not all there is so much more to come, stay with All Jazz Radio all day, everyday.

The final hour of The No name Brand Shoe starts with Singer Kate Ross, the we’ll hear Jeff Colella, Sharon Marie Cline, Ken Berman, The Klbas Kescker Ensemble, Jimmy Cobb, Diane Shuur, The Manhattan School of Music Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra, The Bill Coon, Jodi Proznick Miles Black Trilogy Rick Braun and then Guitarist Armik bring the curtain down on today’s No Name Brand Show’ I hope you will enjoyed our four hour of great music and will have discovered some new jazz musicians to add to the music collection soon.


Yaacov Harari and Tali his new bride

Yaacov Harari and Tali his new bride

Still to come today on All Jazz Radio, our man in the sadly missile strewn Tel Aviv, Yaacov Harari, who’s Cooking Jazz offers and eclectic mix of jazz from talented Israeli jazz musicians and a bit of other stuff thrown in the pot to keep it interesting.

 

 

 


James Kibby at workAfter that it’s the man Kibby, Acid Robot, you know the one I mean, yep he’s back with his show the Kibby Factor. James will showcase a very interesting array of jazz style and goes way beyond each week and always I’m surprised, pleasantly so by what he puts together.


There you go that’s what’s happening on your first choice of radio listening pleasure today before our repeat programming kick in so one will be able to catch up with what one may have missed, see stay with All Jazz Radio and one will never miss a note of the music. Have a goody and enjoy what the day brings.

Ta

EricEric Alan with Mic

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