Rhythm shaman: Avant garde jazz musician Louis Moholo-Moholo, seen here imparting his knowledge to fellow artists and students. He will be performing at the jazz festival in Cape Town with a group of talented musicians under the name Louis Moholo Presents 5 Blokes 1 Doll. Picture: GREGORY FRANZ
Rhythm shaman: Avant garde jazz musician Louis Moholo-Moholo, seen here imparting his knowledge to fellow artists and students. He will be performing at the jazz festival in Cape Town with a group of talented musicians under the name Louis Moholo Presents 5 Blokes 1 Doll. Picture: GREGORY FRANZ

Previous instalments of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival showcased many outstanding performers. But in 2018, the event promises to deliver jazz in its purest form.

Some of the greatest local and foreign jazz musicians will serve up their sounds at the Cape Town International Convention Centre next weekend.

Mulatu Astatke is known as the father of Ethiopian jazz, with his music reflecting and expressing the unique landscapes of that country.

Astatke was the first student from Africa to enrol at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

When he returned to his homeland, he developed Ethio jazz, which blended traditional Ethiopian music with Latin sounds. His appearance at the jazz festival is probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear his music live in SA.

Louis Moholo-Moholo could be described as the shaman of spiritual escapism.

If jazz were a martial art, he would be the master of chopping up concrete blocks with his bare hands.

Known as top free jazz musician, Moholo-Moholo is a figure of stubborn resilience. His career spans six decades, and he is still pulling forward.

The Blue Notes

Now a septuagenarian, Moholo-Moholo has his roots in a rare and instinctive breed of artists who rose to international fame as part of the jazz collective known as The Blue Notes.

Regarded as one of the forebears of avant garde jazz, the South African drummer will share his musical wisdom at the festival under the title Louis Moholo Presents 5 Blokes 1 Doll, featuring Kyle Shepherd (piano), Shakeel Sohail-Gibran Cullis (bass), Siya Makuzeni (vocals and trombone), Nhlanhla Mahlangu (saxophone) and Abraham Mennen (saxophone).

Vijay Iyer is one of the most celebrated jazz musicians of our time, and has drawn accolades from numerous quarters across the globe, particularly over the past decade.

The New York-based jazz pianist, composer, bandleader, producer, electronic musician and writer has a rich repertoire.

His informal music training began at the age of three, when he started playing the piano by ear. Mostly self-taught on that instrument, he is now a professor of the arts in the department of music at Harvard University.

Iyer studied mathematics and physics at Yale University, while pursuing music.

He will bring his usual suspects and long-time collaborators to the South African stage — Stephan Crump and Marcus Gilmore have featured on three of his albums.

The string of diverse artists Iyer has worked with – which includes the great poet, Amiri Baraka (who died in 2014), hip hop duo Dead Prez and many others – serves as evidence of his artistic flair.

In 2003, he premiered his first collaboration with poet-producer-performer Mike Ladd in a song called In What Language?, which dealt with airports, fear and surveillance before and after 9/11.

He also wrote and performed Suites For Trayvon (and Thousand More): Fallacies in support of Trayvon Martin and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. With more than 20 albums under his belt and countless awards and accolades, there is no doubt Iyer’s performance will be a unique opportunity to witness the relationship that is said to exist between mathematics, physics and jazz.

• The Cape Town International Jazz Festival is at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on March 23 and 24.

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