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Can Jazz Survive COVID-19? China Has Tested the Waters

Read "Can Jazz Survive COVID-19? China Has Tested the Waters" reviewed by Jiaowei Hu

In the coming weeks, Frank Sinatra's line “I wanna wake up in a city that doesn't sleep" from “New York, New York" may not strike a chord. On March 17, the epicenter of jazz ground to a halt. By the decree of governmental enforcement, all jazz venues in jny: New York City announced closures ...

Sisonke Xonti

Sisonke Xonti started playing music at the age of ten but it was only when he turned thirteen that he fell in love with the saxophone and continued playing classical saxophone until he got his UNISA Grade 8 Distinction (2006). His introduction to jazz came at the age of sixteen (2004) when he joined the Cape Town based band, The Little Giants, led by George Werner and the late Ezra Ngcukana. That same year, he was selected to be a part of the School’s Big Band at the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown. And later (2007) was also selected for the National Youth Band for the first time under the leadership of Dr

MUSICIAN Born:

Claude Cozens

Born on 27 February 1989, Cozens is fast establishing himself as one of South Africa’s most respected and sought-after drummers on the Jazz scene. He is also a talented pianist and composer. Cozens started playing drums at the age of thirteen. He became a regular musician at the local Church where he played, bass drums and the piano. Cozens exploration into the world of Jazz and improvised music started at the age of fourteen when he entered Muizenberg High School where he studied under Fred Kuit, head of the Music Department. Cozens is currently completing his Postgraduate Diploma at the South African College of Music at the University of Cape Town

Ancient Agents

With musical influences from Africa, India and Scandinavia, the quartet combines traditional rhythms and contemporary harmonies to produce a richly textured acoustic world beat. Their debut album is recorded and will be released during fall 2017. This international collaboration brings together four multi-instrumentalists – an innovative lead guitarist, a melody-driven bassist and two intuitive, dexterous percussionists whose instruments range from Arabic to Indian, Latin American and North African. Each band member brings with him a distinct sound, an impressive performance history and international experience. The quartet comprises: Reza Khota (South Africa) guitar: An admirer of John McLaughlin and John Schofield, Reza’s strings produce a crossover between east and west, with influences of jazz and classical

Benguela

Brydon Bolton (double bass), Alex Bozas (guitar), Ross Campbell (drums) Benguela have been playing improvised music together for over fifteen years and have just successfully crowd funded their 5th full length album, due for release in early 2014. Every show they play is a spur of the moment creative cesspool that straddles both the ambient and angular. Their collaboration with Tony Cox won the SAMA award for Best Instrumental Album. They have also collaborated with cultural anarchist Koos Kombuis and internationally renowned poet Breyten Breytenbach. They have played most of the music festivals around the country more than once, including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Oppikoppi, Splashy Fen, Up The Creek and the Standard Bank Grahamstown Arts Festival as part of the New Music Indaba.

 The name Benguela was taken from the cold current running up the West Coast of Southern Africa and reflects both the flowing nature of the music as well as being geographically representative of where the band came together and the climate in which they live.

 “People think of improvised music as Jazz because it has been marketed as Jazz

Lwanda Gogwana

South African born jazz trumpeter and composer, Lwanda Gogwana fuses traditional Xhosa music with jazz harmonies and contemporary music elements in his compositions. Lwanda was born in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, the home of the Ama-Xhosa. He started his musical career at school, singing in school choirs, and taking lessons in both piano and trumpet. During his high school period, he toured Namibia and UK, whilst playing in a number of national youth bands of South Africa. He enrolled at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2005 for a Bachelor of music degree in composition and arrangement under Prof Peter Klatzow and Prof Mike Campbell, and received scholarship to study in Norway, Europe on exchange at the Norges Musikkhogskole based at the University of Oslo. During his professional career, he has played, & at most times composed for a number of artists and bands in South Africa, including the UCT big band, Abdullah Ibrahim’s Cape Town Jazz Orchestra, Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band of 2007, the Tete Mbambisa band, Bokani Dyer, Lulama Gaulana, Simphiwe Dana, Neo Muyanga, Jimmy Dludlu, Steve Dyer, Moreira Chonguica, Ezra Ngcukana, Errol Dyers, Tete Mbambisa, Robbie Jansen, Bruce Cassidy, John Fedchock, Thandi Klaasen, Judith Sephuma, Marcus Wyatt, Nomfusi, Buddy Wells and Max Vidima and his very own composition based project, The Lwanda Gogwana Songbook. Having played at many festivals, including the Cape Town International Jazz festival, The Joy of Jazz festival in Johannesburg, The National Youth Jazz festival in Grahamstown, the Wigan Jazz Festival in England, still today, Lwanda continues to perform in and out of South Africa. Lwanda has also been involved in a couple of community building projects, including teaching and conducting workshops in and around Cape Town, and is also part of a youth run organization, RYTHM (reaching youth through music) that aims at promoting South African music to the youth

MUSICIAN Born:

Ramon Alexander

The jazz-pianist and composer Ramon Hector Alexander hails from Mamre. His latest album release – his second solo album – is entitled Echoes from Louwskloof. In one sense, this album is an homage to his musical forefathers; in another, it is an homage to the forefathers of his birthplace. “Louwskloof was a place close to home where a Khoi captain, Klapmuts, and his people roamed when the German missionaries set up shop in Groenekloof [today it’s known as Mamre] at the turn of the 1800s.” This historical titbit reveals an artist who has a special connection to place, and how the past resonates in the present

Glenn Robertson

Glenn Robertson was a founder member of the band Airborne and was lead vocalist for the Tony Schilder Trio, for a season, at the Sherwood or better known as Club Montreal in Manenberg. His musical influences come largely from the music of Al Jarreau, Nat King Cole, Jimmy Messina and his musical leaning is definitely toward Latin Jazz.

Bokani Dyer

Bokani Dyer is a multi-award winning Motswana-South African pianist, composer and producer. In 2013, Dyer won the SAMRO Overseas Scholarships competition. His recent career highlights include playing at the opening of the London Jazz Festival (2015), showcasing his Trio at Jazzahead in Bremen, Germany (2016), headlining the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (2015) and an artistic residency at the Bird’s Eye jazz club in Basel, Switzerland (2014). Dyer has recorded three jazz albums - Mirrors (2010), Emancipate the Story (2011 - recorded during his time as Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year) and World Music (2015) which was nominated for Best Jazz Album at the 2016 South African Music Awards

MUSICIAN Born:

Shane Cooper

Shane Cooper is a jazz bassist, composer and producer based in Cape Town, South Africa. He recently launched his new album 'Oscillations' which is out now on iTunes. In 2013 he was selected as the Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz. He was a member of the groups Babu (SAMA Nominee) and Closet Snare, and still works with the Kyle Shepherd Trio (SAMA Nominee) and the Reza Khota Quartet, and has also worked with artists like Zim Ngqawana, Feya Faku, Louis Moholo- Moholo, Malcolm Braff, Jeroen van Vliet, Marcus Wyatt, Soweto Kinch, Melanie Scholtz, Bokani Dyer, Nicky Schrire, Afrika Mkhize, and more.


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