03 July 2019 Volume :0 Issue :0


Saxophonist, Ernest Dawkins of the United States.Click here for isiZulu version

UKZN’s Centre for Jazz and Popular Music (CJPM) in the School of Arts proudly presented SOWETO EXCHANGE - a sonic jazz hip-hop group led by saxophonist Ernest Dawkins of the United States – on Wednesday, 6 February.

This hip collaboration from Chicago was accompanied by some of South Africa’s’ finest musicians.

Dawkins and his colleagues performed original music that promises to be genre defying and familiarly jazzy all at once.

The ensemble included pianist Alexis Lombre and drummer Jeremiah Collier, both of Chicago, and trumpeter Thabo Sikhakhane of KwaZulu-Natal.

Dawkins, a distinguished educator and founder of non-profit organisation, Live the Spirit, is one of the world’s premiere saxophonists and composers. He is an entrepreneur with years of experience working with new media technologies to produce and promote his work and that of the jazz community online and in digital venues.

He has well established roots and relationships within the South African jazz fraternity and proudly counts the late Zim Ngqawana and Feya Faku among his most cherished musical brothers.

Lombre is a young professional jazz pianist who is making her way onto the jazz scene. She is currently studying at the University of Michigan under the tutelage of Grammy Award-winning Robert Hurst. Raised on Chicago’s south side, she discovered early that ‘the true essence of music is not only about what you hear but, more importantly how music makes you feel’. She believes her musical mission is to keep the “soul” in music alive.

Collier is a meticulous jazz drummer whose undeniable talents have been nurtured by Dawkins. The adolescent Colliers' talent saw him handpicked by the Thelonious Monk Institute as one of several music students from public performing arts high schools who would present jazz centred talks and perform in other cities as part of the institute.

Sekhukhune is the leader of the Thabo Sekhukhune sextet, an instrumentalist and alumnus of the Durban Music School and is set on becoming one of South Africa’s best trumpet players.

Words: Melissa Mungroo and Thulile Zama 

Photograph: Supplied

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