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STANDARD BANK JOY OF JAZZ (article first published : 2005-08-20)

The 2005 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Jo'burg International Festival boasts one of the most impressive line-ups of international and South African jazz artists ever seen in the country, and is central to Standard Bank's commitment to jazz sponsorship. The Festival will be held in the Newtown Precinct on August 26 and 27. The opening night on 25 August will be staged at the Standard Bank Arena.

Featured significantly alongside global and African jazz stars like Lee Ritenour, Hugh Masekela, Stanley Jordan, Kunle, Dianne Reeves, Themba Mkhize and Dave Koz, are several new artists who are an integral part of Standard Bank's ongoing involvement in the development of South African jazz.

Chief amongst those is the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band - selected annually at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, which Standard Bank also supports as a headline sponsor. Already having captivated audiences in Grahamstown at the July festival, the 2005 version of this highly regarded band plays the Bassline on August 26 and the Market Main Theatre on August 27.

The critically acclaimed Kwani Experience is another example of Standard Bank's very real role in unearthing new talent. The group was discovered in collaboration with Kaya FM and Sheer Music through a talent-search competition for young groundbreaking Johannesburg musicians and their mix of jazz with other urban music elements is likely to be a big draw card at the Festival. Kwani Experience plays the Horror Café on August 27.

There are also over 10 development jazz bands playing at Nikki's Oasis and Shivava and during the festival entrance to both venues is free to jazz lovers.

Yet another feature of Standard Bank's commitment to jazz development are the development workshops taking place during the festival. Says Khanyi Mlambo, Director, Group Sponsorships at Standard Bank: "This is something that we have initiated over the years because we believe that young jazz musicians should be exposed to the skills and knowledge of more experienced and older musicians, as well as the insights and experience of the international stars who are here for the Festival."

Workshops will be run by Dianne Reeves, Lee Ritenour, Dave Koz, Albert Beger, and Rachelle Ferrelle and will take place in venues around Gauteng and the Newtown Cultural Precinct to make them accessible to grassroots jazz musicians.

The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Jo'burg International Festival also breathes life into another aspect of growth: its location in the heart of Johannesburg's Newtown Cultural Precinct. Explains Mlambo: "The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Jo'burg International Festival contributes significantly to the regeneration of Johannesburg's inner city and Standard Bank is pleased to be central to its continued development. This festival has played a part in changing the city's creative and cultural landscape through the 'jazz village' that comes to life in Newtown during the festival."

Mlambo says Standard Bank will continue to focus on jazz development in years to come. "It is important for Standard Bank to show jazz lovers and fans in South Africa that it is also contributing to the development and growth of the jazz genre through education and development programmes. Standard Bank will continue to support and sponsor development and youth education programmes amongst jazz musicians because we believe that this is where the future growth of the industry and genre lies."




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