News and media

Standard Bank Joy of Jazz moves to a new venue and new date
12-Feb-2014

Two Grammy Award winning artists are part of the stellar line-up for the 2014 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz which sees the country's premiere jazz festival move to a new venue and a new date.

The new-look 2014 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz will take place this year, and for the next five years, at the Sandton Convention Centre and on a new date - from September 25 to 27.  The new move allows the festival to continue its spectacular growth and also means that, for the first time, audiences will be able to buy a full festival pass to the three main stages - Dinaledi, Conga and Mbira - in line with jazz festivals around the globe.

A Collaboration of Nations at the Standard Bank Jazz Festival
27-Jan-2014

There are very few musical platforms that draw fourteen different nations together with a single vision. The Standard Bank Jazz Festival (SBJF) in Grahamstown is one of them. The only agenda of this collaboration of nations is to celebrate the globally-shared delight of making music, and to learn from one another.

Norway, France, USA, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, Mozambique, Britain, Slovakia, Australia, Switzerland, Israel and South Africa are all represented on this year's SBJF programme.

That's why they call it Joy of Jazz
16-Sep-2013

Jazzaholic by Don Albert: The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz has come and gone, which means I can get some sleep. There can be no doubt that the most gooseflesh moment of all the artists I saw came from Eddie Daniels. When I did my telephonic interview with him in April this year, I told him he had a hit recording in South Africa and that if he didn't play "Clara's Heart" there would be chaos. He said something to the effect, that the recording uses electronic instruments, the quartet he was coming with was an acoustic one etc., etc. I told him that at worst he should play it solo. He ended the interview by saying "To the South African audience: If they're not happy with 'Clara's Heart' because I don't play it, I'm gonna give them Eddie's Heart." Well we got both. The moment Roger Kellaway started the intro the crowd erupted and about a thousand voices joined in and sang or hummed the melody with the quartet. It was spontaneous and over whelming. Daniels was king and could do nothing wrong. Oddly "Creole Love Call" possibly got the second biggest applause. Filling out the fire-some foursome was the ever tasty drumming of Joe LaBarbera and the solid bass playing of John Bellzaguy. The 2013 edition of the giant jazzfest was star studded with the indomitable Abdullah Ibrahim given the honour to open the event. Ibrahim is a wonderful raconteur but this night he left it all to the music, and never even mentioned the musicians in the band. Starting out with solo piano renditions of a selection of his compositions. Then came a few oldies and some, to me, newer works played by his band. There seemed to be a kind of sombreness over the concert as Ibrahim, in a subtle manner recalled Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk in the arrangements, as well as a bluesy feel and a nod to Gospel music, even "Blues For A Hip King" seemed to have a deeper feeling than before. I found this to be a very serious and reflective Abdullah Ibrahim. Pepping things up pianist/composer Amina Figarova and her group played a sizzling set. Her compositions are different to the norm, which makes it interesting and everyone played well sparked by a hot rhythm section. Her husband, flautist Bart Platteau, and tenorman Wayne Escoffery were outstanding, the latter especially on the Latinish "Leila" when he laid it all out on the line. At times one might think Figarova is tinkling, but she isn't. If you listen closely she is producing some wonderful and inventive long lines. Trumpeter Terence Blanchard played another good set of post hard bop and beyond. Obviously the standard was high, but two musicians even moved it up a notch, guest guitarist Lionel Loueke and possibly the most inventive drummer of the festival Kendrick Scott. As an aside Loueke - who is a major name today - was in Johannesburg in 2001 with South African bassist Gary Levitt and drummer Michael Prowaznick, all from the Berklee College of Music. On a CD by the trio there is a track with Loueke's arrangement of "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika". The biggest let down on opening night was the sound of the bassists. It was muddy with a feedback that made every note reverberate into the next making it one big blur and overbearing. I'm glad to say the next night was much better. Japanese pianist Tsuyoshi Yamamoto played a nice easy to listen to set that included "Cheek To Cheek" to a Blues and a swinging version of "Misty". To Bassline I say get rid of the horrible smoke machine. It maybe cool for some other kind of music, but not for jazz. Tia Fuller blew a set that transcended her from a fusion player into the realms of the jazz world. She played some wild "out" stuff, sang a soul version of "Body and Soul", had a super band comprising Shamie Royston a very competent and thinking pianist, Mimi Jones a bassist most adept at either playing rhythm or digging into to the solo spotlight while drummer Rudy Royston was beyond being good. His crisp, yet never too loud playing always seemed to add little things supporting the soloists. To me he is a very impressive drummer I hope to hear much more from in the future. To sum up I think Tia Fuller must be the Serena Williams of the saxophone. Rene Marie sung "What A Difference A Day Made" and I thought what a difference a sound engineer would make, the piano was hardly audible. From what I heard Marie sang beautifully but it was mostly a night club set, rather than a jazzfest one. Lenore Raphael settled into an Oscar Peterson mould with a set that included "Jordu", "You Don't Know What Love Is" and "Blues For O.P." At one stage the electricity went off including the lights but she continued in the dark and then said "Now I know what George Shearing went through." Most times I do not have the opportunity to sit through a full set otherwise I would only see about half of the groups I cover. Such a position happened when I went to hear Adam Glasser. I missed most of the set, but I did hear McKenzie sing some African R&B versions of "I'm Old Fashioned" and "Lesson No.1". The band sounded good and Glasser's playing is always fresh and exciting. Carmen Lundy gave everything she had to the audience. The South African flag was held high as trumpeter Lwanda Gogwana blew some bebop with New Orleans saxman Donald Harrison. I ended with a little red beans and rice from New Orleans trumpeter James Andrews aka the Satchmo of the Ghetto. He had the audience dancing and joining in the fun. All in all a jazzfest with something for everyone. You can't see it all, so you have to make up your own jazz festival out of what's on offer, and as I said there's an abundance of styles to choose from played by the best in the world of jazz. That's why they call it Joy of Jazz. Don Albert is a saxophonist and jazz journalist. He spent 12 years with The Star Newspaper on the Tonight! section writing about jazz. Currently he writes jazz CD and book reviews for Financial Mail and is the South African Correspondent for Downbeat (USA) and Jazz Journal International (UK). He has presented radio programmes on jazz and served awards.as judge at prestigious competitions. He has also won numerous awards.

