“The Mother City will host the 21st edition of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival through a line-up that will cater for a diverse audience on 27 – 28 March 2020 at the Cape Town Convention Centre”

For the past two decades, 2 649 musicians have performed at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF), making it one of the most important events in the jazz calendar.  These musicians include some of the best South African and African musicians whose excellent performances have received applauses from revelers attending the festival.

“Since its inception, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival has been a platform to showcase emerging and established talent from the continent and further afield.  Over the last 20 years, we have shown the world that this festival is about more than just live music – it’s about building a community of music lovers and developing the next generation of acclaimed musicians”, Billy Domingo, who is the festival’s director said.

espAfrika, the event management company that produces the CTIJF has been in the industry for more than 20 years and received several awards for the work they produce.  The festival is renowned for delivering a star-studded line up featuring international and local artists in both jazz and popular music genres.  It boasts multiple stages with a wide array of artists performing over two nights.  Next year’s line – up includes two prominent Cape Town born musicians, guitarist Jonathan Butler and pianist Abdullah Ibrahim.

Abdullah Ibrahim. Picture by espAfrika

The line-up also includes bassist AusTebza, Bird Song Ensemble, Elementaal, saxophonist and vocalist Femi Koya, vocalist Gabi Motuba, British singer and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier, Kwetu Trio, trumpeter and vocalist Mandisi Dyantyis, soulful project MF Robots, Seba Kaapstad, and highly acclaimed pianist Nduduzo Makhathini.  One of the much anticipated acts expected to perform is a quartet made up of saxophonist Benedikt Reising, pianist and vocalist Thandi Ntuli, bassist Shane Cooper and Rico Baumann.

Pianist Abdullah Ibrahim is an icon who inspires a lot of musicians.  The 85-year-old most distinguished pianist, who also has a black belt in karate, has toured the world extensively for more than a quarter-century and still releases new albums.  He has performed with South African legends Kippie Moeketsi, Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwangwa, Johnny Gertze, Makaya Ntshoko and other renowned artists such as Max Roach, Carlos Ward and Randy Weston.  His song “Mannenberg – Is where it’s happening” became an unofficial anthem for Black South Africans under apartheid.  His album “Blues for a hip king” was dedicated to the late King Sobhuza II of Swaziland.

Tebogo “AusTebza” Sedumedi is dubbed “The Bass Queen” by her peers and fans alike.  AusTebza is a vibrant, energetic and passionate bassist and vocalist who loved music from her childhood.  Her perseverance and hard craft, attracted some of the most established artists in the South African music industry, which led her to working with some of them.  Her debut album  “Make a difference” was released in 2016 and will be releasing her second album “Motheo” at the CTIJF.

Gabi Motuba. Picture by espAfrika

Also expected to thrill the fans at the festival is The Bird Song Ensemble which is led by charismatic trumpeter, composer, arranger and bandleader Mandla Mlangeni.  This band whose leader firmly believes in melodic free jazz also includes pianist Andile Yenana, guitarist Vuma Levin, Germans Max Treutner and Felix Wolf on tenor saxophone and drums, and Swiss Oz Yehiely on bass.  The Bird Song Ensemble’s key mission is to stoke the young generation’s enthusiasm for shared human experiences while drawing on the abundant well of the South African musical legacy.

Elementaal is a coming together of two of the most indomitable forces in world percussion today, with Indian musicians Ranjit Barot and Taufiq Qureshi.  These masters bring a vibrant, hypnotic mix of world rhythms, drawing from an ancient reservoir of energy that connects us all. The performance at CTIJF will further explore the crossover elements of jazz and indigenous African and Indian sounds and features South African pianist Kyle Shepherd as part of the band and India child prodigy and bamboo flautist Amith Nadiq.

Versatile saxophonist and vocalist, Femi Koya is the new face of the African Renaissance, combining West African highlife and Jazz, South African Sophiatown with a nostalgic Afrobeat root sounds.  Koya sees himself as part of the new Africa on the move, where home is not just one place but a multiplicity of places and influences.  His musical influence includes Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Manu di Bango, Hugh Masekela, Baaba Maal and John Coltrane.  There is no doubt Koya’s performance at the CTIJF will leave the attendees asking for more from the highly energetic artist.

