Cape Town

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22 Nov 2006

The Loud Minority

in response to article in People's Post, 7 November 2006

I found Melissa Papier’s article “Thanks for the Music” very interesting and I’m glad that she has stopped judging artists whose music sounds weird, and its probably the result of growing up on diet of music that has been force fed upon her by top 40 radio stations, and MTV.

Now that she has stopped judging she should begin her journey of discovery of just what music is happening in our communities beyond the so-called “pop” culture.
There’s a whole new generation of young musicians who have been inspired by some of the people that she’s interviewed like Alvin Dyers and Camillo Lombard, and this inspiration is making them play the music with a passion.

If people in our communities like, Melissa, and I don’t mean any disrespect to anybody, stopped being scared of “different and weird”
they will discover a whole new world unfolding that really emobodies the ethos of what the new South Africa should be.

Young people are discovering how music can empower them, the music in the jazz genre is bringing people from all cultures and communities together, and showing them how they are one when they share a passion and dedication for the music.

Here in Strandfontein we already have a quiet revolution unfolding with some of the next generation of musicians proving that once this music grabs you, you don’t want to let go.

On Thursday nights at ArtapArt, a quiet little venue in Muizenberg, you will find brothers, Darrin and Nathan English, Jerome Williams, joining in with some cats from UCT, and even visits from sax supremo Buddy Wells, having a blow at a jam session that will give you an inclination of the joy that this music can bring to young lives.

While other young people of their age drool over their ‘mix-it’ these young cats are getting into some Miles Davis, and Thelonius Monk, and most of it is completely unrehearsed.

On any night it is difficult to tell you who will be playing what instrument, because you will find Darrin switching from trumpet and flugelhorn, to piano and then drums, Jerome easily sits down at the keyboards after a blow on sax, Darrin’s brother is just starting out in the music, but he gets his chance to sit in on drums.

Don’t be fooled by the age of these cats they have a real interest in what they are doing, and when a tune really gets going its like a big band swinging into action, and it’s a pleasure to watch the joy on their faces when they appreciate some of the solos that happen.

These young people are the role models that we need to hold up for the community to see, and maybe they can become the inspiration for others of their age who will see that there is a way to fight the negative influences that are so rife in many of our communities.

For the love of Jazz
Gary van Dyk

PS: I am including some pics of the Joungster’s Jam to show you what I’m talking about

11 Nov 2006

Nic Le Roux

Saxophonist, Nic Le Roux passed away on Tuesday, 07 November 2006.
On behalf of the staff and students at UCT's College of Music I extend our deepest sympathies to the family and close friends of Nic le Roux.
Nic's passing is a very sad loss for the music scene in Cape Town and the wider South Africa. Nic's music and his saxophone style embodied the true spirit of Cape Town and South African Jazz, while remaining very aware of broader international improvised music. Whilst the gentlest of personalities, his playing was fearless and sharp and revealed a creative musician of international class. His associations with the Dyers brothers, in particular, remain very memorable and he was a teacher to younger generations of musicians who became exposed to him, particularly at the Monday night jam sessions over several years. He will be sorely missed.

Paul Sedres
College of Music, UCT
Fine Music Radio

Yes, Nic will be missed. His input to music in South Africa extends far beyond playing standards. Nic was an amazing composer and creative force. Let's not forget his compositions. They deserve to be played in years to come. Rest in peace, Noekies.


On behalf of myself and a lot of Norwegian jazz friends and musicians, I would like to express our deep sadness on receiving the news about Nic.
I knew him as a brilliant musician and a warmhearted person, always making music with his heart.
He will be missed and remembered...

Regards ; Arne Hiorth

a bright soul,
a friend and
a great inspiration.
his spirit will always be alive through his music and sound.

"like a rainbow,
fading in the twinkling of an eye,
gone too soon."

I will never forget you,nic .

sahrin rezai

Paying tribute to Nic Le Roux at the Monday Night Jam at Swingers, 13 November 2006.


04 Nov 2006

A Flute for Gary

The Monday night jazz jam on Monday 30 October 2006 will probably be one of the jams that jazz elder Gary Van Dyk will never forget. It was on this day that jazz musician and academic and very good friend of the jazz fraternity in Cape Town, Arne Hiorth from Norway presented Gary with a brand new flute. In this way Arne acknowledged Gary's contribution for promoting jazz.

Well done Gary!

Mr Van Dyk could not wait to dig deep into the jam - his first tune on his new baby - Miles Davis' "All Blues".

03 Nov 2006

Beyond Table Mountain

Beyond the ever popular Table Mountain there are plenty of other exciting routes in the Cape Peninsula which have never been explored by native Capetonians - they don't know what they have been missing. The extended mountain ranges in the peninsula offer excellent facilities for climbers, hikers, cyclists and runners( for some it offer a place of sanctification).

Best of all is that the start and end points of some of these hiking routes are within easy reach of public transport.

Two of my favourite areas are the Muizenberg and Kalk Bay Mountains. On most of the walks in these ares the exertion is from light to moderate.

The Pecks Valley - Mimetes Valley walk in Muizenberg takes about two to three hours to complete. It is a circular walk and finishes where the walk start. Right throughout the year there is flowers blooming. From restios, pink sorrel, heather,
ericas, proteas(look out for the smallest proteas - Diastella divaricata), everlastings and even sundew plants - what is a sundew?

The walk offer spectacular views of the easter side of Table Mountain, the Southern Suburbs, the Cape Flats, False Bay and the Hottentots Holland mountains - like the song say "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever".

