The 21st edition of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) will host a diverse line-up of artists which will also reflect on the audience in attendance at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). Multicultural, age, youth and gender balance reflect in the second line-up of the artists, which compliments the first announcement made in December and will undoubtedly reflect on the audience attending the festival on 27 and 28 March.

Ezra Collective is a UK based outfit whose incredible sound is rooted in classic jazz but features strong influences from Afrobeat and Hip Hop to create a sound that speaks to their home of London.  The group is made up of Femi Koleoso on drums, T J Koleoso on bass, Joe Armon Jones on keyboard, Dylan Jones on trumpet and James Mollison on saxophone.  Ezra Collective released their first EP “Chapter 7” in 2016 and was awarded Best Jazz Album at the Worldwide Awards in 2018 for their second EP “The Philosopher”.  Dubbed as “pioneering a new wave of UK jazz”, this five-peace band released their full-length debut album in 2019 and has collaborated with the likes of Loyle Carner, Jorja Smith and Kokoroko.

Kokoroko is another all-star based band from UK, which was formed in 2014.  It’s line-up of artists is led by Sheila Maurice Grey on trumpet, Cassie Kinoshi on saxophone, Richie Seivwright on trombone, Tobi Adenaike on guitar, Yohan Kebede on keyboard, Mutale Chashi on bass, Onome Edgeworth on percussion and Ayo Salawu on drums.  Embodying experimental rhythms and sounds from West Africa, the band is named after the Urhobo – a Nigerian tribe and language – the word meaning ‘be strong’.  Drawing on the high energy of Afrobeat and highlife nights, the musical influences of Jazz, Funk and many other genres, their compositions are shaped by the sounds of their home city, London.

Joel Ross. Picture CTIJF and espAfrika

Joel Ross, the most thrilling new vibraphonist in America, grew up in a quiet Chicago South Side neighbourhood, where he began playing drums at church from a young age.  He and twin brother progressed to school and multi-school bands, where Ross took up xylophone and later on vibraphone.  Following training with the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet at University of the Pacific, Ross went on to create bands ranging from quartets to large ensembles.  The composer who is based in Brooklyn, New York has worked with artists such as Makaya McCraven, Walter Smith III, Matthew Stevens and James Francies. He joined Blue Note Records in 2019.

Kuaetnika is one of Indonesia’s most well-known and unique music ensembles.  They bring foot-tapping, jazzy pop tunes powered by strong percussion, which can quickly turn into beautiful melodies that excite the auditory imagination.  Their music both draws from the past and takes inspiration from today’s popular forms.  Rooted in Indonesia’s long history of inter-cultural contact and assimilation with India, China, Europe and the Middle East, Kuaetnika creates adventurous arrangements of well-known songs of the East, the West and elsewhere.  These lavish interpretations not only show their versatility, but also capture their ability to retain the nuances and power of traditional and ethnic sounds.

Charismatic Ivorian Manou Gallo, born in 1972, is a virtuoso and her unique talent is rich with the heritage of her origin of the Djiboi tribe.  She plays the tambour (percussion drums) which is normally only reserved for men in the Ivorian culture.  When she discovered the bass guitar, she brought this knowledge with her, transforming it into a percussion instrument.  The award-winning bassist joined world music band Zap Mama and moved to Belgium in 2003.  She has collaborated with the likes of Manu Dibango, Mamady Keita, Wyclef Jean, Marcus Miller and Lucas van Meerwijk.

Manou Gallo. Picture by CTIJF and espAfrika

Playing piano from the age of three, South African Johan Laas joined his father’s band when he was 15, where he played the piano, bass, guitar and drums.  Entering a career as a session musician, composer and arranger, Laas has also produced albums for local and international artists.  He has been nominated for nine Artes Awards and has won one.  He joined the “Idols” team as Musical Director in 2002 and has worked with, among others, Soweto String Quartet, The Afro Tenors, Steve Hofmeyr, The Parlotones, Judy Page, Kim Kallie and Michael de Pinna. In 2019 he selected top session musicians and formed a new six-piece Jazz-Fusion band “The Laas Resort”.

Multi-award-winning South African vocalist, Judith Sephuma has continued to dominate airwaves for close to two decades.  Since the release of her triple platinum-status debut album titled “A Cry, A Smile, A Dance” in 2001, Judith has attracted interest and acclaim from Jazz, Afro-soul and Gospel music lovers all over the world.  Sephuma has worked with and shared the stage with international artists like Bebe Winans, Oletta Adams, Jonathan Butler, Al Jarreau, Randy Crawford and Chaka Khan.  Her eighth album, titled “Power of Dreams”, was launched last year.  She has performed at some of the greatest jazz festivals around the world.

Saudiq Khan fell in love with the passionate sounds of the Flamenco guitar in his teens.  At 15, Khan went to work in the printing industry to help his family financially.  He also developed a skill for fixing cars, and approached a local Flamenco guitarist, bartering mechanical repairs for lessons.  In 1989, the South African had the opportunity to travel to Lisbon to help run a print shop.  On weekends he took the train to Seville, then considered to be the hub of the Flamenco World, to study under various Flamenco maestros.  Today, Khan is one of the few Flamenco guitarists who concentrates on solo performances.

Johan Laas. Picture by CTIJF and espAfrika

A young vibrant collective formed at the University of Cape Town (UCT) South African College of Music, The Unity Band draws inspiration from Jazz, Fusion, Hip Hop, African and World Music to create a sound reflective of the cultural diversity of South Africa.  Comprised of sought-after musicians Lumanyano Mzi on drums, vocals and is the bandleader, Stephen “Stevovo” de Souza on bass, Thandeka Dladla on vocals, Lonwabo Diba Mafani on piano and keyboard, Dylan Fine on guitar, Marco Maritz on trumpet, Lilavan Gangen on percussion and Ofense Moshwetsi on alto saxophone.  The Unity Band has become a fixture at jazz clubs and festivals.  They have performed with McCoy Mrubata and Mandisi Dyantyis, both playing original music and as well as paying homage to music greats.

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