Cape Town Jazz Festival: Who to watch
The Cape Town Jazz festival is once again upon us and without disappointment, the line-up promises a diverse set of performers drawn from all over the globe. Here are our picks of the acts you can’t afford to miss out on seeing
Words: Tshiamo Seape
The Jazz Fest runs over the weekend 23rd and 24th of March and will play host to some must-see acts from the world of jazz and its musical relatives – soul, RnB and hip-hop. The host of DJ’s and producers that round out the line-up makes this easily one of the most dynamic festivals on the local calendar. With that being said let’s dive straight into who exactly will make the biggest impact at this years’ show.
BLINKY BILL & SIBOT’S AFROFUNK SPACESHIP (Kenya & South Africa)
Yes, you read that correctly. And while the name alone is worth the price of admission, Blinky Bill and Sibot are set to deliver a performance worthy of their headline billing. Blinky Bill is a Kenyan artist who first came to the world’s attention as one of the founding members of the progressive Kenyan outfit, “Just A Band”. His real breakout, however, came with the release of his solo EP “We Cut Keys While You Wait”- the project melding Afrofunk, hip-hop, jazz and electronic into something refined and energetic. His partner in crime at Jazz Fest will be the incomparable SA electronic pioneer, Sibot. Those familiar with his work – specifically his live show – can attest to the power of the thundering light and sound spectacular that Sibot puts on when he performs. With his close associations with the likes of Spoek Mathambo and Markus Worstorm, there is no doubt about Sibot’s pedigree as an artist and entertainer.
Black Motion (South Africa)
The dynamic duo of Smol and DJ Murder joined forces in 2010 to form easily one of South Africa’s most exciting acts, Black Motion. Fusing hip-hop, house and dance, Black Motion have created a sound that is at once challenging yet familiar, pushing boundaries while endearing themselves to local and international fans. For their efforts, Balck Motion have been the recipients of five SAMA Awards including two for Best Dance Album (2015/2017).
R+R = NOW (United States)
Robert Glasper has enlisted the help of his talented friends to form R+R = NOW, a supergroup consisting of Terrence Martin, jazz trumpeter Christian Scott, bassist Derrick Hodge, drummer Justin Tyson and multi-instrumentalist Taylor McFerrin – who headlined CTIJF 2017. The founding members, Glasper and Martin, have contributed to the music of Quincy Jones, Kendrick Lamar, Common, Kanye West, Mos Def and Q-Tip and together the band’s music spans hip-hop, jazz, R&B and soul. The artists assembled in R+R could be headliners in their own right, so a collective performance is truly a treat for anyone lucky enough to see them live.
Seu Jorge (Brazil)
Seu Jorge is a Brazilian singer/songwriter and actor who will be performing a tribute to David Bowie at this year’s festival. Jorge came to international prominence with his appearance in the film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou where he performed a number of Portuguese covers of David Bowie’s most famous songs contributing, in large part, to the film’s soundtrack. As popular now as it was then, Seu Jorge will honouring the legendary David Bowie with live renditions of the late singers greatest hits. A beautiful combination of nostalgia and exotic flair, Seu Jorge is sure to create an entirely new legion of fans when he hits the stage this weekend.
Corinne Bailey Rae ( United Kingdom)
Singer/songwriter Corinne Baily Rae made her debut with her chart-topping self-titled album in 2006. The album featured the global hits “Put Your Records On” and “Like a Star” and went on to sell 4 million copies worldwide. Since then, Corinne has continued to work and define her style – growing with every project. Audiences can expect to be enveloped by laid-back vocals and jazz-informed ballads as she makes her CTIJF debut.
Vijay Iyer (United States)
If you are looking for a truly transportive experience then making time to see Vijay Iyer is a must. One of the most accomplished musicians working to today, Vijay is a jazz pianist, composer, bandleader, producer, electronic musician and writer based in New York. Not only is he a prolific composer and performer – having released over 20 albums – he is also a Professor of music at Harvard University and the recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Grant. Vijay Iyer is joined in Cape Town by his band, The Vijay Iyer Sextet whose work together can only be described as transcendent. The energy innovation in the music the band has become famous for has won them universal acclaim. They have been described as a “dream team” and a ” band for the ages” and are poised to take the Cape Town stage by storm – don’t miss out.
For the full list of acts and show times, you can visit the Cape Town International Jazz Festival website here