Besides the interesting flora, features to look out for is Junction Pool, Nellie's Pool and the Muizenberg Cave which is off the path close to Nellie's Pool. Take care when exploring any cave!

On a clear day the descent down Mimetes Valley offer unending views over False Bay with the Hottentots Holland mountains towards the east. During the period when the whales migrate to the southern tip of Africa you may spot a few whales at Muizenberg and St James below.

There are plenty of other walks which lead off from the Pecks Valley - Mimetes Valley walk. Contact me if you need guidance.

03 Sep 2006

Kopano...Jazz Gathering

In Sotho the word "kopano" means gathering. The gathering by the jazz ensemble Kopano on Saturday 26 August 2006 in the Masque Theatre in Muizenberg was surely worthwhile and inspiring.

I could not believe it when I arrived(a few minutes late) at the concert that there was no more tickets available. Sold out jazz concert in Muizenberg? If it was not for the organiser, Ruwayda spotting me at the door, I would have missed this one and would have been very disappointed.

Kopano consists of music educator Fred Kuit(piano), Darren English(trumpet and flugelhorn), Thabo Mobo(bass), Claude Cozens(drums) and Wathiq Hoosain(vocals). Guests included John Russel(guitar), Kyle Shepherd(piano and alto sax) and the acclaimed saxophonist, Buddy Wells.

It is great to see some of the established musicians teaming up with the younger players. We need this in all walks of life to be successful.

Kopano's selection of jazz connected well with the audience and I am sure that they converted some of the people. Their selection of South African and other standards and some own compositions really touched the audience. These younger musicians' interpretation of the jazz idiom speaks of a very high standard.

Thumbs up must also go to the organiser, Ruwayda Mohamed for such a successful concert. Take the Jazz to the People.

26 Aug 2006

Artscape Youth Jazz Festival 2006 - Mentoring For Success

Mentoring the youth is a sure way of nation building. What the mentees get out of this is confidence, encouragement, advice and for sure, hands on experience. The success of the Artscape Youth Jazz Festival 2006 is truly evident of this.

A big thank you for this years mentors: Melanie Scholtz, Camillo Lombard, Kevin Gibson and Alvin Dyers.

The successful bands that were selected for this years festival are The Turfjamp Youth Jazz Band, The Levites, The Settlers High School Jazz Combo and Eccentric Sound Productions.

15 Aug 2006

From Martinique in the Caribbean to Cape Town, South Africa to Tokyo, Japan - Swingers Jazz Jam

We are not just connected by the sea

Last night, initially looking at the few patrons, I thought that it was going to be a quiet night at the jazz jam at Swingers. This was not to be. Guitarist, Alvin Dyers' resident band (Kyle Shephard - keyboards, Denver Furness - drums, Nic Le Roux - saxophone, Alistair Andrews - bass) started of the night as usual with their unique interpretations of some jazz standards and some South African jazz tunes.

Amongst the patrons there were a few jammers including the respectable 'Dr Huxtable'(bassist Spencer Mbadu) and saxophonist Claude Ncgkukana. Later some strangers entered the place. They looked like they just landed at Cape Town International.

"After the stage was suitably warmed up", the jam got very interesting. Besides the usual jammers(Julius May, Clayton September, John Russel, Tino Europa, Jonathan Rubain, Darren English), the jam was joined by jazz vocalist, Heinrich Frans, Daniel Gerard(guitarist from Martinique in the Caribbean) and strangely a harmonica/keyboard player, Tatsuya Nishiwaki from Tokyo, Japan. Some of the tunes they covered included Toots Thielemans' Bluesette, and John Coltrane's Impressions.

Did you ever expect a Caribbean, Japanese, South African jazz collaboration at Swingers. Then again, you never know who is going to turn up. The secret is, attend the jam as often as you can, whenever you can.

30 Jul 2006

Be impressed... Jazz Impressions

The John Coltrane composition, "Impressions" is definitely a tune that every serious jazz instrumentalist wants to master. This is such a unique tune, that once heard, it will stick to your mind. Certainly this is the idea with the Jazz Impressions sessions at the Green Dolphin. For the pass few years this is one of those winter warmers not to be missed. This year the Jazz Impressions started on 5 July. It happens every Wednesday evening just after 20:00 at The Green Dolphin Restaurant. Entrance is free. This happens until the end of September.

Over the pass few years, some musicians that have now become established jazz artists, have appeared at the Jazz Impressions. Names to note are Mark Fransman,Moreira Chonguica, Buddy Wells, Kesivan Naido, Melanie Scholtz, Natasha Roth, Reenboog, Ivan Mazuze, Kevin Gibson, James Schofield, Tribe, Mamavox and others.

There are at least two acts for every session. And then there are those aspiring players, waiting on the fringe to make a Jazz Impression. These cats will however get a chance to be main acts. Gavin Minter really has a big task on hand every year in coping to give as many as possible, hopefuls a chance to appear at the Jazz Impressions.

"Jazz and freedom go hand in hand. That explains it. There isn't any more to add to it. If I do add to it, it gets complicated. That's something for you to think about. You think about it and dig it. You dig it..." Thelonious Monk
"Jazz and freedom go hand in hand. That explains it. There isn't any more to add to it. If I do add to it, it gets complicated. That's something for you to think about. You think about it and dig it. You dig it..." Thelonious Monk

Hamba Kahle Winston Mankunku Ngozi - Tributes

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