Jazz lovers attending the 20th Standard Bank Joy of Jazz will bask in the glare of two bands whose talents celebrate bright musical futures, and the bank’s investment in young people.
These brilliant young musicians on the cusp of claiming their place under the jazz sun.To start one has only to marvel at the unfolding promise Benjamin Jephta
in the 2017 Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz, Benjamin Jephta.
The 25 year-old bassist has just released a new album titled The Evolution of an Undefined. The record and its recent performances bear the broadminded qualities of a creative clawing at the height of his powers. It’s evidence of his growing abilities as an instrumentalist and composer. Jephta leads an all-star band that demands respect with straight ahead jazz and segues into rap and slam poetry thanks to a collaboration with Jitsvinger. The Cape flats based, globe-trotting rapper brings a street savvy edge that is balanced by the soft and sultry vocals of soul singer songwriter, Eden Myrrh. They find magical accompaniment in the rest of Jephta’ s touring band including two former Standard Bank Young Artists, Kyle Shepherd and Bokani Dyer on piano and synths along with Sphelelo Mazibuko on drums. This high-powered rhythm section is melodically led by Keenan Ahrends on guitar and Sisonke Xonti on saxophone.
Back: L-R Daniel van der Walt (Vocals), Muneeb Hermans (Trumpet), Nicholas Pitman (Guitar), Godfrey Mntambo (Alto), Dalisu Ndlazi (Bass) Front: L-R Tshiamo Nkoane (Drums), Buddy Wells (Conductor), Zibusiso Makhathini (Piano), Thami Mahlangu (Tenor)
Then there is the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band (SBNYJB), which was constituted during the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. The eight-piece band was chosen from among hundreds of hopeful young musicians during a weeklong series of auditions. This is why they deserve the right to claim the title of the best youth jazz band in the country. The annually chosen band is led by a duly commissioned conductor. This year the band is conducted by jazz saxophonist and composer, Buddy Wells. He will marshal the band as it plays a repertoire of tunes he has especially arranged for them. These will include some South African evergreens and some treasured international jazz gems. The gig promises to feature some exhilarating songs that reflects and balances the conductor’s musical priorities with the best aspects of the young players’ abilities and interests.
This year’s SBNYJB includes rising stars, Daniel van der Walt on Vocals, Muneeb Hermans on trumpet, Nicholas Pitman on guitar, Godfrey Mntambo on alto saxophone, and Thami Mahlangu on tenor and a rhythm section that includes, Dalisu Ndlazi on bass, Tshiamo Nkoane on drums and Zibusiso Makhathini on piano.
Benjamin Jephta and the SBNYJB will be performing at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz on the Diphala Stage on Friday 29th September. For more information visit www.standardbank.com/joyofjazz