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 IT  could just be the wanderings of a mind in the habit of putting one and one together.

A feature of the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz’s 2014 line-up may be giving quality music lovers some heads-up about the festival’s 16th birthday in 2015. Four, a number also referred to as a square root of 16 in mathematical language, is the number of South African vocalists who are expected to blow socks off at the opening of the Joy of Jazz.

Kicking-off this year’s event, on September 25 at the Sandton Convention Centre, is a collaborative performance between Sibongile Khumalo, Gloria Bosman, Melanie Scholtz and Tutu Puoane. Opening the show on the night will be Ann Hampton Callaway. As is often the case where South African and Western artists share the stage; the Khumalo led collaboration is likely to put pressure on Dianne Reeves and Gregory Porter who are scheduled to perform after them. The two may be pushed to raise the performance bar, or is it the heat, much higher on the evening.

The other two days of the festival, (26 and 27, are pregnant with names of artists that are held highly for their remarkable and quality work. Such include Delfeayo Marsalis, Jonas Gwangwa, Richard Bona, Roy Hargrove, Omar Sosa and Christian

Scott. A name that drew a ‘oh no!’ reaction during the artists line-up announcement was Billy Ocean. Known for songs like When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going; Billy Ocean might find some of the audience to be rough towards him. An individual attending the media launch asked, with a muffled voice, ‘what does Billy Ocean have to offer?’ This may well be the sentiment of many. The question stem from the fact that Ocean is not known, at least locally, to have been active for a long while. Billy Mawatle, as Ocean was sometimes referred to in Mzansi during his heyday, may draw some comfort on the knowledge that those susceptible to nostalgia will scream their lungs out for him.

An uncompromising, when it comes to sound and performance, number of South Africa acts add value to the 2014 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz. Included are Feya Faku, the Mike Rossi Project, Herbie Tsoaeli, Carlos Mombelli, Shane Cooper, Kyle Shepherd. Filipino recording artist Charmaine Clamor, Italian jazz singer and Grammy nominee Roberta Gambarini, Dwele from the US and Poland’s trumpeter Tomasz Stańko will also appear at the festival. Germany’s Wolfgang Diefenbach will be providing a big band sound while Marsalis will be appearing with the Uptown Jazz Orchestra that is reported to be playing everything from traditional New Orleans music, swing and bebop to modern-day brass band funk.

Audiences will be able to buy tickets providing access to all four stages – Dinaledi, Conga, Mbira and Diphala. Tickets for the opening night are hospitality exclusive only and can be bought from SBS Events and Standard Bank Joy of Jazz. The price includes event-ticket, sit-down three-course dinner, beverages and a Standard Bank Joy of Jazz gift package. Ticket are on sale at Computicket with a one-day pass going for R750 and a two-day pass is R1250.

 Teaming up to make the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz possible are producers T-Musicman and sponsors Standard Bank, Department of Arts & Culture; the City of Joburg, Gauteng Province and South African Tourism.


Comment About The Move to Sandton

As backs are turned on Newtown, organisers of the Joy of Jazz Festival greet the opulent city of Northern Joburg with a sense of anticipation for increased fortunes.

Of course the divorce papers served on Newtown, a few months ago, have shuttered those still clutching on to the idea of Newtown possessing the richest cultural soul in Joburg.Joy of Jazz’s move from Newton to Sandton has been long coming. It perhaps confirms belief that the notion of Newtown as an arts hub is a dying, if not an already dead idea. Arts On Main, situated towards east of the Jo’burg CBD, has been successfully punted as thee desirable surrounding for the arts crowd. Braamfotein has a new live Jazz venue the Orbit and two theatres and several art galleries

There’s no need for intellectuals or economists to explain that Peter Tladi, who is Joy of Jazz’s producer, has made a sensible business decision. It cannot be Tladi’s fault that Newtown has not benefited, especially in the building of bigger performance venues, from infrastructure development. There was no consideration for live music performances of a larger scale in the office, hotel and shopping mall development, worth nearly a billion rands, that is due to be completed late in the year in Newtown. This is despite the fact that the Joy of Jazz and Jo’burg’s own Arts Alive big music performances have been staged in tents, in the area, for numerous years.

Sentiment’s aside, Joy of Jazz was and has never been purely for the arts market or arty-fatty crowd if you like. As a profit driven business concept, combining lifestyle and art, it has appealed to a consumer market of expensive tastes that just happens to love music of a particular kind. More and more of this market has been showing great appetite for what’s on offer at the festival resulting in tickets often being sold out.

Of course those that hanged around at free concerts and immersed themselves in the electric atmosphere, while enjoying the only big buzz that was left in Newtown, will suffer. It’s also a pity about parking attendants and traders that will loose out as a result of the move to Sandton.

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