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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2013: First Artists Announcement

2013! We seem to have all made it – Thank goodness. Now it’s time to plan the year and although you know we’re all about fashion, including some of the best lifestyle events in South Africa is just as fashionable. One such high-end, top quality event is the amazing Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF). The festival now in its 14th year, is probably one of the biggest music events on the international calendar. Pooling some rather talented musical acts from across the globe, it’s one of South Africa’s premier events and also encourages healthy economic activity in both Cape Town and South Africa during its weekend.

This year, the Cape Town International Convention Centre, according to espAfrika, will play host to the CTIJF on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th April 2013. Here is a very brief round-up of the first artists to be announced to be performing at the festival this year:

International Acts:

Buena Vista Social Club featuring Omara Portuondo (Cuba)
The Buena Vista Social Club in Havana, Cuba was a thriving club where musicians, dancers and revelers used to gather in the 1940s. Fifty years after the Cuban Revolution of 1959 when the club was closed, a collaboration between traditional Cuban musicians, including those who had performed at the club, resulted in an album called the Buena Vista Social Club. A documentary was made during a performance in New York triggering huge international interest in traditional Cuban music. The Buena Vista Social Club became a brand encapsulating Cuba's ‘musical golden age’ between the 1930s and 1950s. The most recognizable artists in the ensemble Compay Segundo, Rubén González, and Ibrahim Ferrer sadly died in the early 2000s. Surviving members, including trumpeter Manuel ‘Guajiro’ Mirabal, laúd player Barbarito Torres and trombonist-conductor Jesus ‘Aguaje’ Ramos, teamed up with singers Carlos Calunga and Omara Portuondo, virtuoso pianist Rolando Luna and others to form a 13-member band called Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club. The troupe currently tour worldwide.

For more information go to

Jack Dejohnette Trio (USA)
Renowned artists Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane, Matt Garrison come together as a groundbreaking jazz trio in a reunion 20 years in the making and which is a celebration of an original event at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.  In 1993 the trio celebrated the music of the great John Coltrane and today their collaboration explores open improvisation as well as their own compositions.  In a career spanning five decades, Grammy winner Jack DeJohnette has established an unchallenged reputation as one of history’s greatest drummers. His prowess incorporates hard bop, R&B, world music, avant-garde, and just about every other style of music as well. 
Ravi Coltrane is a post-bop jazz saxophonist and the second son of John and Alice Coltrane. His newest recording is Spirit Fiction. Matthew Garrison spent the first eight years of his life immersed in a community of musicians, dancers, visual artists and poets.
After the death of his father Jimmy Garrison (John Coltrane’s bassist), his family relocated to Rome, where he studied piano and bass guitar. In 1988 Garrison returned to the US, forming GarrisonJazz Productions through which he currently produces, promotes and markets his music.


For more information go to

Brand New Heavies (UK)
The Brand New Heavies started life in the 1980s as an instrumental acid jazz group called Brother International. As The Brand New Heavies, they gained a cult following in London and soon signed to Cooltempo. In 1990, the band issued a debut recording for Eddie Piller's Acid Jazz label. A single, Got to Give, came out on Cooltempo before the Heavies signed to Acid Jazz Records. A revamped version of the first album, with vocals by N'Dea Davenport, was then released, and the singles Dream Come True, Never Stop and Stay This Way became hits on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1994, the Heavies released Brother Sister. Then, in 2000, the group released its greatest hits album, Trunk Funk - The Best of The Brand New Heavies with Carleen Anderson on vocals. In April 2006, the Heavies reunited with Davenport and former label Delicious Vinyl and released, Get Used to It. In October 2009, the Heavies released a 2-CD album Live In London and worked with Lancôme on an ad campaign, resulting in the 2009 single C'est Magnifique. The Heavies released a free download album called Dunk Your Trunk in November 2011. For 2013, the band is planning to release its yet-to-be-named new studio album featuring Davenport on vocals.

