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JOY OF JAZZ (article first published : 2002-06-9)

This year’s Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival taking place from July 2 to July 6 at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown offers special treats covering the widest rage of jazz styles, along with a good helping of the blues.

The Festival kicks-off on July 2 with a three hour blues party at Rhodes Club, featuring Humble Man, with guest artists Masakeke Youth Choir. The exciting blend of a blues-inspired Fender Stratocaster guitar and the powerful voices of the choir under the baton of Makhi Mka will make for an unforgettable aural experience.

Performing the following day, is Judith Sephuma, who was recently awarded Best Female Artist at the Standard Bank SAMA Awards. Sephuma’s star has been rising at a rapid rate, and her much anticipated debut album A Smile, A Cry, A Dance won her Best Jazz Local Album. The producer of that album is guitar sensation Selaelo Selota, well known for his beautiful recordings and his incendiary live performances. Selota will perform solo as well as in a double header with Sephuma.

Also making an appearance at the Festival is Ernie Smith, well known for his unique assimilation of jazz, African and R&B. He was awarded Best Newcomer and Best Adult Contemporary English Album at the SAMA’s.

Then there’s Loading Zone, The Alvin Dyers Band featuring Leslie Klein-Smith, Voice featuring Marcus Wyatt, The Andrew Tracy Steel Band and a R&B Jazz party with Jazz DJ Shaun Harry.

The Monument Theatre will host one of South Africa’s top performers, Ringo Madlingozi, who originally hails from the Eastern Cape. He has performed with the likes of Hugh Masekela and Simply Red, as well as at the 2002 North Sea Jazz Festival in Cape Town.

Ending the Festival with a bang on July 6, is South Africa’s own “White Zulu and music supremo, Johnny Clegg. Clegg recently appeared at sold-out performances at Johannesburg’s Civic Theatre as well as Cape Town’s Kirstenbosch Gardens. He hasn’t performed in Grahamstown for a while and it is recommended that tickets be bought as soon as possible, as this is sure to be another sell out show.

“The aim this year at Grahamstown is to showcase South Africa’s own best talentm” says founder and producer of the jazz festival, Henry Shields. “This hugely talented lineup covers an amazingly wide range of styles and there are a few countries in the world who can produce such quality and diversity. The all-South African spotlight does focus especially on Eastern Cape artists and these include Ringo Madlingozi, East London’s popular blues band, Humble Man, and the very experienced Andrew Tracey Steel Band. If the music you enjoy is African, American, traditional, mainstream, smooth or blues, this programme has performers of the highest caliber.”

Book at Computicket. More information from Michelle Kearney at Lakwela Communications on 021 465-7045 or 083 661-4117/




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