The 10 best ... treats at the fest, starting today

2013-06-30 14:00

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Fans of jazz music will see some high notes at this year’s National Arts Festival. Percy Mabandu looks at the length and breadth of what’s on offer.

Zwai Bala pays tribute to Frank Sinatra, the grand American balladist. Picture: The Famous Idea

1. Frank Sinatra Tribute

Under the baton of Richard Cock, the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra will pay tribute to the late US jazz balladist, featuring the voices of Nic Nicolaidis and Zwai Bala.

Expect tunes like Fly Me To The Moon, I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Fascinating Rhythm, Unforgettable and, of course, Sinatra’s signature song, My Way, with a twist.

»?Tomorrow 2pm and 7pm, Guy Butler Theatre at the Monument

Mi Casa brings its mix of house music with a jazzy tinge to a youthful audience. Picture: The Famous Idea

2. Mi Casa

This exciting trio has been a permanent fixture on the local music circuit. Catch their magic as they bring their groovy mix of urban house with a jazzy tinge on Friday evening.

Their debut album, Mi Casa Music, earned them a gold disc and won them three SA Music Awards in 2011, including Best Dance Album and Record of the Year.

»?Friday 7pm, Guy Butler Theatre at the Monument

Jonas Gwangwa will bring a touch of nostalgia to wow mature jazz lovers. Picture: The Famous Idea

3. Jonas Gwangwa

The composer and trombonist is a jazz elder with a career that spans more than 40 years.

Gwangwa brings a bittersweet nostalgia to the stage with his repertoire that recalls his days as a cultural activist in the anti-apartheid fold.

» Saturday 8.30pm, Guy Butler Theatre at the Monument

Shane Cooper is the reigning Standard Bank Young Artist for jazz. Picture: Lerato Maduna

4. The Shane Cooper Quartet

Led by the Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for jazz, the band will treat Cooper’s original compositions featuring some of his favourite musicians.

Their musical palette will stretch from left-field groove and postbop, to South African rhythms and some introspective ballads.

»?July 2 at 7pm, DSG Hall

Bruce Cassidy forms part of Global Express for a musical trip down memory lane. Picture: The Famous Idea

5. Global Express

This band is made up of former collaborators who have come together for an exciting moment to revisit their old musical relationships.

Though they now live on different continents and haven’t shared duties in decades, their links are renewed as they bring together their diverse musical journeys.

»?Tomorrow 7pm, DSG Hall

Drummer Ayanda Sikade will join Mathole Menyatso and bassist Herbie Tsoaeli. Picture: The Famous Idea

6. Menyatso Mathole

Guitarist Menyatso Mathole’s credits as a musician stretch the length of South African jazz history. Mathole has collaborated with the likes of Winston Mankunku, Dudu Pukwana, Bheki Mseleku, Miriam Makeba, Basil “Manenberg” Coetzee and many others.

The former member of Sakhile is joined on this date by award-winning bassist Herbie Tsoaeli and vibrant drummer Ayanda Sikhade to chart new musical territories.

»?Wednesday 5pm, DSG Hall

Dan Shout Band will be performing at the Standard Bank Jazz & Blues Café. Picture: The Famous Idea

7. Jazz Jams

Jam sessions are the staple of all jazz lovers interested in fresh impromptu collaborations and great imaginative improvisations.

This year offers more than enough of these at the new jazz festival venue, the Standard Bank Jazz & Blues Café located at the Lowlander, St Andrew’s College.

»?Every night from 11.30pm, Standard Bank Jazz & Blues Café

Vusi Mahlasela is set to warm hearts with his unique folk songs. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/City Press

8. Vusi Mahlasela

Dubbed “The Voice” by many admirers and fans, the guitarist from Mamelodi, northeast of Pretoria, will take to the stage for two nights.

Mahlasela brings his rich and vibrant brand of African folk that has inspired many with his themes of freedom, forgiveness and reconciliation. He will present his classics along with new songs.

»?Friday 9pm and Saturday 12pm, DSG Hall

Gloria Bosman is on the bill to serenade music lovers with her inimitable voice. Picture: Clarence Muller

9. Gloria Bosman

Her place in the league of treasured South African singers is secured. She is a former Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for jazz and is acclaimed for her sonorous voice and arresting stage presence.

Bosman gives two not-to-be-missed shows at this year’s festival.

»?Friday and Saturday 5pm, DSG Hall

Mark Fransman of the Makeson Browne Trio featuring Jeroen van Vliet. Picture: The Famous Idea

10. Makeson Browne Trio featuring Jeroen van Vliet

This is an offering by the award-winning pianist, saxman and producer Mark Fransman, appearing as his alter ego Makeson Browne.

The versatile, Cape Town-based musician will play music referencing a broad spectrum – from funk to serious jazz.

»?Today 7pm, DSG Auditorium

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