THE National Arts Festival is introducing a new jazz festival venue in Grahamstown this year – which is set to be the late night place to be for aficionados of the genre who will witness the cream of jazz artists.
The Standard Bank Jazz and Blues Cafe will be at the Lowlander, St Andrew’s College, offering a jazz show at 9.30pm, with an 11.30pm jazz jam session or late-night blues gig, where audiences can catch musicians letting off steam and butting musical heads late into the night, every night.
The opening act features a collaboration between some of the hippest young jazz musicians in the country: Neil Engel (trumpet), Nduduzo Makhathini (piano), Romy Brauteseth (bass) and Ayanda Sikade (drums).
Cape Town saxophonist Dan Shout has just released his second album, fresh from a stint of international touring in Johnny Clegg’s band.
He appears with Brauteseth, Gorm Helfjord (guitar), and Jonno Sweetman (drums).
There’s also an exciting young funk band from Amsterdam – Bruut! – featuring Maarten Hogenhuis (sax), Folkert Oosterbeeck (Hammond organ), Thomas Rolff (bass) and Felix Schlarmann (drums).
Lee Thomson is an innovative young trumpeter from Cape Town who plays in a wide variety of musical styles.
He takes to the stage with Makhathini, Helfjord, Nick Williams (bass) and Lloyd Martin (drums).
From Rhini, Grahamstown, comes Imbaula – a band in the genuine South African jazz tradition – with Julius Moyake (sax), Moses Kade (trombone), Lee Gary Sias (guitar), Leslie Demaary (guitar), Michael Smith (bass) and Ben Dlukulu (drums).
Four jazz lecturers from Rhodes University form a quartet under saxophonist Rick van Heerden.
He is joined by Nishlyn Ramanna (piano), Kingsley Buitendag (bass), and Steve Ellis (drums).
The Lowlander will provide a home to nightly jazz jams – or late-night blues with Robin Auld, Albert Frost and friends at 11.30pm – and is bound to play host to a wealth of spontaneity.