Posts Tagged ‘marcus wyatt’

Lionel Loueke performs in the DSG Hall in Grahamstown on 3 July 2015 at the 2015 National Arts Festival. Loueke is originally from Benin in West Africa but is currently living in New York. (Photo: CUEPIX/Kate Janse van Rensburg)

As I look back on this year’s Standard Bank Jazz Festival, I realise how much music I missed. But I had some great highs: Lionel Loueke’s exciting collaboration with four SA artists, whom he praised effusively on stage, was the stand-out gig for me. Vocalist Siya Makuzeni, flugelhorn/trumpet player Marcus Wyatt, bassist Shane Cooper, and drummer Ayande Sikade clearly loved working with this magical Benin-born guitarist.

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Before the Cape Town International Jazz Festival there was the North Sea Jazz Festival – Cape Town (don’t ask!). There I attended many of the workshops organised by the late Hotep Idris Galeta. The extraordinary contribution from a little-known Benin guitarist at one of these gatherings made us all sit up, and get up!

Since then Lionel (pronounced Leeon- ell) Loueke has made a considerable impact on the US jazz scene, being mentored by veteran jazz masters Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, who recognised both his talent and his uniqueness.

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Grammy Award-winning composer and conductor Maria Schneider played to a full house and much acclaim this past weekend. Photo: Cuepix/Ashlee Wilson

Seats for multi-award-winning US composer, arranger and bandleader Maria Schneider were at a premium on Saturday night. Everyone, it seemed, wanted to see if the Standard Bank Jazz Festival headliner lived up to the hype. I ended up sitting right next to the left-hand speaker. Despite my having no view of virtuoso pianist Olga Konkova, my seat turned out to be the best in the house. Aside from the glorious sounds from the monitor, a close-up view of the blonde maestro conducting her band was priceless. It was Schneider’s precise hand signals, combined with a dancer’s sensibility, that most enchanted. It was a show on its own.

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When I first heard Carine Bonnefoy with Deborah Tanguy a few days ago, I was deeply impressed by her sophisticated pianism, and so I eagerly anticipated her set yesterday, as it would also showcase her as composer. Also featuring Marcus Wyatt (trumpet), Tarjei Grimsby (trombone), Steinar Nickelsen (Hammond organ) and Kristijan Krajncan (drums), the set promised more of the soulful and exuberant playing that has characterised the 2011 Standard Bank Jazz Festival thus far.

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Vocalist Tutu Puoane’s set with Marcus Wyatt (trumpet), Ewout Pierreux (piano), Nicolas Thys (bass), Lieven Venken (drums) and Tony Paco (percussion) yesterday was a rare and special event. A fortuitous combination of exactly the right music played by exactly the right musicians, the gig was at once rootsy and sophisticated, entertaining and spiritually uplifting.

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If you ask who is one of the kookiest musicians that South Africa has to offer, Carlo Mombelli springs to mind. But, apparently, he is only mildly kooky compared to the French musicians with whom he is performing at the Paris-Joburg gig tonight, which isdefinitely one of the highlights at this year’s Jazz Festival programme.

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