Magical and creative musical collaborations will come into sharp focus at the 2018 Standard Bank Jazz Festival, which runs in Grahamstown from 28 June to 7 July during the National Arts Festival. As the oldest jazz festival on the African continent, SBJF 2018 will see a hot line-up of musicians from around the world collaborating across genre and geography, generation and gender to play music that celebrates various grand jazz legacies with youthful verve.

Leading the way is Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz THANDI NTULI, who brings her enterprising band Rebirth of Cool, which has found a fresh approach to playing jazz music in dialogue with everything from soul and rap to R&B. The group features a traditional band formation augmented by DJ Kenzhero spinning classic hits on the turntables. The pianist will also lead her group of rising jazz stars to present music from her new album, Exiled.

Madala Kunene

Madala Kunene

The legendary “King of the Zulu Guitar”, MADALA KUNENE will ascend to the stage to lead a creative collaboration that brings together electric and acoustic folk sounds. Acts such as The Brother Moves On, and the new face of Afrofolk Bongeziwe Mabandla will join Madala Kunene in an extraordinary night of music.

The ever-so-gracious heir to Miriam Makeba’s musical throne, her granddaughter ZENZI MAKEBA LEE will partner with AMANDA TIFFIN to present a collaborative project showcasing the power and prowess of their respective styles as vocalists. The pair will lead a band that includes bassist Romy Brauteseth, Afrika Mkhize on piano and Marlon Witbooi on drums. The collaboration has been in the making for a number of years and will come to fruition in Jazztown this winter.

Then there’s LISETTE SPINNLER and JULIE FAHRER – two incredible female vocalists from Switzerland performing with an excellent South African rhythm section as a nod to the collaborative spirit that underlies jazz in Grahamstown. They are in South Africa on residency made possible by Pro-Helvetia. The duo will lead drummer Peter Auret, Thandi Ntuli on piano, and bassist Shane Cooper in an energetic collaborative project that reflects the spirit of Jazztown where young and older musicians, legends and emerging artists get together to define possible futures for jazz music. They also join pianist Nduduzo Makhathini and his band in a collaboration on his latest compositions.

Percy Mabandu

Percy Mabandu

In a rare creative convergence of literature and music, PERCY MABANDU will collaborate with an all-star jazz band that includes pianist Andile Yenana, Shane Cooper on bass, Ayanda Sikade on drums and Sisonke Xonti on tenor saxophone to mark the 50th anniversary of the historic jazz album, Yakhal’inkomo by the late great Winston Mankunku Ngozi.

From Ghana comes the fiery pianist VICTOR DEY JNR, who teams up with South African musicians Marcus Wyatt, Sisonke Xonti, Romy Brauteseth and Ayanda Sikade, while pianist ANDILE YENANA presents his latest compositions with a combination of Swiss and South African musicians.

The ultimate collaboration will take place each night at the STANDARD BANK JAZZ & BLUES CAFé, where South African musicians will meet up with some of the international artists, ending the Festival day with a never-to-be-repeated jam session.

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The Standard Bank Jazz Festival, Grahamstown is produced by Eastern Cape Jazz Promotions. The Standard Bank Jazz Festival is presented with support funding from Music Norway; The Embassy of Argentina; Concerts South Africa; Paul Bothner Music; ProHelvetia Johannesburg; The Royal Netherlands Embassy; SAMRO; and the Swiss Arts Council.