Great Jazz Not To Be Missed In Jazztown This Weekend

The best of the jazz world will gather in Grahamstown for an unmissable serving of music and mingling this weekend at the Standard Bank Jazz Festival 2018 in Grahamstown.

The immensely talented pianist and current Standard Bank Young Artist, Thandi Ntuli takes to the stage with two separate shows and brilliant bands of musicians in Jazztown. The first gig on Friday 29 June, will feature music from her latest album, Exiled. This will showcase her talent as a growing young composer to be reckoned with and her command as a leading soloist. The second serving is with her crossover outfit, Rebirth of Cool. The bands freewheeling use and jazz coding of everything from Soul, Kwaito, Hip-hop to R&B is fun, youthful and intellectually engaging too. Featuring the singular DJ Kenzhero on the decks alongside a hot horn section of Linda Sikhakhane on tenor, S’thembiso Bhengu on trumpet, Senzo Ngcobo on trombone with SBYA, Benjamin Jephta on bass alongside Sphelelo Mazibuko on drums, the band will perform on Saturday, 30 June.

Also on Friday 29 June Sydney Mavundla plays music from his new album, Luhambo, which loosely means the journey in Siswati. It showcases Mavundla’s ability to chart through some of the complexities of his identity. Mavundla’s red trumpet will blow alongside Sisonke Xonti’sreeds and Swiss trombonist, Andreas TschoppAfrika Mkhize’s piano and Ariel Zamonsky’sbass along with Peter Auret’s drumming.

Award winning journalist and writer, Percy Mabandu will give a celebration and tribute performance marking 50 years of Yakhal’inkomo. The classic record by the Cape Town born saxophonist and composer, Winston Mankunku Ngozi. This interdisciplinary brings the world of literature and music together in the spirit of jazz improvisation with Mabandu on voice, Andile Yenana on piano, Ayanda Sikade on drums, SBYA Shane Cooper on bass and two great young reedmen, Sisonke Xonti and Linda Sikhakhane channeling the great Mankunku on Saturday, 30 June.

Mama Africa’s granddaughter Zenzi Makeba Lee will join forces with vocalist Amanda Tiffin in a rare collaborative performance. Working with genius pianist, Afrika Mkhize, bassist Romy Brauteseth and Marlon Witbooi on drums will deliver a joyous and charged repertoire on Saturday, 30 June.

Renowned trumpeter and composer, Marcus Wyatt will lead the Blue Notes Tribute Orchestra celebrating the music of one of South Africa’s legendary bands, The Blue Noteswhich included Eastern Cape born jazz giants like alto sax-men, Dudu Pukwana and Nick Moyake, trumpeter and Mongezi Feza, bassist Johnny Dyani and led by the late great pianist, Chris McGregorWyatt’s Orchestra has found a fresh way to play Blue Note classics with youthful verve.

After over a decade hiatus since his last release, pianist Andile Yenana will lead a new and unmissiable project in Jazztown, Umqgonqo Wabantu. Originally from King Williams Town, Yenana has cultivated a free and boundless approach to  improvisation that is as rooted in traditions of the Ama-Xhosa as they are in the global jazz idiom. He will lead a band backed by a Swiss rhythm section, with  Christoph King-Utzinger on bass, Michi Stulz on drums Sunday, 1 July.

“Jazz lovers will find that the quality of performances at the Standard Bank Jazz Festival continue to grow in quality and reach. The depth of local jazz traditions and our inclusion of the best in the world are all well represented in the programme. It’s going to be challenging and entertaining. We aim to live up to the prestige of being Africa’s oldest jazz festival,” says Alan Webster Festival Director of the Standard Bank Jazz Festival.

Apart from the amazing music offered at SBJF, festival goers will also have a wonderful time at the Standard Bank Village Green market where the Standard Bank #Art_is Container will host jazz, comedy, talks, art workshops and interviews with industry leaders on the Festival Programme. These specially curated sessions are free to art lovers and a great place to stop in between shows.

For more information and details of all performances, visit  and

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