Jazz legends a sweet dessert

2015-08-04 06:01

Against the backdrop of the highly acclaimed Fugard Theatre production of the Broadway smash-hit musical West Side story, running currently at the Artscape Theatre, its latest offering (but for one night only) was the collaborative Artscape and Micallo Music Production of Our legends passing the baton, featuring jazz greats living and of yesteryear.

Presented by Mitchell’s Plain comedienne Mel Jones, jazz lovers were taken on a journey with Cape Town jazz legends which included posthumous tributes and audiovisual clips featuring Tony Schilder, Zayn Adams and Taliep Petersen, under the musical direction of local maestro Camillo Lombard and his band. Saxophonist Donveno Prins, an emerging Cape legend, shined brightly during his solo renditions.

The spectacular show, directed by Basil Appolis, unequivocally contained all the right ingredients and glitz of an international stature. The lightning fast costume changes by the female stars elicited wolf howls from an appreciative audience.

Jones’s matter-of-fact banter spiced with off-the-cuff humour and exchanges with the legends gave insight into their lives as aspiring performers during the tumultuous apartheid years, and although they were maligned by their oppressors, they chose to pursue their craft and talent. The legends gracefully handed their “batons” over to their emerging charges: Sophia Foster to Abigail Bagley, trumpeter Ian Smith to Lorenzo Blignaut and featured songstress Adelia Douw from Delft Jazz Band, and jazz stalwart Sylvia Mdunyelwa arriving on stage in a Mercedes Benz, to Xoliswa. Mdunyelwa’s rendition of “Where are the children” lamented the passing of Hector Petersen, the first fatality during the 1976 student unrest, and their duet performance of Miriam Makeba’s “Pata pata” had the audience on its feet.

It is most unfortunate that the performance was for one night only, but like a good dessert, one helping for me was an excellent indulgence.

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