From Rusana Philander in Cape Town, TZ Business News.
One of these days jazz lovers are going to call Cape Town their holy city; they meet at this magnificent city each year as if on jazz pilgrimage. And 2017 was not any different as exotic sound filled the air at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).
It was fusion of old and young jazz talent at the 18 th Cape Town International Jazz Festival on 31 March and April 1, 2017.
An old favourite like Mango Groove impressed the audience. They were “off the hook” as some described them. Seeing them live for the first time, was an experience. They played their popular hits such as ’Hometalk’.
The group which started out in the 1980s is known for their unique blend of kwela, marabi, pop and big band swing. The multi-racial ‘outfit’ is the first band to remain at the top of the country’s national sales charts for more than a year. Their fan base consists out of young and old.
The band recently released their first album after a silence from 2009. The new album features collaborations with Zolani Mahola from Fershlyground, Mo T from Mi Casa and the late penny whistler and singer Jack Lerole.
And what a stunning performance by the soul sisters En Vogue. They said that it was their first time performing at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
They were also very excited to perform in South Africa, from where they will be kicking off their world tour to Europe. The group which has been in existence for 27 years, said they love what they do.
Rhona Bennet remarked that the South African audience has been incredible. En Vogue also delighted fans with their hits such as: ‘Don’t let go’. And sang a song from their new album that will be released soon, called: ‘Déjà Vu’.
The group also talked about other projects that they are involved in. Cindy Herron said:” I am involved in the ‘Sister Accord Foundation’, where we help young women.” Rhona Bennet continued: “I mentor young musicians in the industry as well as help young people who were rescued from human trafficking.”
Terry Ellis said as people we need to help each other. “We should also be proud of who we are irrespective of race. But as a black person, I love our culture,” Ellis added. Herron said “as black people we share certain struggles and that is why I like to serve.”
Another big hit was South Africa’s best loved songstress Vicky Sampson, who as usual delighted the audience not just with her vocal ability and smooth sound, but also with her manner in which she delivers music. Her song:”African Dream” once again inspired and united the diverse audience.
Ernie Smith who is often referred to as Jonathan Butler, by whom he was greatly inspired including George Benson, also wowed the audience. Only performing original music, the audience was in for a real treat.
He has collaborated with US Grammy winner Kirk Whallum on his album: ‘My African Heart’. Smith also released his album: ‘Time for Love’ in 2015.
And then there was Judith Sephuma, oh what a delivery of music. It seems that this woman who also focuses on gospel music, has just gotten better over the years. The main stage arena was packed full as everyone was waiting in great anticipation to hear her sing.
And what a way to end the jazz festival with none other than a Jazz Funk Soul band.
This final outfit featured Everette Harp on the saxophone, Jeff Lorber on the piano and Paul Jackson Jr on the guitar. Here Harp masterfully played sax solos. But it was the fusion of all the musical instruments that made the audience dance as they received an encore.