Don Albert
08/28/2013 16:21:29


National Arts Festival 2013
16-Apr-2013

On the eve of the National Arts Festival's 40th anniversary, the festival programme continues to push boundaries, and presents a thought-provoking line-up in Grahamstown, from the 27 June to 7 July 2013.

As always, the backbone of the main programme is comprised of the work of the Standard Bank Young Artists.  The first ever young artist for performance art, Anthea Moys, presents a series of contests entitled Anthea Moys vs the City of Grahamstown. Young artist for Dance Fana Tshabalala's engagement with cleansing ceremonies is explored in his new work titled Indumba.Young artists for theatre (Prince Lamla) and visual arts (Mary Sibande), use historical incidents as the points of departure for their offerings -Asinamali and The purple shall govern, respectively; with SBYA for musicRunette Bothapaying tribute to three centuries of composition in her recital, and SBYA for jazz Shane Cooper pushing the envelope with his compositions and collaborations.

Big Names and Big Bands for Grahamstown Jazz Festival
16-Apr-2013

The Standard Bank Jazz Festival, Grahamstown 2013 incorporates a variety of disciplines into their programme. The Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival takes place alongside a diverse programme that features Mainstream, Blues / Funk / World Music, Afro-Jazz, Modern Jazz and Youth.

Mainstream performances are headlined by special guest from the Juilliard school of music in New York, renowned trombonist and shells specialist Steve Turre. He adds zest to the Awesome Big Band, and his solo show is supported by a strong line-up compromising Marcus Wyatt (Trumpet), Bokani Dyer (piano), Hein van de Geyn (bass) and Kevin Gibson (drums).

Standard Bank Young Artists gearing up for Grahamstown
16-Apr-2013

The 2013 Standard Bank Young Artist Award (SBYAA) winners are hard at work in preparing to make the most of their chance to showcase new work at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, 27 June to 7 July, this year.

Prince Lamla, Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre, is busy pulling together the logistics details for staging "another thought-provoking classic". A proponent of 'poor man's theatre' which does not rely on vast theatrical devices, Lamla believes in focussing on the basics as the means to tell the story, but comments that "the Festival stage is a big one", and that he looks forward to producing work in this context. Lamla's production   Asinamali marks the debut of the Soweto Theatre as an associate producer on the festival's main stage. His production at the festival will explore pressing questions in the South African context.

