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NORTH SEA JAZZ FESTIVAL – CAPE TOWN 2004 (article first published : 2003-12-23)

The North Sea Jazz Festival – Cape Town 2004, now known simply and affectionately as “Africa’s Grandest Gathering”, is about to celebrate its 5th anniversary in 2004 in style in its new home at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on the Mother City’s Foreshore.

With this timeous change of venue, and another star-studded artist line-up on the way, the members of the festival’s management team are confidently looking forward to another successful staging of the Jazz Festival in 2004. The completed line-up of artists will be, as always, the traditional, evenly split contingent of 32 international and African performers.

The artists confirmed to date include South Africa’s world-famous jazz diva Miriam Makeba performing with TRIO (Severieno Diaz de Oliveira, Leopoldo Fleming and William Salter); Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Cassandra Wilson; Cape Town's renowned jazz vocalist and guitarist Jonathan Butler, SA jazz singer Gloria Bosman; saxophonist Toon Roos and the Toon Roos Group, as well as trumpeter Basilio Márquez with his own septet, Eclipse. Also appearing will be the Lou Donaldson Group featuring legendary jazz keyboardist Dr. Lonnie Smith; and Femi Kuti, the eldest son of Fela Anikulapo Kuti who is an international star in his own right.

Other big names on the festival bill are SA saxophonist McCoy Mrubata; the Joe Lovano Trio; Feya Faku (trumpet and flugelhorn) in collaboration with Dutch musicians Gully Gudmunsson and Mete Erker; the Ngcukana Brothers (Ezra Ngcukana, Cyril Ngcukana, Fitzroy Ngcukana, Claude Ngcukana, and Duke Ngcukana); the Jonny Cooper Big Band with vocalist Donald Tshomela; saxophonist Sadao Watanabe; Sakhile with Sipho Gumede, Mabi Thabejane, and Khaya Mahlangu. The Sax African Summit - Let Freedom Ring features the talents of saxophonist Jackie McLean and altoist Rene McLean with special guest saxophonists James Moody and Gary Bartz, and also featuring Hotep Idris Galeta, Nat Reeves, Ronnie Burrage, and Okeyrema Asnate.

Rashid Lombard of esp-Afrika, who announced this initial group of performers, is again at the helm of the dynamic management team for the 2004 festival, alongside his Dutch partners, Theo van den Hoek and MOJO Concerts.

The North Sea Jazz Festival – Cape Town team won a prestigious award recently at a gala dinner at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in November when the festival scooped the 2003 Western Cape Tourism Award for ‘Best Tourism Event’. The award was given in recognition of the festival’s quality, top-class service and efforts to encourage community participation. Basil Cupido, the Chairman of the Western Cape Tourism Board, explained the reasons for the award: "Judging by (their) quality, the industry is not only growing in tourist numbers and innovation of products, but it is making strides towards transformation on a broader scale".

Due to temporary capacity constraints, the North Sea Jazz Festival – Cape Town 2004 will be staged in April, instead of the traditional last weekend in March, as has been the case for the previous festivals. The 2004 event will take place on April 10 and 11 but will revert to its traditional March-end staging from 2005. More information from the hotline at +27 83-123-JAZZ (or 5299) and line-up updates and other festival info can be found at www.nsjfcapetown.com

The organisers have been working with SAA to make a large variety of travel packages available. Details of these are available from SAA at +27 11 978 1145 or on www.flysaa.com




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