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HOUSE & GARDEN JAZZ (article first published : 2007-06-20)

Jazz lovers are in for a musical treat at the East Coast Radio House & Garden Show which takes place at the Durban Exhibition Centre from June 29 where the Rainbow Restaurant and Jazz Club in association with the Zulu Jazz Lounge will present a live jazz festival over the first weekend of the show.

The Rainbow opened in 1981 and has been a watering hole for music lovers ever since. Owner Neil Comfort, along with management of the stylish new music venue, the Zulu Jazz Lounge, have put together an awesome line-up of musicians who will entertain showgoers on the grassed area over the opening weekend of the show.

Relax and unwind over a delicious meal from Bean Bag Bohemia, the restaurant adjoining the festival area, and listen to the sweet sounds of some of KZNíS finest musical talent.

The Festival will feature some of Durbanís best jazz and Afro-jazz acts as well as a surprise package in the form of hot new rock act, Gonzo Republic, going acoustic with a funky groove set to open up the Festival on June 29 at 18h00, in a show entitled Cover Us.

Gonzo Republic have rapidly established themselves as one of the most promising contemporary groups coming out of Durban and for this performance will be taking the rock edge out of their set and going the acoustic funk route with accomplished bassist Logan Byrne swapping his electric bass for a double bass. The rest of the quartet features Josh Beachey on lead guitar, Steve du Plessis on drums and Clayton Human on vocals. The twist to the show will come with their last track, which will be a cover of an original number from the Thula Afro Jazz Bandís repertoire.

Thula Afro Jazz Band will follow immediately, with their opening number being a cover of one of Gonzo Republicís original compositions. Thula Afro Jazz Band act as the Rainbow Restaurantís resident band and have a broad repertoire of originals, standards and covers best described as township jive. Featured in Thula are drummer Thabani Luthuli, bassist Bongani Maduna, trumpeter Mndeni Buthelezi, with vocalist Nathi Zuma and Chris Gumede on keyboard.

Opening up the Saturday Session from 15h00 to 18h00 on June 30, legendary pianist Pat Matshikiza performs with bassist KB Maphumulo and drummer Nkosi Mhlongo. Matshikiza is best known as composer of the track Tshona. This jazz legend was born into a musical family in 1938, and has travelled the length and breadth of South Africa as well as undertaking various overseas excursions. In the late 1990ís, he was the resident pianist at the Durban Hilton before he relocated to Johannesburg where he recorded the album Seasons, Masks and Keys. In 2005 he moved back to Durban. The Thula Afro Jazz Band will close this session with an 80-minute set that is sure to have you up and grooving.

On July 1, Four Wise Men will ease into the afternoon at 14h00 under the leadership of pianist Barney Bophela. The balance of the quartet features Mazwakhe Gumede on bass guitar, Mbongeni Zidani on drums and Dumisani Shange, son of the late Sandile Shange, on guitar.

The next act, Jika, has made tremendous impact in the past two years. Bandleader is bassist Bongani Nkwanyana, who was formerly second bassist in the late great Sipho Gumedeís band. The group also features another musician from that band, keyboardist Nelson Gumede. Mduduzi Mahlobo is on lead guitar whilst Thabiso Mnanyana features on drums, Simphiwe Cebekhulu on keyboards and Siyabonga Duma on alto saxophone.

Closing off the festival will be a line-up featuring some of Durbanís finest musicians performing under the name of the Zulu Jazz Lounge Ensemble. The group features Philani Ngidi on bass guitar, Paki Peloele on drums, Melvin Peters on piano and Paul Kock on saxophone. Sensational singer Andile Mseleku, who has a number of hit albums out on the Sony/BMG label, will join them.

Technical support for the jazz festival will be by students from the Durban University of Technologyís Department of Entertainment Technology with supervision from senior lecturer Izan Greyling.

The jazz festival is the perfect place to chill after experiencing the many exciting displays at the East Coast Radio House & Garden Show. Furniture, dťcor, art, plants, garden accessories, childrenís toys, household appliances, food, and entertainment are just some of the attractions of this premier home and lifestyle event.

So if itís the laid back sound of heavenly jazz youíre after, a taste of delicious food, or the chance to catch up on some shopping and hot new design tips at the many interesting stands, pop on down to the Durban Exhibition Centre to see why this yearís show theme is ĎAlive with Ideasí.

The East Coast Radio House & Garden Show runs at the Durban Exhibition Centre from June 29 to July 8. Admission R40 (R25 for under 18, and senior citizens over 60) with children under seven admitted free. Visit the showís website www.housegardenshow.co.za or call Kagiso Exhibitions & Events on 031 368 7630.




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