It takes two (or three)

The Dinaledi, Diphala, Conga and Mbira stages are set to feature a series of collaborations between a selection of some of the biggest international and local names in jazz at the 2015 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz. The festival takes place at the Sandton Convention Centre from 24 to 26 September.
Kicking off a festival centred on collaboration is South African trumpeter Prince Lengoasa, who will introduce the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz aMaqhawekhazi band, an 18 piece all-female band, which will celebrate the music of Letta Mbuli and Sibongile Khumalo. (Dinaledi Stage, Thursday 24 September)
One of the anticipated collaborations of the three-day festival sees father and daughter Jaco Maria and Wanda Baloyi sharing the stage for the first time. The duo are originally from Mozambique, with Maria moving to South Africa in the ‘80s. Maria has worked with some of Africa’s finest musicians, including the likes of Jimmy Dludlu and Judith Sephuma. Wanda Baloyi followed in her father’s musical footsteps and joined girl group Ghetto Luv. Her popularity increased in 2001 when she collaborated with Thembi Seete on the song ‘Sure Ntombazane’. Baloyi released her solo album Voices in 2003. The album, which was produced by Jimmy Dludlu, earned her a KORA All Africa Music Award for Best African Arrangement. She has since released four albums, winning a Metro FM Award for Best Urban Jazz for her album Love and Life. (Mbira Stage, Friday 25 September)
Jimmy Dludlu and Friends will see the popular South African guitarist team up with Cape Verdean singer Sara Tavares; percussion player and dancer from the Ivory Coast, Manou Gallo; Mozambican Elisa Domingas ‘Mingas’ Jamisse and South African jazz singer and composer, Nono Nkoane. Jimmy Dludlu has been called a ‘guitar maestro’ and named among the best guitarists in the world. Dludlu has shared the stage with world-acclaimed artists including Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Winston Mankunku Ngozi, Abdullah Ibrahim, Barney Rachabane, Morris Goldberg, Basil Coetzee, Robbie Jansen, Jonas Gwangwa, Sibongile Khumalo, Zim Ngqawana and Moses Molelekwa. His albums have earned him some of South Africa’s most prestigious awards, including two SAMAs (South African Music Awards) in 2006, one for Best Male Artist of the Year and another for Best Jazz Album of the year for his album Corners of My Soul. (Conga Stage, Friday 25 September)
Three of the most talented and adventurous live performers in world jazz unite for a very special trio project. Hailed by many as the world’s finest percussionist, Trilok Gurtu’s individual technique combines the Indian tradition with many other styles to stunning effect. Sardinian trumpeter Paola Fresu has absorbed the influences of Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong into his own uniquely passionate voice. Pianist Omar Sosa fuses a wide range of jazz, world music and electronic elements with his native Afro-Cuban roots to create a completely fresh sound. (Conga Stage, Friday 25 and Saturday 26 September)
UK born South African singer, songwriter and pianist, Estelle Kokot will appear on the Dinaledi Stage with tenor saxophonist Chico Freeman, bassist Herbi Tsoaeli and drummer Kevin Gibson. This collaboration is not a first for the quartet, who performed together on the album The Sound of You Songbook, which was recorded in Cape Town and featured music composed and written by Chico Freeman and Jan Pulsford. (Dinaledi Stage, Friday 25 September)
The African Dreamtime Project will feature South African multi-instrumentalist Pops Mohamed, acoustic guitarist Steve Newman, bass guitarist Lucas Senyatso, Nigerian saxophonist Olufemi Ogunkoya, South African percussionist Mabi Thobejane and drummer Tlale Makhene. (Conga Stage, Friday 25 September)
American free jazz double bassist, multi-instrumentalist, poet and composer William Parker will appear at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz with Leena Conquest, Eri Yamamoto, Rob Brown, Lewis Barnes and Hamid Drake. In 2011, Parker was ranked number two of the 25 ‘Essential New York City Jazz Icons’ by TimeOut New York, and in 2007 was part of the same publication’s ‘50 Greatest New York Musicians of All Time’. (Diphala Stage, Friday 25 September and Conga Stage, Saturday 26 September)
The festival also boasts a historic collaboration between two giants of song, Hugh Masekela and Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi from Zimbabwe. Both Bra Hugh and Tuku have struggle pedigree in their respective countries and undeniable international elder-statesman status. Their meeting at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz comes at a time when the power of culture and music is most needed to heal strained relations in lieu of the recent xenophobic attacks. The performance promises to blend kindred musical styles from Zimbabwe and South Africa that have fed into each other for generations. It will be as entertaining as it will be instructive. Joining them on stage will be the Shai Shai Mbira Ensemble. (Conga Stage, Saturday 26 September)
Nduduzo Makhathini, Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz 2015, will appear at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz with Swedish saxophonist Karl-Martin Almqvist; New York-based bassist Zwelakhe Duma; South African jazz vocalist Omagugu Makhathini; South African drummer Ayanda Sikade; South African trumpeter Robin Fassie-Kock and South African alto-saxophonist Mthunzi Mvubu. (Diphala Stage, Saturday 26 September)
Other artists forming part of the exciting Standard Bank Joy of Jazz 2015 line-up are the Yellow Jackets (USA), Larry Carlton (USA), Cecil McLorin Salvant (USA), Marcus Miller (USA), the Standard Bank National Youth Band (SA), Dee Alexander (USA), Matthew Halsall (UK), The 3 Cohens (Israel/USA), Dwight Trible (USA), Lee Oskar (USA), Vusi Mahlasela (SA), Peabo Bryson (USA), Steve Dyer (SA), Simphiwe Dana (SA) and Ray Phiri with Stimela (SA).

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