For more information go to 

Robert Glasper Experiment (USA)
Pianist Robert Glasper continues to make waves throughout the music world as leader of both the acoustic Robert Glasper Trio (Chris Dave on drums and Vicente Archer on bass) and the Robert Glasper Experiment. In the Experiment, Glasper explores fusions of jazz and hip hop, blending funky jazz with electric hip-hop beats. The group is comprised of internationally acclaimed cross-genre masters, drummer Chris Dave, bassist Derrick Hodge and saxophonist/ vocalist Casey Benjamin. Special guests who have worked with the Experiment include Q-Tip, Mos Def, Terence Blanchard and neo-soul singer Bilal Oliver. Glasper’s first album Mood was released in 2004, followed by three more albums between 2005 and 2009. In 2012, Glasper released Black Radio, which featured performances by many neo-soul and hip hop artists including Lupe Fiasco.

For more information visit

Chano Dominguez (Spain)
Spanish born Chano Domínguez is a Latin jazz, post-bop and flamenco jazz pianist. He started playing flamenco guitar at eight-years-old, and then took to the piano.  Domínguez’s initial interest was in jazz fusion groups like Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report, but he soon turned to the likes of Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk. In his twenties he formed the progressive Latin rock ensemble CAI, and when the group disbanded in 1981, Dominguez pursued a solo career. He soon clocked up several awards for his pioneering mix of flamenco and jazz music. After the release of his first solo album Chano, he relocated to New York where he continued to produce what was considered forward-thinking and completely cross-cultural music. His most recent album "Flamenco Sketches" was released by Blue Note Records in March 2012 and features his signature style re-interpretation of Miles Davis "Kind of Blue". The album earned him many accolades from the press with the New York Times calling the album “A cultural re-imagining of “Kind of Blue” and Wall Street Journal stating “Chano Dominguez is playing these melodies with more beauty and imagination than virtually anyone since Miles Davis & Bill Evans”.

For those fluent in Spanish, go to for more information.

Gregory Porter (USA)
Gregory Porter is an American jazz vocalist, songwriter and actor focusing on jazz, blues, soul and gospel. Porter’s musical career was launched in 1998 and a year later he was cast in the original It Ain’t Nothin’ But Blues Broadway. He was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal album for his debut album Water at the 2010 Grammy Awards. His sophomore album Be Good released last year was internationally acclaimed for its distinctive vocals and powerful composition. Porter has performed at festivals such as the North Sea Jazz Festival and the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta. Recent performances include headlining the Wangaratta Jazz Festival with the John McAll quartet in Australia in November 2012. Porter currently resides in New York and is a resident performer at the popular Smoke Jazz & Supper Club.

For more information go to

South African Acts:

Victor Ntoni
Victor Ntoni is affectionately known as Bra Vic. A bassist, composer, singer, arranger and producer Ntoni’s ingenious work can be heard in recent recordings of some of South Africa's A-List in jazz. Hugh Masekela, Feya Faku, Vusi Khumalo, Lawrence Matshiza, Sylvia Mdunyelwa and Andile Yenana (just to name a few) have all been privileged to have his touch grace their work. Bra Vic performed in 1976 with American jazz legend Dave Brubeck of the 60's hit Take Five, as a bassist at the Coliseum Theatre in Johannesburg becoming the first ever Black South African to play with a visiting foreign band.  In the late 90s, he teamed up with Khaya Mahlangu, Vusi Khumalo and Hilton Schilder to form Iconoclast. In 2013 he will be joined on stage Mahlangu, Schilder, Lawrence Matshiza, and Lungile (Lulu) Maduna.

Jimmy Dludlu
Jimmy Dludlu is a self-taught acclaimed guitarist, arranger, band leader and singer, known internationally for his original African Jazz and fusion music. In the 1980's he performed with various African musicians, including Anansi and Thomas Mapfumo. In the 1990’s, located mainly in Johannesburg, he started performing in earnest and also set up the group Loading Zone. The band backed several top South African stars like Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Brenda Fassie and others resulting in further recognition of Dludlu’s talent. In 1994, Dludlu performed in Grahamstown with the international legend Herb Ellis. A year later, Dludlu began formal music studies at UCT. The same year, he performed with Hugh Masekela, Busi Mhlongo, Dolly Rathebe and Dorothy Masukain in Paris. Dludlu’s debut album Echoes from the Past was released in September 1997 which earned him several awards and recognition on the international stage. At the SAMA Awards in 2000, he won the Best Male Artist and his Essence of Rhythm album earned him Best Contemporary Jazz Album.

