Journey to Jazz 2024 Featured Artists

Skyjack (SA/Switzerland)

Skyjack is what happens when a heavyweight South African jazz trio meets a pair of Swiss reed and brass masters. Over the course of a decade, this all-star quintet has forged a reputation as an innovative and adventurous force in contemporary African and European jazz. Combining deep grooves with thrilling rides and avant-garde experimentation, Skyjack is a powerhouse both on stage and in the studio.

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Giuliette Price (SA)

Originally from Johannesburg, Giuliette Price wasted no time in making her mark in Cape Town’s jazz scene since her 2021 relocation. Currently in her final year at UCT’s South African College of Music, she’s not only frequently gigging but also fostering community through her role as founder of the ii V I Jazz Jam at Barleycorn Music Club. Giuliette’s performances at esteemed venues like The Blue Room, UCT Jazz Festival at The Baxter Theatre, and Makhanda Standard Bank Jazz Festival have solidified her reputation as a rising jazz star.

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Afrika Mkhize Quartet (SA)

Afrika Mkhize is a renowned South African pianist, producer, music director, film score writer and music arranger who has worked with notable artists such as Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela.  Whilst predominantly known for his jazz works, Mkhize versatility and creative genius also embraces such genres as classical, Hip Hop and House. He has received numerous awards, including the “Standard Bank Young Artist Award” in 2012. On 14 October 2015, he released his debut album, Raindancer, and tours extensively with “The Afrika Mkhize Quartet” and “The Rainmakers”.

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Darren English Quartet (SA and USA)

South African born but US-based jazz trumpeter, and internationally recognised visual artist, Darren English is a multi-award-winning musician in much demand by audiences and artists alike.  His long list of awards include the 2023 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Jazz, as well as the 2020 and 2018 Global Peace Song Award in the Jazz category. 

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Thandi Ntuli Presents Swiss/SA Collab Band: “A Million O Clock” (SA/Switzerland)

Thandi Ntuli negotiates a wide palette of sound and genre which embraces her family lore – a classical singer aunt, after whom she is named; her uncle (Selby Ntuli) who was a member of Afro-rock band Harari; and her grandfather Levi Godlib Ntuli, who fostered among his children a tradition of composing, playing, and singing music together. That tradition lives on and can be experienced in Thandi’s music.

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Adam ZanoliNI’s Heliacal Rising of Sothis (USA)

Adam Zanolini is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, ethnomusicologist, writer, and arts organiser based in Chicago. Zanolini’s project, “The Heliacal Rising of Sothis,” is a tribute to legendary jazz trumpeter and co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Kelan Phil Cohran. The ensemble formed in 2022, performs works composed by Zanolini while studying with Bro. Phil, or inspired by his teachings, and comprises Zanolini, Ben Lamar Gay (cornetist), Fred Jackson Jr. (saxophonist), Sharon Udoh (pianist), and Naydja Bruton (drummer). 

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Giovanni Guidi Trio (Italy/USA)

The Giovanni Guidi Trio is a renowned musical group known for their unique sound and style, combining elements of jazz, classical music, and improvisation. The group comprises three highly skilled members, namely multi-award-winning Giovanni Guidi on piano, Thomas Morgan on bass, and Joao Lobo on drums. They have released several albums and collaborations, including “This is the Day,” which was nominated for a prestigious award. They have performed at various venues and festivals worldwide, receiving critical acclaim for their live performances.

The Karoo Jazz Project – Directed by Ramon Alexander (SA)

Ramon Alexander is an “extraordinary” Jazz musician, pianist and composer who is considered a leading exponent of ‘Cape Jazz’ and is currently training Prince Albert’s very own, Karoo Jazz Project, a youth development band from Noodeinde. He has worked with various artists, including Robbie Jansen, McCoy Mrubata, and Terumasa Hino, and has performed at numerous local and international music festivals. 

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UCT Little Big Band (SA)

For decades, the University of Cape Town Music School has produced some of the finest young jazz musicians in the country. Presented here is a selection of UCT’s top jazz vocal and Big Band music co-ordinated by Amanda Tiffin, the highly experienced Head of Jazz at UCT. Tiffin in her own right, is an accomplished and much-loved pianist-vocalist and musician, composer, and arranger and under her expert direction, the UCT Little Big Band is set to thrill audiences of all ages.

Women of the World (India, USA, Turkey, Japan)

Women of the World is an award-winning international a cappella quartet that performs original and traditional folk music with a contemporary twist, in 37 languages. The four singers represent Japan, Turkey, India, and the USA.

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Cameron Ward (SA)

Internationally acclaimed South African Afro-jazz guitarist and solo artist, Cameron Ward, is hailed as one of the most versatile guitarists of his generation, counting such legends as Jonathan Butler and Jimmy Dludlu who bought him his first guitar, as heroes and influences. Ward played with Hugh Masekela, who had been looking for a new sound, for almost a decade and who called him one of his “favourite musicians”. 

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Artistic Director 2024 Kyle Shepherd (SA)

One of South Africa’s leading pianists, film, and theatre music composers of his generation, Kyle Shepherd is internationally recognized for his distinctive compositional style and performances.  Shepherd has released seven jazz albums and several film, TV, and theatre scores. 

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Jonathan Rubain en die Koortjies Band (SA)

Born in Hanover Park, gospel and jazz musician, Jonathan Rubain, walked away with the Best Male Artist Award at the Victory Gospel Music Awards in 2016. He also has hosted and organised several shows in Hanover Park, such as the Hanover Park Jazz Festival. He is best known for his gospel music, and TV series called Koortjies on kykNET and KIE. 

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Stirling Big Band (SA)

Stirling High School in East London has developed one of the most successful high school jazz programmes in the country, which was started in 1992 by Alan Webster. The band has performed in over 40 towns and cities around southern Africa in venues ranging from game reserves to school halls to the leading professional jazz venues in the country.

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