Jazz music handsomely rewards great individuality, but as a the democratic process incarnate in music, jazz also demands a strict ability to collaborate.

The 21st edition of the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz programme is lush with some of the greatest collaborative projects on any jazz festival roster this season.

Kyle Shepherd

Leading this display of shared commitment to musical vision and excellence will be a number of performances by the former Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year award recipients. They represent the highest number that has ever been represented on one programme in the history of the festival and the awards. That’s a big deal. This year, eight SBYA alumni will perform in varying capacities on the four stages of Africa’s most authentic jazz festival.

The various stages will feature 2018 Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz Thandi Ntuli, 2015 winner Nduduzo Makhathini, 2014 winner Kyle Shepherd, 2011 winner Bokani Dyer, 2008 winner Mark Fransman, 2006 winner Concord Nkabinde and Gloria Bosman, who received the award in 2000.

Bokani Dyer

Bokani Dyer

The first notable collaborative project will see pianists, Bokani Dyer and Kyle Shepherd collaborate with Azerbaijan born and Manhattan based pianist and composer, Amina Figorova. The three way performance is suitably named “Piano Play”. It’s a deceptively simple name for the project. The gig may easily see the three individuals present the most memorable musical interaction on offer this year. These are three strong voices and identities on the instruments. They will each be challenged to interchangeably be in charge of the rhythm section, melody and sustain harmony as they chart through their negotiated repertoire. Dyer and Shepherd may both be from Mzansi, however they represent disparate traditions in our vast jazz lexicon. While Shepherd has built a strong voice rooted in the spirit of the Cape thanks to his mastery of Goema in the way American artists are required to understand the blues as a basis of all they do. Dyer is very much a child of the north region of the country musically. They will have to bring this out while conversing with all the complexity Amina Figorova brings to the stage.

Amina Figarova

Amina Figarova

Pianist Nduduzo Makhathini will also present a lush collaborative project featuring Americans, Azar Lawrence on saxophone and Michael Bowie on bass alongside Makhathini’s long time partner, Ayanda Sikade on drums. The performance will bring together jazz traditions from two of the main jazz centres of the world, South Africa and the United States. The heart of their musical interaction will be the memory and musical heritage of late great saxophonist, John Coltrane. The band will negotiate the expanses and excesses of of his lofty legacy here and beyond.

So when we gather to enjoy performances at the festival this weekend. We will be witnesses to much more than virtuoso performances and music excellence, but a testament to the meaning of the Standard Bank’s 20 year support to the creation of this festival and our shared jazz heritage.

For more info on the festival please visit www.standardbank.com/joyofjazz

In celebration of their 20 year sponsorship of the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, the bank is offering 2 lucky DEKAT readers a chance to win tickets to the festival held at the Sandton Convention Centre on Saturday night 29 September.

To win a pair of tickets worth R1500 answer the following question:

How many years has Standard Bank sponsored the Joy of Jazz festival? 

Fill in your answer and details below