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The first artists announced to perform at this year’s Standard Bank Joy of Jazz are an interesting mix of old and new, foreign and local.
THE Standard Bank Joy of Jazz promises to raise the bar this year, and has roped in the most celebrated jazz musicians internationally and locally.

Earl KlugEarl Klugh will perform at the Dinaledi StageThe first artist announcement was made on 9 May for the festival, which will run from 23 to 25 August. Speaking at a media briefing at Turbine Hall in Newtown, the executive producer of the show, Peter Tladi, said this year it would largely keep to the original jazz sound.

“This is a line-up that people will love the most. We want to stay true to the core jazz sound, even if sometimes we do lift the boundaries a little bit.”

The Gauteng MEC of arts and culture, Lebogang Maile, congratulated Standard Bank for its unwavering support of South African music. The department is a sponsor of the festival, along with the City of Johannesburg.

“We are going to invest more into the creative arts industry as part of our initiative to revive the creative industry – not only that but to also protect their products,” said Maile.

Grammy Award
This year, hardcore jazz lovers have their plate full. On the bill is the Grammy Award winning guitarist, Earl Klugh, who will perform on the Thursday and Saturday on the Dinaledi Stage. Tineke Postma from the Netherlands, Rosemary Quake from the US and Shannon Mowday of South Africa will perform on the same stage on the same nights.

Another Grammy-winning musician on the bill is the singer Kurt Elling. He will perform on the Dinaledi Stage on Friday and at Bassline on Saturday. Trombone master Wycliffe Gordon is also on the bill, and is expected to deliver a fired-up show on the Dinaledi Stage. Also expect to see the famed Duke Ellington Orchestra.

Leading the way for the distinct sound of African jazz will be luminaries of the calibre of Caiphus Semenya. Having performed on some of the biggest stages in Africa and abroad, the Matswale hitmaker commands huge respect at home and internationally.

He will perform on the Conga Stage on Friday. Shanti Lo of Botswana and South African Nthabiseng Mofokeng will also perform.

Kurt UrllingAward-winning singer Kurt EllingBakithi Kumalo, who made international headlines following his performance on Paul Simon’s Graceland song, will play at Bassline on the Friday and Saturday. Another South African on the stage will be Vusi Khumalo.

Another artists to note are Manu Diabango from Cameroon and Mory Kante from Guinea; their hit track Ye Ke Ye Ke was the first African single to sell over one million copies in Europe. Diabango will play on the Conga Stage on Friday and Saturday. Kante will be on the Mbira Stage on those same nights. Thandiswa Mazwai will represent South Africa on the Mbira Stage on Friday, while Swazi Dlamini will do the honours on Saturday.

The opening night spectacular Sax Summit and Tribute to Davis Miles are concerts not to be missed – they will take to the Dinaledi Stage on Thursday, as will the American Grace Kelly. Jimmy Dludlu will perform at the same venue on Saturday.

South African trumpeter Marcus Wyatt will also perform on the Dinaledi Stage. Other stellar performances will include the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band at the Market Theatre on Friday; Africa Mkhize, the 2012 Standard Bank Young Artist winner for jazz, at Bassline on Saturday; and Johnny Mekoa at the Market on Saturday.

He will be joined at the Market with a host of interesting performers. South Africa’s acclaimed woman of jazz, Gloria Bosman, will perform on Friday. Jane Monheit will be back on Friday, after warming up the stage on Thursday. Samson Diamond is also at the Market on Saturday.

Conga Stage
On Friday, Lesotho saxophonist Bhudaza Mapefane will be on the Conga Stage. At the same venue on Saturday, the man of many talents, composer, vocalist and bassist Bakini Kumalo will perform.

The final line-up of artists will be announced mid-June. In the meantime, Gauteng music lovers can have more fun at their favourite hangouts. T-Musicman’s annual live music campaign, the Road to Joy of Jazz is set to hit the road, this time bigger and better, according to organisers.

Maile said Newtown was earmarked for development, as the department would be rolling out cultural programmes further afield.

Now in its 12th year, Joy of Jazz has long been a success story, having put on shows with the best jazz musicians around. It is sponsored by Standard Bank, the City of Johannesburg and the Department of Arts and Culture.

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