TALK about a lineup of jazz that would have to beat New Orleans’s Bourbon Street at the height of the Mardi Gras.
The Standard Bank Jazz Festival in Grahamstown from June 27 – one of the huge drawcards of the National Arts Fest – boasts a formidable line-up which includes blues, funk, world music, Afro-jazz, modern jazz and youth.
Trombonist Steve Turre of the Juilliard School of Music in New York, for instance, has played and recorded with many artists around the world but his most iconic performances were probably with Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nation Orchestra where he shot to prominence on both trombone and shells.
He adds zest to the Awesome Big Band, and his solo show is supported by Marcus Wyatt on trumpet, Bokani Dyer on piano, Hein van de Geyn on bass, and Kevin Gibson on drums.
The Awesome Big Band is a unique selection of top international jazz musicians in a Big Band format.
Regular audiences at the National Arts Festival will recognise Frank Sinatra & Friends as a sequel to the series of earlier successes that have been conceptualised and conducted by maestro, Richard Cock. Frank Sinatra & Friends will have two performances. In this concert, Nic Nicolaidis and Zwai Bala accompanied by the notable KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra will serenade audiences with melodies such as Fly Me to the Moon and the popular Sinatra signature song, My Way.
AJ Brown is a young singer and saxophonist from Britain. He has quickly mastered the tunes of the great crooners like Sinatra, Michael Bublé and Nat King Cole and has begun producing his own compositions.
Justin Binek is the head of vocal jazz studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and maintains an active jazz and classical performing schedule as a singer, pianist and adjudicator.
He is a prolific arranger and composer and performs in Europe and the US.
Paulien van Schaik studied voice at the jazz department of the Conservatory of Utrecht and Berklee College of Music in Boston and has performed in Europe, Japan and China.
With their backing band, comprising Jason Reolon (piano), Ola Bengtsson (guitar), Shaun Johannes (bass), and Lloyd Martin (drums); their Vocal Celebration should prove a highlight. Van Schaik also presents a show with fellow Dutch performer Hein van de Geyn. Both musicians are on top of their game.
“Hein and Paulien have stripped the music of all its frills,” enthused one critic.
“Their interaction is of an ethereal beauty. This must be how angels sing.”