Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival turns 20 this September and it is milestone that comes with pride.
Running from September 28 with Mabida Bay Jazz Orchestra, the entertainment is expected to keep Gauteng in the groove until September 30.
The festival that has evolved over the years going through different venues until it was moved to the Sandton Convention Centre in 2014 having grown in leaps and bounds, targets a capacity audience at its 20th birthday celebrations.
Above all, producer of the event, Mantwa Chinoamadi says the festival has managed to bridge the gap between the old and the young with the later previously bound by the perception that the genre was for old people.
“Young jazz musicians that have graced our stages bridging the norm that jazz is for old people,” have helped shape public perception said Chinoamadi.
That aided by the fact that jazz cuts across the social spectrum; disregarding any form of barriers has indeed made the festival worth celebrating.
She said they were prompted to move from Newtown to the Sandton Convention Centre due to an overwhelming response by the public from different social backgrounds who packed the venue to the rafters.
“Jazz music cuts across all social classification…last year we had over 29000 people in a 30000 capacity venue. This year we hope to reach capacity,” she said.
Having seen the majority of all jazz talent south of the Limpopo River on its various stages, the festival also celebrates the late Ray Chikapa Phiri who died earlier this year but had featured in both his solo capacity and with Stimela.
But Chinoamadi said this year’s event would come with doses of reminiscence stirred by familiar names that have graced the festival over the years.
She said they had responded to public feedback that has yearned for performers like Caiphus Semenya and Hugh Masekela among many others.
Also making the line-up this year is the vivacious Thandiswa Mazwai, Tsepo Tshola, The Clayton Brothers among many others.
The producer said the festival had also come in handy for the growth of the music industry and arts in general as a platform for artistes to put into practice what they learn in workshops.
She said it has also helped in enhancing social cohesion and cultural exchange among different groups of people.
According to the festival’s website, “The Joy of Jazz is South Africa’s oldest jazz festival” that has been contributing to “social cohesion, economic growth and cultural tourism. The event takes place in Johannesburg, Africa’s greatest city, a bold and pulsating metropolis. The people work hard and play hard and they immerse themselves in the finest music at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz.
“The 2017 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz is produced by T-Musicman and brought to audiences by Standard Bank in association with the Department of Arts & Culture; Gauteng Province, the City of Johannesburg, Tsogo Sun and MNS Attorneys.”
Executive producer of the event Peter Tladi of T-Musicman says he is overjoyed and proud of this year’s artiste line-up and overall festival offering.
He told Standard Bank he believes it’s a line up befitting the unique occasion; and will project the meaning of the hard work and passion that went into building one of Africa’s most important jazz festivals.
Tladi was quoted on the Standard Bank website saying: “We, as festival producers, spend a great deal of time both here and overseas seeking out artists whom we believe will appeal to a wide spectrum of music fans. We want to present a diverse range of jazz styles inclusive of the giants of jazz and the upcoming young lions. There is something for everyone in this year’s line-up which, we believe, is international and truly inspirational. The event reinforces its status as South Africa’s foremost jazz festival, and one of the best on the African continent, thanks to our stellar line-up of musicians.”
The sponsors’ website also lines up the performers as Grammy Award nominee Nnenna Freelon, Tutu Puoane, Nduduzo Makhathini, Herbie Tsoaeli, Ayanda Sikade, Mthunzi Mvubu, and Ramsey Lewis versus Roy Ayers.
Grammy Award winners Branford Marsalis and bassist Christian McBride, sax maestro Joshua Redman and his Quartet, the MAC Power Trio with David Murray, Geri Allen and Terri Lyne Carrington from the US will also perform.
Five time Grammy award winning American virtuoso bassist Christian McBride, Mali superstar Salif Keita, Uganda’s Somi, Lesotho’s Tsepo Tshola, Maleh and Bhudaza Mapefane will also perform at the festival.