Errol Dyers
Acclaimed guitar maestro Errol Dyers is highly respected as a pioneer of what has today become known as Cape Jazz-Ghoema, which Dyers says emerged during apartheid as a cross between traditional ‘lang arm’ and Cape Town carnival sounds.  Dyers has performed, recorded and toured locally and internationally with many great artists including the late Basil Coetzee, Winston Mankunku, Abdullah Ibrahim, Robbie Jansen and McCoy Mrubata. With no formal music training, he learnt his music on the streets of Cape Town, drawing inspiration from the rhythms of the city. His debut album Sonesta stems from the earliest strummings of the Cape people. The title of his more recent album Kou Kou Wa comes from the colloquial name given to small mobiles that were set up while townships were being built. Dyers’ most recent project is a collaboration with well-known maestros Hilton Schilder and Steve Newman.

Reza Khota Quartet
The Reza Khota Quartet is a collaborative effort which successfully blends modern music with traditional jazz. The members - Reza Khota, Jonno Sweetman, Shane Cooper and Buddy Wells - will be bringing their distinct sound of rhythm, percussion and tone to the Cape Town International Jazz Festival stage for the third time. Reza Khota has studied music both in South Africa, and abroad. He combines his mature guitar skills with a distinct voice. Saxophonist, Wells, has contributed to a number SAMA–nominated projects across genres. He has been described as one of South Africa’s musical gems due to his gentle touch but intense performance. Holding the basis of the rhythmical and tonal space are two of the most in-demand players in Cape Town, Shane Cooper  on  contrabass and Jonno Sweetman on drums.

For more information visit

Zonke Dikana
Singer-songwriter Zonke Dikana hails from the Eastern Cape and has established herself as a heavyweight on the music scene, internationally and locally. Well known for her hit Jik’ Izinto Dikana’s talent emanates from her drummer-father, whose marriage to Anneline Malebo from the group Joy also helped kick-start her career. After writing a track for the German band Jazz Cantina, a team of producers and engineers decided to record her music and released what became an award-winning album under the name Culture Clan. Zonke went on to record her first solo album entitled Solotary, which was released in Italy, Germany and Japan. Meanwhile, her popularity on the South African music scene escalated even further with the release of her album Life, Love and Music. Behind the scenes she continued writing and making hits for several local stars including Tshepo Tsholo and Theo Kgosinkwe. Dikana’s album Ina Ethe, which translates as Give and Take from isiXhosa, was released at the end of last year (2012).

Visit Zonke Dikana’s Facebook page on

Mi Casa
“Mi Casa is one of the most exciting new live acts I’ve seen in all my time in this industry, their talent, personalities, hard work and determination are a perfect recipe for success,” said Harael Salkow of Soul Candi Records, when Mi Casa or My House released their first album of the same name.  The band was established when three young musicians ‘free styled’ an unrehearsed piece, blew the crowd away and decided to form a band. The musical talent of Dr Duda (producer and club DJ), J-Something (vocalist and guitarist) and Mo-T (trumpeter) combine to create an original soulful combination of vocals, guitar, keyboard and trumpet.  Dr. Duda is an experienced and well-known DJ, while the band’s singer-songwriter J'Something started playing guitar when he was eleven and has played the instrument passionately since then. Trumpeter Mo-T learned the instrument from his father, Kgleaasoane Banza, who played for Mango Groove.

For more information go to

Khuli Chana
Khuli Chana is practiced in vernacular rap, Motswako. In the 90s Chana was a member of duet Jazzadaz with Kay-G. As a solo artists he has received high praise including taking home the Newcomer of the Year award at the 2009 Channel O Awards and Song of the Year for his hit song Tswak Sticke'm at the 2010 Hype Music Awards.

Visit Khuli Chana’s Facebook page at

Two of South Africa’s hip-hop young guns will collaborate on stage at the CTIJF. AKA and Khuli Chana are currently burning up the local charts with their slick urban and local sound.
AKA is more commonly known as Kieran Forbes and started his music career as part of the group Entity which he formed along with his schoolmates. He has enjoyed success as a solo artist with songs such as Mistakes and Do It (which reached number one on 5FM’s Top 40).

Visit AKA’s Facebook page at

This is merely the first of the artists to be announced and already I have my eyes set on ninety percent of this list. Actually, 100%. I’ll have to see AKA, it seems, if I watch Khuli Chana’s performance – which I do want to do…

So keep your eyes posted on my blog for further details, otherwise, go to

All images supplied to Renaissance Men by espAfrika.

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