In a Nutshell
Jazz in South Africa has been the musical voice of the people. Seeped in a rich history of song capable of crooning the restless masses, Jazz has grown since it’s humble vagabond beginnings. Throughout the ages, it seems as though Jazz is the riff and bassline that people need to overcome adversity. From the prohibition era through to Apartheid riddled South Africa, Jazz has been the soundtrack of revolution. Unsurprisingly, Jazz has brought a cultural diversity to the mix, which is especially seen in the eclectic festivals and performances throughout the year. We take a look back at the Jazz events of 2015, and have a glimpse into what 2016 holds for Jazz lovers in South Africa.
Cape Town Jazz Festival
We’re starting with the most iconic of all the Jazz festivals in South Africa — Cape Town’s Jazz Festival. Affectionately known as “Africa’s Grandest Gathering”, the Cape Town Jazz Festival is the largest music event in sub-Saharan Africa. As events management and production company, espAfrika, prepares for the 17th year of bringing Jazz to the masses, the list of jazz acts keeps on growing. Held either on the last weekend of March or the first of April each year, 2016 promises to be no exception when more than 40 artists fill the 5 stages that will bring Jazz to life in the Mother City.
Prepare to stand shoulder to shoulder with 37,000 jazz lovers over the 2 day musical extravaganza in April 2016.
Joy of Jazz
Each year, Standard Bank teams up with Jazz musicians from around the globe to bring the largest, authentic Jazz festival to Johannesburg. Spanning over 3 days and boasting an impressive 35 performances across 4 stages, the Joy of Jazz is an annual spectacular for Jazz lovers. In addition to bringing the biggest names of Jazz to one location, the festival also has empowerment programmes centred around our youth.
From the Music Workshop to their renowned Golf Day, the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival is one not to be missed.
National Youth Jazz Festival
Music has long been used as a tool to help nurture and develop our youth, and the National Youth Jazz Festival is just one of these mediums. Another Standard Bank partnership, the SBNYJF will be hosted from the 30th of June to the 10th of July 2016. It is one of the most significant jazz development programmes in South Africa, and brings together over 300 students and 40 teachers annually.
The weeklong festival incorporates innovation and jazz to create the perfect environment for growth, interaction and youth development through music.
For those still on the fence with their love of Jazz, there are a few smaller productions that you can dip your toes into. Here are a few popular choices that you can look forward to in 2016.
- 021 Lounge – Sunday Jazz Sundowner
This event started with a vision to showcase local talent. Every Sunday, 021Lounge @ Swingers hosts live jazz events from 5pm for free! Space is limited so the public is urged to call ahead to book their seats on 071 983 8247
- JazzNow! Jozi
JazzNow! hosts weekly jam sessions in a variety of exciting venues across Jozi to inspire a change in the face of Jazz! Their mission is to open up the jazz community to a larger audience through soul soothing jazz. Stay up to date by following their Facebook page for more details on dates and venues.