All that jazz

2011-03-19 00:00

GRAMMY award-winning bassist- vocalist­ Esperanza Spalding — the woman who put Justin Bieber fans in a huff when she walked off with the prize for the best new artist in February — is one of the many stars who will be taking to the stage at this year’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

In addition to leading her band, Spalding is a member of Joe Lovano’s new band, Us Five and together with saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and drummer Francisco Mela, formed the rhythm section that accompanied McCoy­ Tyner at the CareFusion New York Jazz Festival in June last year.

Always determined to cross barriers, Spalding is a rising star, whose bass playing and multilingual singing hypnotisises listeners.

In another coup, the festival organisers have secured the appearance of 77-year-old saxophonist, Wayne Short. Festival director, Rashid Lombard, said they had been waiting for more than three years to find space in the saxophonist’s busy schedule. “We are thrilled that this round this living jazz legend could make it,” he added.

At the centre of every innovation that occurred in jazz in the past 50 years, Shorter leads a stellar quartet made up of pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade, at the festival that takes place on March 25 and 26 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

Other headline acts include the seventies band Earth, Wind and Fire and American saxophonist Dave Koz. Rooted in soul, funk, gospel, blues and jazz, Earth, Wind and Fire produced hits like Shining Star, Mighty Mighty, Let’s Groove and Kalimba Story.

Although hailing from a different era, Koz’s approach is similar to that of Earth, Wind and Fire in that he aims to produce well-crafted music that appeals to a wider audience. This multifaceted artist also runs a yearly Smooth Jazz Christmas Tour, owns a record company, promotes an annual Dave Koz & Friends Jazz Cruise and hosts a syndicated radio programme that is broadcast across the United States. His last appearance at the festival was in 2009 when he shared the stage with guitarist Jonathan Butler.

Another expected highlight will be the performance of the South African band, The Flames, the first non-white group to reach the Top 20 charts of the whites-only Springbok Radio.

Tickets are R365 for a single day pass and a two-day weekend pass is R499. As in previous years, there will be an extra fee of R25 per act for patrons wishing to attend concerts on the Rosies stage. Tickets are available at Computicket and Shoprite-Checkers stores.

Inquiries: www.capetownjazz fest.com

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