by Alex Van Essche

Jazz masterclasses

Global legends to mentor upstarts

Hugh Masekela and Vusi Mahlasela performing at CTIJF 2012
Corporate Event Day 2_Rashid Latiff-220.jpg

Several international and South African stars performing at this year’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) will join forces with the festival organiser, espAfrika, to present a series of masterclasses on 5 and 6 April 2013.


As one of the 10 different Sustainable Training and Development (T&D) projects of the CTIJF, the masterclasses provide music industry professionals and established musicians with a unique opportunity to enhance their professional skills and knowledge under the guidance of top jazz artists and music sector professionals. 


Festival director Rashid Lombard says that the master classes are two-tiered, with five Jazz Master Classes and four Urban Master Classes taking place over the three days. “They have proved incredibly successful in previous years, and we now believe that there are few classes like these that are held in South Africa regularly. The Master Classes are a real annual highlight for local music professionals.”


The 2013 Jazz Master Classes will be facilitated by well-known teacher and musician, Camillo Lombard, together with some real jazz greats such as Grammy winner Jack DeJohnette, Gregory Porter (known for his distinctive vocals and powerful composition) and Swiss Zen-funk quintet, Ronin.


“These are top musos who are keen to share their knowledge and passion with others,” says Lombard, adding that last year some 300 individuals took part in the Jazz Master Classes.


Lombard says the classes are structured around a short story experience of musician, music technique and styles, instrumentation and technology, and networking as an important skill for musicians. “The Berklee College team who run auditions in tandem with the festival will also assist with facilitation of these sessions.”


Meanwhile, the Urban Master Classes will be hosted by Camillo Lombard together with pre-eminent artists including American Robert Glasper, who blends together his funky jazz and electric hip-hop beats, and hip hop star Brother Ali, together with South African lyricist and hip-hop artist Ben Sharpa and acclaimed five-piece band from the Netherlands, Chef’Special.


The Master Classes form part of the festival’s Sustainable T&D programme funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund through the South Atlantic Arts and Culture Trust (NLDTF), the department of arts and culture and the SABC.


Paul Mashatile, minister of arts and culture, says the festival’s 10 different empowerment and skills development initiatives represent a powerful set of interventions that provide experiences and opportunities to individuals who would otherwise never have them.


“The department of arts and culture is proud to be associated with this vital component of the annual jazz event, as it opens up new opportunities and expands awareness of the power of arts and culture in our society,” the minister said.


SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said: “The SABC is proud to be the co-sponsor of the festival’s T&D programme, aimed at a new generation of musicians, arts journalists and photographers. In order for measureable progress to take place from the T&D initiative, the focus should not be based upon short-term results only: developmental work requires longer time frames to deliver meaningful and lasting impact.”


Patricia de Lille, executive mayor of Cape Town, adds: “It is heart-warming to know that many people and children from in and around Cape Town are exposed to music, musical instruments and rhythms in an entirely new way. The City and this festival have a long track record together: the event attracts visitors to our city while its communities actively participate in it. “


NLDTF chief executive Charlotte Mampane said: “The National Lotteries Board is happy to be part of the training and development initiative of the South Atlantic Arts and Culture Trust, which will see youth empowered through various programmes and thereby becoming more marketable. Under the leadership of our chairperson Professor Nevhutanda, we are all very passionate about the job creation in the various organisations we fund each year. We are confident that the training skills will help the youth access job opportunities.”

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