Top Artists Headline Standard Bank Joy of Jazz
09-May-2012

9 May 2012, Johannesburg - The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz once again reinforces its status as this country's premier jazz festival thanks to a stellar line up of international and local giants on the jazz scene.

Appearing in Newtown, Johannesburg, from August 23 to 25 headline acts include Grammy-Award winner Kurt Elling who has been hailed as the jazz male vocalist of his generation; trombone master Wycliffe Gordon; Grammy-winning guitarist Earl Klugh as well as an appearance by the world famous Duke Ellington Orchestra.

Award-winning artists for Festival Arena
04-Apr-2012

This year's National Arts Festival Arena programme will feature new productions presented by winners of the 2011 Standard Bank Ovation Awards, as well as two award-winning productions invited from World Fringe Alliance member festivals. The 38th National Arts Festival runs from 28 June to 8 July in Grahamstown this year.

From the Perth Fringe World Festival and with support from the Australian High Commission, Hope is the Saddest, devised and directed by Jeffrey Jay Fowler is a bittersweet story of falling in love, bicycles, death and Dolly Parton. Hope is a childlike, eternally optimistic young woman who takes all her life lessons from Dolly Parton's lyrics and is not afraid to go to extreme measures when fate makes true love land/collapse at her feet.

Spoilt for Choice at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown
03-Apr-2012

The National Arts Festival will present the biggest Fringe offering in its 38 year history, this year. In line with the spirit of 'open access' embodied by the Festival, 390 Fringe productions are expected to hit the boards during this year's 11 Days of Amaz!ng.

This 20% increase in the number of applications has meant that the Festival has had to source new venues in a city already bursting at the seams, but the Albany Bowling Club, Oatlands School and St Aidan's Chapel will no doubt fast become an integral part of the Festival landscape, and artists are increasingly making use of unusual and site-specific spaces. 

Mix of Musical Magic at the National Arts Festival
03-Apr-2012

Mzansi stars and international guests make for a fabulous musical mix at the 38th National Arts Festival, which runs from 28 June to 8 July in Grahamstown this year.

2012 Standard Bank Young Artist for Music, Soprano Kelebogile Boikanyo's rise in the South African opera world has been nothing short of remarkable. She celebrates her Award with a vocal recital, in which she performs with Thembisile Twala (Soprano) and Abraham Paulus Ferreira (Pianist), showing off her vocal versatility with a repertoire that ranges from Mozart and Donizetti, to Bizet and Offenbach, to Gershwin and Khumalo. Boikanyo also features, with outstanding marimba player Magda de Vries, in the annual Gala Concert conducted by Richard Cock.

Grooving In Grahamstown at the Standard Bank Jazz Festival
02-Apr-2012

This year, the Standard Bank Jazz Festival programme, taking place alongside the 38th National Arts Festival (from 28 June to 8 July in Grahamstown), is developed around six distinct genres of Jazz. The themes are Youth, World Music / Gospel, Cross-over Jazz, Afro-Jazz, Mainstream Jazz and Modern Jazz.

The Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival (SBNYJF) celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2012 with a suitably powerful line-up of musicians and teachers, gathered to perform for the audiences of the National Arts Festival, but also to inspire the 350 young South African jazz players gathered in Grahamstown - our national jazz future. The Festival celebrates two decades of jazz development with a blow-out performance of some of those who have been teaching and performing at the NYJF, putting together some of Europe's leading performers with young South African talent in the Youth genre.

Sexy sounds at the 2012 Standard Bank Jazz Festival, Grahamstown
31-Mar-2012

The Standard Bank Jazz Festival takes place alongside the annual National Arts Festival, held from 28 June to 8 July 2012 in Grahamstown. This year, the programme is developed around six distinct Jazz genres - Youth, World Music/Gospel, Cross-over, Mainstream, Modern and Afro-Jazz.

Local stars lead from the front, with legendary South African musicians Mango Groove, Sibongile Khumalo, our own "King of R&B" Loyiso Bala and Afrikaans rapper Jitsvinger all making much-anticipated appearances in Grahamstown's various Jazz venues.  

