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PETER Tladi aims to create as many employment opportunities as possible for South African session musicians.

The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz producer spoke about his well-meaning efforts on the sidelines of the Indian Ocean Music Market at the Reunion Island from June 4 to 6. Tladi said United States of America acts, the Temptations and Lerona Raphael will depend on the expertise of some of the best Mzansi artists as part of their backing bands at the 2013 festival. “We have been having this kind of arrangement for a number of years now,” says Tladi. “On each occasion that we have done it the big foreign international acts concerned could not stop raving about the high standard, professionalism and incredible skill of Mzansi artists. Our five year vision is to at least have most of the lead artists we bring from outside to perform with South African artists as their backing band.”

 Tladi could not be persuaded to shed more light on the other big name artists scheduled to appear at the Joy of Jazz apart from those that have already been announced. “Look out for the big announcement we will be making on July 1,” is all he could say. One of the exciting and surprising but also welcomed additions to the 2013 line-up is Jeff Maluleka who has not been seen on a big festival stage in a while. The exceptionally talented vocalist and songwriter has had his fair share of hits and misses in the nearly twenty years that he has been a recording artist. Maluleka remains among the few adult contemporary artists that sing in pure xiTsonga in a troubling time where indigenous Mzansi languages are reportedly spoken by a fewer people or declining in popularity. Meanwhile those with a longer memory and appreciation of South Africa Jazz will certainly be curious about the nature, texture, tempo and feel of Mlungisi Gegana’s Joy of Jazz performance in tribute to double bassist and pianist Johnny Dyani.

Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse will also go to his performance knowing at the back of his mind that there are high expectations of an exceptional presentation in his homage to the late Zim Ngqawana. Additional Mzansi acts appearing at the annual jazz gig include Stimela, Sibongile Mngoma, Zonke, Kabomo, Selaelo Selota, Mbuso Khoza, Ivan Mazuze and Themba Mkhize. It would seem the only other performing -at the festival- artist from within the African continent but outside Mzansi is the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ray Lema. Other foreign acts in the line-up include Carmen Lundy, Donald Harrison, Christian Scott, Eddie Daniels, Tsuyoshi Yamamoto, Tia Fuller Dennis Edwards of the Temptations fame, Peter White, Tango String Quartet and René Marie. Opening the event on August 22 will be Abdullah Ibrahim, Terence Blanchard and Ahmad Jamal.

The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz will be on until August 24 and takes place on eight stages in Newtown including the Dinaledi Stage, the Conga, Mbira, Bassline and The Market Theatre. Other venues include free concerts at Sophiatown, Shikisha and Nikki’s Oasis. Bookings at computicket

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