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PAOLO FRESU (article first published : 2005-03-16)

Italian jazz trumpeting legend Paolo Fresu teams up with the KZN Vintage Jazz Legends primarily to garner footage for a film/documentary but also to appear in two public performances: a lunchtime concert at the Rainbow in Pinetown on Good Friday and an evening concert at the Krakatoa at Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom on March 26 as part of their Sounds of Sibaya Easter weekend music festival.

Musical visionary, festival director and international jazz impresario, Paolo Fresu, was a guest artist at last year’s Awesome Africa Music Festival in Durban’s Albert Park in September – the anchor event in the city’s Celebrate Durban festivities. At this watershed festival, he met and performed with the KZN Vintage Jazz Legends. Out of this joint performance developed a musical affinity and ongoing relationship culminating in Paolo returning to Durban this Easter with internationally-acclaimed Italian film maker Ferdinando Vincentini Orgnani from ALBA Productions in Italy.

Fernando and SA filmmaker Jamil Qhubeka are working on a full-length broadcast-quality music film/documentary of the Paolo Fresu – KZN Vintage Jazz Legends collaboration to be distributed internationally by the Italian National TV distribution company, RAI Trade. It is highly likely that this documentary will subsequently be circulated to the European film market and it is also anticipated that it will have a cinema distribution option in much the same way as the Buena Vista Social Club.

Major international music magazine, Rolling Stone, will send a Rolling Stone photo-journalist to Durban to do a feature on the event.

Paolo Fresu is a major player on the European music scene, first with his own quintet and then branching out in a variety of diverse projects, including co-ordinating (in his home town) the Siena Jazz Festival in Tuscany. His discography numbers an astonishing 130 titles from contemporary music to straight jazz and from dance to jazz/folk fusions.

His performance with the KZN Vintage Jazz Legends features Ndikho Xaba and Theo Bophela. This 26 piece big band evokes the forgotten marabi and township jazz styles of the ‘20s &’30s. Made up of “All Stars” in the Buena Vista style of older campaigners, the band promises to become an important mirror of South Africa’s illustrious past musical heritage.

Two performances are scheduled. These include a three-set lunchtime concert at the Rainbow Restaurant & Jazz Club in 23 Stanfield Lane in Pinetown on Good Friday (March 25) which starts at 13h00. Tickets R25. For more information call 031 702 9161 or 083 463 8044.

Sibaya Casino & Entertainment World is hosting Sounds of Sibaya – an Easter weekend music festival. The festival kicks off on Good Friday March 25 from 20h00, Dawnay - the multi-talented musician (ex Dr Victor and The Rasta Rebels drummer and back-up singer) who gave us the internationally acclaimed hit "U Touch Me".

On March 26, the afternoon slot is filled by the Neil Goncalves Quartet at 16h00. With Neil Goncalves on piano and velvet-voiced Natalie Rungan on vocals, this established Durban jazz outfit performs a wide variety of jazz styles from latin-jazz to funk and fusion. At 17h30, Paolo Fresu and the KZN Vintage Jazz Legends take to the stage followed by a late night slot with Dawnay.

Then on March 27 at 16h00, Saraswathie Shainaaz will perform exciting up-tempo modern Indian music. This 11 piece group from Phoenix with a 35 year history were one of the most well received groups at the 2004 Awesome Africa Festival, and have performed in India, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

At 17h30 the internationally respected visiting Swiss/Dutch jazz singer and composer Susanne Abbuehl makes her only performance in Durban, fresh from the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Her international debut recording April featured jazz musical settings of the poetry of e. e. cummings and renderings of compositions by Carla Bley. April received worldwide critical acclaim and won an Edison Music Award (Dutch grammy) in Holland. With her group, Susanne has performed at numerous festivals in Europe and in Canada. In her music, she is looking for a non-performing, “private” quality which includes Indian meditational elements.

Tickets for Sounds of Sibaya are R30 and are available from the ticket office on 031-580 5555.

The tour is facilitated jointly by the Italian Consulate in Durban and Awesome Africa and is supported by the eThekwini Municipality. The KZN Vintage Jazz Legends is sponsored by the NAC and the organizers wish to thank the Playhouse Studio for providing rehearsal and recording space and infrastructure. Susanne Abbuehl is sponsored by Pro-Helvetia, Switzerland.




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