By: Kagiso Mnisi
Jazz education and development
The most fabulous things about any people are the legends they produce. ‘Legends’ in this instance is a deliberate reference to stories and knowledge. In the context of the forthcoming attraction that is the Jazzuary Masterclasses of 2021, aptly titled ‘Rebirth Of School : Jazz education and development’, the idea of knowledge production foregrounded in Jazz movement is deciphered. As a nod to Miles Davis’ seminal album, The Rebirth Of Cool, the masterclasses observe the tensions that exist in attaining, engaging and disseminating thought between academic, corporate and the informal contexts. All in the name of Jazz.
But at its essence, Jazz is the music of the people. Imagined out of Speakeasy’s paddling bootlegged hooch amid the waft of unruliness and resistance from Harlem to Lady Selbourne and even Mannenberg, the artform reeks erotically pungent. And like most gentrified black art forms, the unavoidable assimilation of Jazz into the world of capital makes a compelling case of how this invention has had the uncanny ability to be fluid. Be it existing on the page as an anthropological wonder or as the soundtrack to the shoe sliding Sunday digga dancers of Mamelodi, Jazz is a community builder.
Jazzuary Masterclasses 2021
It is in this vein that the Jazzuary Masterclasses of 2021 will feature a cast of acclaimed actors who have walked both the white walled corridors of academia just as they have imbibed the music from backyard parties. Some of these folks include the uber historian Ntombizikhona Valela whose enthralling sermon on ‘overlooked histories’ is a must see/hear.
The roll call also has the legal eagle outfit in the form Sosela Advisory comprised of Nothando Migogo and Andrew Curnow who lay bare how the core of the independent music business in the streaming era is a perpetual game of licencing intellectual property. Impresarios such as Khaya Mahlangu and Lex Futshane – who in their own right have risen to guru-like status as seasoned musicians – drop knowledge on how they as elders in the game are learning from their students. WorldWide FM jock and die-hard record digger, Atiyyah Khan draws attention to the significance of vinyl as a historic artefact.
Other contributors include:
- Msaki (Singer and Songwriter)
- Njabulo Zwane (Writer, Archivist and Researcher)
- Sibusiso Mashiloane (pianist and composer)
- Sifiso Khanyile (Film Director)
- Ziza Muftic (Teacher and composer)
- Shannon Mowday (Saxophonist, composer, and arranger)
- Luyanda Madope (Producer and Pianist)
- Salim Washington (Saxophonist & Teacher)
The cabal of musos and thinkers who have contributed to JM21 all have a similar on the role that Jazz plays in communities and that is to pass on stories from generation to generation in the most earnest and unsanitized way. Just as it has always been the case.
The Rebirth Of School Masterclasses will go live on 4th of January 2021.