The 2021 Standard Bank Jazz Festival Will Be Bringing The ‘Jazz’ Closer

A star-loaded line-up will celebrate the magic of making dreams possible when the 2021 Standard Bank Jazz Festival presents a fresh way of Bringing the Jazz Closer during the Virtual National Arts Festival, Online. This year, Grammy award-winning Richard Bona and 8 times nominated Gerald Albright, along with Mzansi’s own Marcus Wyatt, Nduduzo Makhathini, Lira and Judith Sephuma, Sisonke Xonti and Bokani Dyer are poised to overcome limitations occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic with a selection of specially selected jazz performances during the National Arts Festival Online from the 8th – 31st  July 2021.

Grooving into its 34th year, the 2021 Standard Bank Jazz Festival will take place Online.

The programme will bring friends, family and fans together for a uniquely global jamboree – connecting audiences joining the fun from their digital device of choice.

MAIN PROGRAMME AND LINE-UP

The 2021 Standard Bank Festival presents a headline performance by GRAMMY award-winning singer-songwriter, bassist, and producer Richard Bona. The Cameroonian-born genre-bending jazzman has played with stars as varied as George Benson, Chaka Khan, Branford Marsalis and Bobby McFerrin. Bona will perform as part of the festival’s uniquely curated online offering this year.

The most singular voice on trumpet, Feya Faku (trumpet) will share the stage with four masterful Swiss musicians, including bassist Fabian Gisler who returns to South African stages having (last) performed at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz in 2016. This performance will bring together the best of straight-ahead jazz in a rare conversation between leading voices from the Caribbean, Northern Europe, and the African continent.

In keeping with the festival’s tradition of making rare collaborative projects possible, trumpeter and composer, Marcus Wyatt will perform a collaborative duet with bassist Romy Brauteseth. They will revisit and improvise through known and new compositions in this unique setting.

In a flagship performance, the reigning Standard Bank Young Artist for jazz, saxophonist and composer, Sisonke Xonti will lead a quartet with pianist Nduduzo Makhathini (piano), Dalisu Ndlazi on bass, and Ayanda Sikade on drums. The former SBYA Bokani Dyer will present his new musical project, Kelenosi. It features Clement Carr on the keyboard, Tendai ‘Shoxx’ Shoko on bass, and drummer Leagan Breda.

One of the most exciting experimental projects in Cape Town currently, Jitsvinger Trio (Restorians) breaks boundaries of genre, language, and geography by bringing together jazz, Afri-kaaps rap styles and pop sounds. It is led by rapper, Jitsvinger on guitar, and voice, with Azaria Zulu (vocal), Harold Galeta (DJ), Marlon Swai (vocal), Chadley Beukes on bass, Chante Phillips on drums.

The SN Project is a collaborative convergence of a leading league of contemporary and youthful jazz masters in Mzansi. It features pianist and vocalist, Siphephelo NdlovuMuhammad Dawjee on saxophone, Lwanda Gogwana on trumpet, Romy Brauteseth on bass, Sphelelo Mazibuko on drums, Mihi Matshingana on vocals

The brilliant song stylist and trumpeter, Mandisi Dyantyis will lead a star-studded outfit that brings together master reedman, Buddy Wells alongside drummer, Kevin Gibson, Blake Hellaby on piano and Steven de Souza on bass. 

The incredibly gifted vocalist, Dumza Maswana who has been gaining admiration of jazz lovers and beyond thanks to his collaboration with outfits like Black Motion. Maswana will light up the virtual stage in Makhanda alongside trumpeter Sakhile Simani, Bongani Tulwana on flute and guitar, Mthokozisi Mabuza on piano, Grant Allison on bass and drummer Sakhi Nompozolo.

Music lovers can also look forward to a rare cross genre experience that will see former SBYA, Sibongile Mngoma in an Opera Meets Jazz performance alongside the Masicule Choir at the Guy Butler Theatre.

Judith Sephuma In Concert, dubbed the Queen of Afro-Jazz, will present a set for both casual and serious music lovers. Sephuma brings her unique blend of jazz and success in the gospel world to the festival’s tested stages. 

The much-loved singer-songwriter, Lira’s “Good Vibrations” promises to be a musical elixir against the bad vibes borne of the Covid-19 pandemic. She will set audiences on a musical path to feeling good with new and loved sing-alongs. 

Few performances will showcase the image of dreams coming true better than Justin Lee Schultz. The 14-year-old Mzansi born piano prodigy now lives in the US. He performs with his talented sister and drummer Jamie-Leigh, and father Julius Schultz on bass, with special guest saxophonist Gerald Albright, one of the world’s premier exponents of Smooth Jazz, joining him for this amazing collaboration.

The Standard Bank Jazz Festival Makhanda is defined by an exciting programme of world- class jazz musicians performed in a rare and accessible context alongside the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival (SBNYJF). 

This unique developmental part of the festival brings an annual gathering of about 400 young musicians buoyed by dreams and a commitment to their talents. Customarily, the SBNYJF comprises a series of life-changing workshops and rigorous auditions. This year it was important to find a way (even during this time of social distancing) for these young musicians from across the country to pursue their dreams and for the first time for the SBNYJF, auditions were held online with participants submitting videos of themselves to a panel of judges. The best among these young musicians are selected into the yearly constituted band, the Standard Bank Youth Jazz Band (SBNYJB), which will this year beconducted by multi-award-winning, producer, pianist, and composer, Nduduzo Makhathini.

The Standard Bank National School’s Jazz Band (SBNSJB) will be conducted by one of Cape Town’s most sought-after session bassists, and highly regarded jazz educator, Shaun Johannes who is also an alumnus of the SBNYJF programme. The school’s jazz band has been reduced to a smaller version in keeping with Covid-19 safety protocols.

Along with these two flagship performances by the Youth and Schools Jazz Bands, the festival will showcase performances by youth bands from Sweden, Brazil, Spain, UK and elsewhere. Another treat presentation not to be missed is a collaborative performance with Berklee school of music.

“It is exactly during challenging times such as we find ourselves that we get to test the best parts of our heritage and tradition. Jazz music is an art form that teaches us that we can always improvise beyond a bad situation in the pursuit of our dreams. This year’s festival allows us to live up to this principle and keep presenting the best of our local musicians alongside their international counterparts for new and returning audiences,” says Standard Bank Jazz Festival Director, Alan Webster  

“Our festival has always been a uniquely international offering. Over the years, we’ve brought world-class jazz musicians from across Europe, the Americas and from across the African continent to the small town of Makhanda for a unique jazz experience that is centred on the development of young people and their dreams.

This year, we’ve once again found a way to respond to the limitations imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic by reaching out to a larger global audience through the power of digital,” says Standard Bank Head of Sponsorship and Events, Desiree Pooe.

Tickets to the online shows are available through www.nationalartsfestival.co.za

Discount Offer:

Standard Bank cardholders qualify for a discount of 20% when using a valid Standard Bank debit, cheque or credit card. The discount is applicable to online purchases only. This offer is subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply. 

Stay informed by connecting with Standard Bank Arts on:

●             Facebook: @StandardBankArts

●             Twitter: @StandardBankArt 

●             Instagram:  Standard Bank Arts

●             Website: www.standardbank.com/sponsorship

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