Arts Feast at National Arts Festival 2012
31-Mar-2012

The National Arts Festival is serving up a massive 'Banquet of the Arts' for its 38th edition, which runs from 28 June to 8 July in Grahamstown this year.

Thirty two tons of additional equipment will be brought into Grahamstown to help transform every corner of the city into a performance space, with over 1000 lights to be rigged in an unprecedented 59 venues. With over 80 productions on the Main Programme, 8 on the Arena and a record 390 shows on the Fringe, the programme will continue to delight the nearly national, continental and international visitors that make this annual arts pilgrimage. Last year the Festival reported attendance of just over 200 000 at its various events, crammed into 34km2 of space in Grahamstown.

A Season for Everyone in Grahamstown
31-Mar-2012

The 38th National Arts Festival runs from 28 June to 8 July in Grahamstown this year. Within the broader structures of a fabulous programme, a number of mini-festivals catering for specialized tastes or celebrating deeper partnerships are taking root.

Two exciting new initiatives to look out for this year are a season of solo plays within the Main theatre programme, and the launch of a French/South African season. 

International flair, local talent and unbridled passion announced for the National Arts Festival stage
31-Mar-2012

The 38th National Arts Festival in Grahamstown will once again showcase the best in South African and international art across every genre from 28 June to 8 July this year.

The Main programme's core is the cutting edge work of the 2012 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winners who continue to challenge and explore new directions as they establish their artistic voices. The winners will be presenting a varied and exciting programme of work in drama, dance, music, jazz and visual art.

Best Of Many Worlds On 2012 National Arts Festival Main Theatre Stage
31-Mar-2012

The 2012 Main Theatre programme boasts two world premieres and a list of world-class productions at the 38th National Arts Festival, which runs from 28 June to 8 July in Grahamstown this year.

Athol Fugard celebrates his 80th birthday in June, and the National Arts Festival joins in celebrating the life and work of this iconic playwright by presenting, with  the Fugard Theatre and Mannie Manim productions, the world premiere of his newest play, The Blue Iris. A love story of tender and personal revelations with layers of emotional exchange, this glimpse at ghosts of the past reflects true Fugard brilliance. Directed by Janice Honeyman, it promises not to disappoint.

Standard Bank Jazz Festival, Grahamstown
30-Jun-2011

30 June - 9 July 2011 (incorporating the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival)

Collaborations between local and international jazz stars formed the backbone of the 2011 Standard Bank Jazz Festival, which is an integral part of the annual National Arts Festival Grahamstown.

Top artists headline Standard Bank Joy of Jazz
08-Jun-2011

25-27 August 2011

There was a global mélange of sound at the 2011 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz when top international artists joined the legendaryWynton Marsalisat the country's premier jazz-travaganza!

The National Arts Festival Thinks, Therefore It Is
03-Jun-2011

The National Arts Festival Think!Fest, in partnership with new media partner The Daily Maverick, is a space for leading thinkers from a broad spectrum of disciplines to collect their thoughts and share their insights in a series of lectures, workshops and discussions at the Rhodes University Eden Grove complex, from 1 - 10 July.

There are various overarching themes that broadly direct this yearís Think!Fest programme. Think!Fest convener Anthea Garman said: ìWeíve taken on some important issues in the arts this year, disability and dance, the funding regime, the place of critique. Weíre also hosting and interfacing with films and exhibitions as well as keeping alive conversations about social issues big and small (what social contribution are you making? are you happy? do you sleep well?). And weíve introduced for the first time our ëfree-thinking speakersí ñ people with strong opinions who want to share them more widely and start debates. Weíre also looking into the future by giving some impressive young South Africans a platform to talk for themselves. Itís a big, varied, wide-ranging programme which we hope will satisfy those who like to talk and think between their shows.

Arts ambassadors of a new generation
29-Oct-2010

The 2011 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winners are "a group of diversely unique individuals with distinctive artistic voices, who that are bringing a fresh edge to their respective disciplines," said National Arts Festival Committee Chairman Jay Pather at the announcement of the winners of the prestigious award in Johannesburg last night, hosted by Standard Bank.

The winners of the 2011 Standard Bank Young Artist Awards, are:

Standard Bank Joy of Jazz 2010
21-Jun-2010

The Standard Bank Joy Of Jazz 2010 has secured some of the world's top international and local jazz talent for the opening shows of this year's three day jazz extravaganza from the 26 - 28 August; confirming that there is life after the final whistle blows on the world cup.

