Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2017
Dust off your sturdy shoes, ready your patience and awaken your cultural curiosity. It’s almost time for the 2017 Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF). Time to fall in love with jazz again, as if for the first time. We know you’ve been there before, you’ve heard a riff or some second-hand news about the history of a song you’ve always known.
At CTIJF you may also be privileged to watch a stranger (likely, several) fall in love with the music and the art, perhaps for the first time. You know the look when a sceptic thinks they’ll give a performance half a chance, but end up falling hopelessly in love. It’s wonderful to witness the split second a person changes their mind positively. Even more so when the catalyst is jazz. And a concert as big as the CTIJF is the perfect place to watch people fall in love, over and over.
Over the years, however, it has been criticised for pandering to popular genres of music to draw crowds. “Why don’t they just play jazz?” critics have asked. Financial experts have said that the festival is a success exactly because of the combination of music styles. But isn’t this selling the reach and influence of jazz short?
Speaking about Jazzuary 2017 and the return to the Masterclass concept, Greg Maloka, Kaya FM’s managing director, mentioned that he was impressed with the station’s playlist for the month of Jazzuary. As the playlist for Jazzuary 2017 showed, jazz is in everything, all it takes is a closer, sharper listen. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the CTIJF stage. And it is in live performances that an artist’s influences come to the fore.
Must-see artists at the 2017 Cape Town International Jazz Festival
The CTIJF line-up is always a mixed bag of genres and experiences. Here are the artists you should not miss:
Siya Makuzeni is one of the most interesting jazz artists working in Africa today. The trombonist and vocalist – occasionally with her group, the Siya Makuzeni Sextet, comprising other young jazz musicians – puts on exciting and unique performances.
Her work, characterised by the experimental use of electronic devices to manipulate and distort her voice, take her performances to another level. She has also never shied away from the fact that her music is influenced by the traditional musical practices of the amaXhosa.
American saxophonist Kamasi Washington has been called a jazz phenomenon and is a testament to the magnitude of jazz and how far it reaches into black culture. In 2014, he featured on Kendrick Lamar’s seminal album, To Pimp a Butterfly. A notable jazz composer himself, especially for the younger generation, Washington’s three-hour debut album, The Epic, released in 2015, was hailed by some critics as the second-coming of the 1970s jazz-fusion era.
There’s a reason Nomfundo Xaluva’s albums have received awards – she’s a brilliant pianist and vocalist. Whether covering African jazz classics or performing her own compositions, Xaluva is breathtaking and precise all at once. Her performances are generous and evocative.
Not one to discard her roots and musical traditions in favour of assimilation and crossover appeal, Xaluva is also a Miriam Makeba scholar.
The American R & B group En Vogue are back at the festival this year and we assume this is due to popular demand. Expect beautiful, soulful vocals, while the long-time fans among you can experience the nostalgia of hearing music you’ve loved for over 20 years, live for the first time.
Dope Saint Jude
The Cape Town International Jazz Festival happens on Dope Saint Jude’s door step. The Cape Flats-raised young rapper and activist personifies what it means to be young and impacted by art and politics — she and others of the younger generation are using the arts, music and activism to make themselves heard. As a member of Generation Woke, her performance is bound to leave the audience at ease.
Kaya FM Listeners Tour to the Cape Town International Jazz Festival
As has become Kaya tradition, we are again embarking on the Kaya FM CTIJF 2017 listeners tour. You don’t want to miss out on the music and how it feels to enjoy it, while surrounded by fellow music lovers. Learn more about the trip here.
Will you be attending CTIJF this year?