Legend Marsalis headlines Joy of Jazz

17 August 2011

The twelfth edition of the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz visits eight Johannesburg venues from 25 to 27 August. Emperors Palace will host the opening concert, which features the Gauteng Jazz Orchestra including the African Soul Sisters and nine-time Grammy winner Wynton Marsalis.

Marsalis headlines this year’s Festival. He’s a versatile performer: a trumpeter, a composer, a bandleader, an advocate for the arts, and an educator. He’s also the Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

In 1983 and 1984, Marsalis became the only artist ever to win Grammy Awards for both jazz and classical records. He went on to win Grammy Awards for five years in succession.

Pulitzer Prize

In 1996, Time Magazine named Marsalis as one of “America’s 25 Most Influential People”. The following year he won a Pulitzer Prize for Music for his “Blood on the Fields” jazz oratorio.

During his career, he has released more than 40 jazz and classical albums.

Besides opening night, Marsalis will also be in action on Saturday, 27 August, on the Dinaledi Stage, which is located at the Mary Fitzgerald Square. The stage will play host to mainstream, afro, and smooth jazz.

Mayor Parks Tau told the City of Johannesburg website: “Through the years, Joy of Jazz has become known for its ability to bring out some of the world’s top performers and this year will be no exception, with Wynton Marsalis as your headline attraction.

‘Unique identity’

He added: “Through the years it has built this unique identity by showcasing the wonderful talents of our local jazz greats together with up-and-coming artists from the African diaspora.

“Many of our current popular artists had their first performances in front of big audiences at the Joy of Jazz and I am convinced that this year’s event will again unearth some exciting new talent.”

Like the Dinaledi Stage, the Mbira Stage will also be erected on Mary Fitzgerald Square. Vocals, R&B and soul will be the order of the day, while The Bassline, a hot spot for jazz and blues in Melville, will host “straight ahead jazz”.

Situated between the Bassline and Newtown’s Turbine Hall, the Conga Stage will be purpose-built for the festival and will feature world music. It’s a response to the festival being sold out in 2010.

There will also be three free venues: Sophiatown, Shikisha and Nikki’s Oasis.

Local artists

Local artists in the line-up include the legendary Hugh Masekela; Sibongile Khumalo; Madlingozi; Simphiwe Dana; African Jazz Pioneers; Gauteng Jazz Orchestra; Julius Schultz; Kwela Tebza; Mango Groove; McCoy Mrubata; Tu Nokwe; Tutu Puoane; and Victor Ntoni.

International artists are Bokani Dyer from Botswana; Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi; Nigerian Olufemi; Belgium’s Brussels Jazz Orchestra; and the HGM Jazz Messengers from Croatia.

The American presence includes Wynton Marsalis, Frank McComb, Jeff Lorber, McCoy Tyner, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gerald Veasly and Alexander O’Neal.

Tickets for the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz are available via www.computicket.com.

Show times are from 6.30pm until past midnight.

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