29th Annual Jazz Jol at UKZN
UKZN’s Centre for Jazz and Popular Music (CJPM) will host its highly anticipated 29th annual Jazz Jol on 27 October at the CJPM. This year’s popular music event features a variety of talented musicians including Sweet Concept (a UKZN Alumni Band), UKZN Vocal Group and UKZN’s Big Band along with a selection of students taking to the stage in an evening tailor-made for lovers of jazz and popular music.
Jazz lecturer Mr Neil Gonsalves said, ‘The Jazz Jol was not only started, all those years ago, as an event for music-lovers but also in an endeavour to raise funds for the Ronnie Mandonsela Scholarship. The Scholarship provides bursaries for deserving UKZN Music students from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as helps to fund students’ travel visas for overseas trips, and national travel and accommodation to the National Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown and other educational festivals, workshops and conferences.’
Gonsalves believes that the issue of mobility, of getting around and sharing ideas and networking is key to a musician’s future success. He feels through mobility musicians are able to exchange knowledge and gain important national and international experience.
‘We are particularly pleased to welcome Sweet Concept to this year’s Jazz Jol,’ enthuses Gonsalves. ‘This is a UKZN Alumni Band that features Thabani Gapara (alto sax) who now lives in New Zealand, Siyanda Zulu (trumpet), Siya Mthethwa (keyboard), Bheka Mthethwa (bass) and Sbu Zondi (drums) – all of whom would have been showcased at a Jazz Jol in the past.’
Sweet Concept was formed in 2006 by Siya Mthethwa, Gapara and Zulu. Most of the band started off as backup singers for some of South Africa’s more prominent and illustrious artists including Sazi Dlamini, Siphokazi, Judith Sephuma and Ernie Smith to mention a few. The band won further accolades after competing in the Suncoast Jazz competition, winning prizes in the Best Band and Best Composition categories.
‘The band members have, since 2010, pursued individual music career paths in performance, production and education and occasionally come together to perform, so we are delighted to be hosting them this year,’ says Gonsalves. ‘Recently, Bheka Mthethwa, the group’s bassist released his debut album titled Supernal Sounds, and all of them have a string of credits to their names.’
The band will perform a variety of original music that reflects the variety of rich perspectives each member has collected in the past five years and will provide a true reflection of the sound of South Africa.
UKZN Voices directed by well-known Durban musician and UKZN Jazz Voice lecturer Ms Debbie Mari, features singers from the Jazz and Popular Voice programmes in the School of Arts. Singing mostly close harmony arrangements, the vocal jazz ensemble will perform A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square, Java Jive, Almost is Never Enough and Charlie Chaplin’s best loved composition Smile.
The group comprises Andiswa Maduna, Nomthandazo Madiya, Neli Skhosana, Monique Naude (soprano), Nomalanga Khanyile, Amanda Biyela, Wandithanda Makandula (Alto), Busisiwe Hlokoza, Siphelele Mthiyane, Sanele Khubisa (Tenor), Thembelani Mkoka and Thabani Dlamini (Bass).
Said Mari, ‘The Jazz Jol provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase the talent within the Jazz programme at UKZN…and there is a lot of it…but more importantly it is an opportunity for the students to make a contribution towards the Ronnie Madonsela Scholarship Fund which assists many students annually.’
Certainly a major drawcard to the Jazz Jol is the appearance of the UKZN Big Band 2017 directed by Burton Naidoo, and featuring students from UKZN. The band this year focuses on House Music – an unusual approach to electronic music that started taking the world by storm in the 1980s.
House Music, is characterised by its “four to the floor”, groove and minimalistic harmonic and melodic sequences. The UKZN Big Band House Performance will focus more on African House Music such as Micasa, Davido and Black Coffee and the repertoire features arrangements by UKZN Students Phumlani Mtiti, Riley Giandhari, and Sinalo Zulu.
This year’s Jazz Jol is funded by Concerts SA, a joint South African/Norwegian live music development project housed within the SAMRO Foundation.
Tickets will be available at the door at R120, pensioners R80 and students R60.
For more information contact Thulile Zama on 031 260 3385 or email Zamat1@ukzn.ac.za