Thabiso Mfana, winner of the 6th UNISA piano competition in the jazz category, presents 12 daring original compositions for two shows next weekend of the 14th and 15th December at South African State Theatre in Pretoria.  The road to winning the competition was a gruelling one for the pianist. “It was a challenging competition to participate in, which included a 45 – minute recital as the semifinalist and three weeks to prepare a programme of 24 standards which was not easy”, the Mdantsane born and Pretoria raised pianist told Jazz It Out.

He is quite ecstatic and looking forward to his performance at the Rendezvous Theatre.  “This time I will not be in a competition with other fellow pianists but presenting works that authentically represent who I am as a human being”, he said. Kyle Shepherd won the competition in 2016. In his performances, Thabiso combines modern influences with the standards repertoire, something that will leave his audience spellbound.

Blue represents a kind of aesthetic, in this instance making reference to the blues, whilst at the same time representing the mood with which the compositions were created.  The theme compositionally is the exploration of the tensions between upholding the values of the jazz tradition with the inherent yearn of a young artist for innovation and relevance.  Through the course of his compositions, the viewer will experience references from the past, and present of the jazz canon, with speculations as its future directions.

Thabiso will be joined by an ensemble comprised of virtuoso trumpeter Marcus Wyatt, brilliant guitarist Vuma Levin, accomplished bassist Romy Brauteseth, drummer extraordinaire S’phelelo Mazibuko and the young Bokang Ramatlepeng whom he describes as “the secret weapon” on vocals.  The Saturday concert starts at 20h00 while the Sunday performance to complete the weekend jazz rendezvous starts at 15h00.  Tickets are selling at web tickets and at the venue for R100.