Headlining the jazzfest on the opening night on the Dinaledi stage is a trio of top performers -celebrated soul singer Rahsaan Patterson, London based guitarist and vocalist Brian Temba and the phenomenal Cape Town jazz singer Auriol Hays.

Top artists to headline major Jazz Festival
20-May-2010

May 23, 2010, Johannesburg - The Standard Bank Joy Of Jazz 2010 has secured some of the world's top international and local jazz talent for the opening shows of this year's three day jazz extravaganza from the 26 - 28 August; confirming that there is life after the final whistle blows on the world cup.

One of the most talented and critically acclaimed soul singers of the last decade Rahsaan Patterson headlines the opening night of the festival on the Dinaledi stage, with support from London based guitarist and vocalist Brian Temba and the phenomenal Cape Town jazz singer Auriol Hays.

Giants of the Jazz World
26-Mar-2010

Giants of the jazz world include Switzerland's Grammy-Award winning Andreas Vollenweider in performance with Pops Mohamed; world renowned trumpeter Ingrid Jensen; show stopping American vocalist Phil Perry; Main Ingredient from America with vocalists Cuba Gooding Sr; Spain's Sumrra and Room 11. Two of the artists who appeared at the first Standard Bank Joy of Jazz in Newtown in 2000, US saxophonist Marion Meadows and pianist Bob Baldwin, return to celebrate the decade anniversary.

Performers from the African continent include South Africa's Jonas Gwangwa; Afro Jazz featuring Jimmy Dludlu; Vusi Mahlasela; Brian Thusi; Sterling EQ; the 2009 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for jazz Kesivan Naidoo as well as the Nigerian All Stars featuring Kúnlé Ayo and Rwanda's Somi.

Leading South African performers for Standard Bank Joy of Jazz
26-Mar-2010

Leading South African songstresses Judith Sephuma and Unathi Nkayi are joining the already impressive line-up at this year's Standard Bank Joy of Jazz. Sephuma - who is regarded as one of the country's leading jazz and Afro-pop singers and is the recipient of three South African Music Awards (SAMAs) - will perform on the Dinaledi Stage on Friday, August 28. She shares the stage with Spain's Summra; the Lao Tizer Band featuring violinist Karen Briggs and guitarist Chieli Minucci and Main Ingredient from the US which includes vocalist Cuba Gooding.

Over the years, singer and well-known radio presenter Unathi Nkayi has collected a string of accolades that have stamped her as one of the most influential women in entertainment. She performs at the Market Theatre on Friday, August 28, and shares the bill with Arlee Leonard and Phil Perry from the US and the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band.

10 Years of world-class jazz
26-Mar-2010

The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz - taking place in Newtown from August 27 to 29 - proudly celebrates a decade of putting South Africa on the international jazz map.

The first Standard Bank Joy of Jazz took place in Newtown in 2000 and featured among others US jazz maestros saxophonist Marion Meadows and pianist Bob Baldwin who will be proudly returning to this year's event.

A decade of putting Jozi on the international jazz map
26-Mar-2010

The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz proudly celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with a truly international line-up of top artists from around the world while continuing to discover and explore the heritage and riches of home-grown talent.

Two of the artists who appeared at the first Standard Bank Joy of Jazz in Newtown in 2000, US saxophonist Marion Meadows and pianist Bob Baldwin, return to celebrate the decade anniversary.

Biographies
26-Mar-2010

Andreas Vollenweider (Switzerland) More than 15 million records sold in 47 countries, a Grammy Award and several Grammy nominations as well as 3432 concerts in the most renowned venues around the globe … These are the figures behind the fascinating story of Andreas Vollenweider's music. More than three decades ago, Vollenweider reinvented harp-playing with his own unique sound. His latest album Air is the latest episode of this story. On Air, he no longer plays his harp as an accompanying instrument but brings it to the fore. Largely without extensive orchestral sonic landscapes, the subtlety, refinement and musicality of his innovative style are allowed to be truly recognised.

•Andreas Vollenweider featuring Pops Mohamed performs on the Mbira Stage on Friday, August 28 at 23h00 and on Saturday, August 29 at 23h15.

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