The 10 best ...?jazz acts in Cape Town

2014-03-23 10:00

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As music lovers prepare to gather in the Mother City for the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Percy Mabandu picks his cream of the crop at this year’s jamboree

1 Erykah Badu will need little introduction when she takes to the stage on Saturday night. The Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter is perhaps the most anticipated act for South African soul music fans. She won the admiration of many with her 1997 debut album, Baduizm, which featured hits like On And On, Next Lifetime and Certainly. She has gone on to produce chart-topping records and maintains a comfortable spot in the hearts of many music fans.

Kippies stage, Saturday 11.15pm

2 Lalah Hathaway makes her second visit to local stages after thrilling fans in 2010 at Joburg’s Joy of Jazz. She is the generously talented daughter of the late soul singer Donny Hathaway and a Grammy award-winning musician in her own right. She commands a career that spans four chart-topping albums and definitive collaboration projects with the likes of Joe Sample.

Kippies stage, Saturday 7.15pm

3 Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet Akinmusire is one of the most anticipated young trumpeters to be billed at the festival. The American brings an energy and imagination to his jazz compositions that are as aware of hip-hop as they are of the grand tradition crafted by everyone from Louis Armstrong to Clark Terry. This ­talented jazz trumpeter will be promoting his latest album, The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier To Paint.

Moses Molelekwa stage, Friday 11.45pm

4 Kenny Garrett Quintet Garrett is a Miles Davis alumnus who played with the legendary trumpeter in the 1980s. He charges his alto saxophone with a vigorous and melodic approach. Though properly rooted in the straight-ahead jazz tradition from playing with giants such as Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers and Freddie Hubbard, Garrett has a global musical awareness that has seen him borrow from the traditional music of China, Greece and Africa with equal imagination.

Rosies stage, Saturday 10.30pm

5 Randy Weston’s African Rhythms Trio featuring Alex Blake and Neil Clarke This ensemble is expected to give a performance that will illustrate why Weston put the hyphen in African ­American. Though born in New York in 1926, this jazz ­veteran relocated to Morocco in the 1960s and proceeded to travel through Africa extensively. This experience, along with his learning at the feet of giants like Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington, ensured Weston’s music is indisputably as sophisticated as the best jazz can be.

Rosies stage, Saturday 12.30am

6 Dr Philip Tabane and Malombo Brace yourself for the music of the legendary Tabane, a guitar icon who is still undiminished at the age of 79. Malombo’s explosive percussions and Tabane’s electrifying guitar improvisations take on the intensity of malopo and kiba music. The musical sensibility that lends the blues its magic is delivered with the doctor’s inimitable half-sung, raspy phrases.

Rosies stage, Friday 11pm

7 Bokani Dyer and Kyle Shepherd These talented musicians will showcase why they are considered two of the country’s most respected young pianists. They are both recipients of the Standard Bank Young Artist awards for jazz. This collaboration will highlight the contrasts and complementary features of their styles. Shepherd’s emphatic hand and Dyer’s light and agile ­phrases will no doubt come together for a ­captivating performance.

Rosies stage, Saturday 5.15pm

8 Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya This pilgrimage performance is bound to entertain lifelong and new fans alike. The grand composer and pianist is an elder ­statesman of the genre and the personification of South African music. He brings his international band, Ekaya, which comprises musicians who share not only his musical ideas, but his commitment to spirituality and martial arts.

Rosies stage, Saturday 7pm

9 Mi Casa Their unique blend of lounge and House music with jazz inflections will provide a festive entry point for newcomers into the jazz fold. They are still on a high after earning six nominations for this year’s SA Music Awards, which are set to take place next month. The three-man outfit comprising vocalist J’Something, trumpeter Mo-T and DJ Dr Duda, will share some of their well-known hits and some new material.

Kippies stage, Saturday 10.15pm

10 Shane Cooper Quintet Cooper has just been nominated for an SA Music Award in the best jazz album category. He leads his own quintet for the first time at Africa’s grandest gathering. The young bassist and composer has climbed on to its stages as a sideman in various bands before, including the Zim Ngqawana Quartet in 2012.

Moses Molelekwa stage, Friday 10.15pm

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