Aaron Rimbui. Picture by esAfrika

Award-winning jazz vocalist, arranger and composer Gabi Motuba draws inspiration from the like of Gretchen Parlato, Esperanza Spalding and Concha Buika, as she explores the themes of femininity and womanhood through her work.  Born in Pretoria, the creator of songs “Flower Goddess”, “Nefertari” and “Letters to Akani” began to explore her vocal abilities during her early schooling.  This led to her choosing music as a profession, after exploring her passions and musical tastes at Tshwane University of Technology.  Motuba has worked with prominent jazz musicians in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

25-year-old British Jacob Collier is dubbed my many as one of the most innovative musicians of his generation.  A self-described autodidact, Jacob taught himself to play over a dozen instruments in his music room in London, guiding his own learning through a multitude of musical genres.  His debut album “In My Room” released in 2015 was his own production, performance and recording which won him two Grammy Awards, making him the younger winner in the two categories.

Kenyan born Aaron Rimbui is a self-taught pianist, keyboardist, drummer, bandleader, producer and composer.  Rimbui released his first project, “Keys of Life” in 2005 – the first jazz piano album of its kind to emerge from East Africa.  He has produced a steady stream of work since then, with hits such as “Simama”, “Nani Nani” and “Mugithi Hybrid”.  In 2017, Rimbui joined with South African jazz icons Herbie Tsoaeli on bass and Ayanda Sikade on drums to create the Kwetu Trio.  The group delicately mixes mainstream bebop, Afro-funk, and soul ballads to create a sound that speaks to their different geographic influences.

Shane Cooper. Picture by espAfrika

One of the South African musicians whose career is enjoying a lot of success and popularity is Mandisi Dyantyis.  The Port Elizabeth born trumpeter and vocalist blends traditional gospel with new age Afro-pop to create an award-winning sound for jazz lovers.  His album “Somandla” was nominated for Jazz Album of 2019 at the South African Music Awards (SAMA’s).  Mandisi began playing the trumpet at the age of eight.  He studied classical music at school and completed a degree in Jazz Studies.  A versatile musician who is also a composer, arranger and producer – not only in Jazz but Western Classical and African Indigenous Music.

Seba Kaapstad is more than a band, telling the stories produced when cultures collide.  Their songs embody stories from the lives of Palesa Modiga (popularly known as Zoë Modiga – South African), Ndumiso Manana (Swazi), Philip Scheibel and Sebastian Schuster (both German).  Seba Kaapstad is the coming together of worlds and experiences whilst appreciating just how alike we are as human beings.  It tells the story of how we go through life’s escapades such as love, identity, freedom, loss and self – appreciation. Through the global perspective of Modiga, Manana, Scheibel and Schuster, enthusiasts at the CTIJF will be able to explore a soundscape influenced by soul, groove, electronic undertones, jazz and African music.

Reising, Ntuli, Cooper; Baumann is a group that brings the sounds of South Africa and Switzerland together in an elegant, yet eclectic jazz fusion.  Saxophonist Benedikt Reising was born in Black Forest and grew up playing baroque sonatas on his recorder while listening to German punk music before finding jazz.  South African Thandi Ntuli is a pianist, singer, composer and producer.  She comes from a lineage of rich musical heritage.  Fellow South African Shane Cooper is a bassist, composer and producer, known for his work in the electronic/dance music world.  Rico Baumann grew up in a family of musicians and was exposed to a wide variety of music before taking up Jazz.

Nduduzo Makhathini. Picture by Lindo Mbhele

Pianist, composer, lecturer, researcher and producer Nduduzo Makhathini will be one of the artists to complete the star – studded line-up of the CTIJF.  With 8 of his albums recorded in South Africa, his 9th album “Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworlds” will be his debut recording with renowned record label Blue Note.  Makhathini grew up in the lush and rugged hillscapes of emGungundlovu in South Africa, a peri-urban landscape in which music and ritual practices were symbiotically linked.  The area is significant historically as the site of the Zulu King Dingane kingdom between 1828 and 1840.

Makhathini who has performed at the CTIJF before, made his debut appearance at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City this year where he was a featured guest with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on their 3-night musical celebration “The South African Songbook” in Rose Theater.  He is also the a sought – after sideman who has performed with Talie Monin, Zim Ngqawana, Feya Faku, Carlo Mombeli, Busi Mhlongo, Salim Washington, Herbie Tsoaeli, and Somi.  He firmly believes that earlier musicians put a lot of emotions in the music they played which may be linked to the political climate of those days.

For more details on the ticket prices, VIP hospitality packages, line-up, as well as the starting times of performances, visit www.capetownjazzfest.com regularly.  Also engage with CTIJF on social media.  Like their Facebook Page which is Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Follow them on Twitter @CTJazzFest and Instagram @capetownjazzfest using the hashtag #CTIJF2020