Traffic and road blockages invaded the city of Cape Town, as countless South Africans (and foreigners) poured into the Mother City for Africa's Grandest Gathering – the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
Featuring an array of well-known Jazz talent – including local and international acts – the 18th annual fest entertained the masses with a spectacular weekend-filled 'jazzathon'.
Naturally, we were in attendance over the two-day course to give you the best possible coverage.
Here are the highlights of the 2017 Cape Town Jazz Festival...
Day 1: Friday March 31, 2017
Accidents can sometimes be a good thing, especially if it's all worth it in the end. After accidentally ending up in the wrong venue, I could honestly not bring myself to leave after being drawn to the sound that played there. Featuring relaxing mid-tempo tunes and gorgeous vocals, Vudu's soothing jazzy sounds are perfect when you're lounging about after a hard day's work.
If you love Jazz and R&B, then you'll enjoy what SAMA (South African Music Award) winner Ernie Smith has to offer. R&B legend Peabo Bryson easily came to mind when Smith entertained the masses at this weekend's fest. However; the musician has so much more to offer, as he has another infusion up his sleeve – Afro-Jazz. The result: a blend of pure nostalgia that won the crowd over.
Deepak Pandit, Marcus Wyatt & Ranjit Barot
One of the top 3 performances of the night, and possibly the biggest surprise. Deepak Pandit, Marcus Wyatt and Ranjit Barot was a performance of different cultures coming together to make music. A band that infuses Indian instrumental with jazz in one song; while another tune contains Cameroon jazz. Instruments at their repertoire include a piano, double bass, trumpet, drums, tabla and violin – which come together to create an innovative sound that works wonders. At one point, the band deconstructed themselves by delivering solo performances with each instrument – it really helped each performer (and instrument) stand out.
The best performance of the festival belongs to iconic South African group, Mango Groove – which attracted possibly the biggest audience of the night. The local band delivered their signature Afro-Pop sound – and did not disappoint. Performing a string of hits which had the crowd singing and dancing along, Mango Groove brought energy and proved to us why they're one of SA's best musical talents.
While I've never had the pleasure of witnessing a live MTV performance before; I finally got my wish at the Jazz fest after watching American R&B girl group, En Vogue take to the stage – and what a performance it was! The Grammy-nominated trio from the 90's concluded Friday's festivities driving the crowd wild with their biggest hits, including: Whatta Man and Free Your Mind. En Vogue was no doubt the standout act of the entire festival, bringing something out of the ordinary.
Day 2: Saturday April 1, 2017
Soweto String Quartet
One of SA's well-known Jazz legends graced us with their presence at the festival, and showed audiences what classic South African Jazz is all about. Their infectious mix of kwela dance rhythms, mbaqanga and African Jazz is the perfect combination of innovation. The band even treated 7de Laan fans with a rendition of the SA soapie's previous theme song.
(Soweto String Quartet performing at the 2017 Cape Town Jazz Festival. Credit: Luqman Ahmed)
A cross between Rihanna and Adele. American Soul-Jazz singer Andra Day possesses that sultry voice from the Barbadian beauty, and the long-range vocals from the powerhouse Brit. Overall; her vocals are unique, and the lyrical content from her sensational tunes is inspiring – particularly the Black Lives Matter issues.
(Andra Day performing at the 2017 Cape Town Jazz Festival. Credit: Luqman Ahmed)
Infusing hip-hop with jazz, The Internet's unique sound is what makes them a standout. The band made quite an impression at the festival as their much younger fanbase filled the crowded venue, loudly chanting to the band's biggest hits. It was audience participation at its best. All in all, The Internet delivered an electrifying performance that reinvents hip-hop music.
(The Internet performing at the 2017 Cape Town Jazz Festival. Credit: Luqman Ahmed)
Another filled up venue of the night belongs to Judith Sephuma, whose long-range vocals and Afro-jazz beats is always a winner. The singer had the masses mesmerised with her soulful tunes and powerful voice. Need I say more…
(Judith Sephuma performing at the 2017 Cape Town Jazz Festival. Credit: Luqman Ahmed)
And finally we have The Rudimentals, which I'm sure most have heard on radio stations across the country. What makes this band so unique is the number of genres they combine into one sound. Reggae, funk, jazz and rap is an interesting mix of genres; and the band uses these to craft a distinctive sound that's innovative and catchy. If I could use three words to describe their performance at the festival, it would be… bouncy, fresh and memorable.
Have a look at our photo slide show below...
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