On the 17th of June 2017, for ONE night only, at the Durban International Convention Centre, the Durban International Jazz Extravaganza (IJE) will host and present the international jazz icons, Kurt Elling, Nduduzo Makhathini and Thandi Ntuli who will indulge jazz lovers with some of their best pieces – both the old and the new.
“Music brings about social cohesion. Music by international acts in Durban bring more tourists to the city and allow us to contribute towards the country’s economic growth. As the warmest city in the land, Durban is proud to be the host city for this jazz extravaganza,” said Philip Sithole, the Head of Business Support, Tourism and Markets at The City of Durban.
Fifty-five years after he moved to the United States from Kingston, Jamaica, his home town, pianist Monty Alexander is an American classic, touring the world relentlessly with various projects, delighting a global audience drawn to his vibrant personality and soulful message.
His spirited conception is one informed by the timeless verities: endless melody-making, effervescent grooves, sophisticated voicings, a romantic spirit and a consistent predisposition, as Alexander accurately states, “to build up the heat and kick up a storm.”
In the course of any given performance, Alexander applies those aesthetics to his repertoire spanning a broad range of jazz and Jamaican musical expression—the American songbook and the blues, gospel and bebop, calypso and reggae. Like his “eternal inspiration,” Erroll Garner, Alexander—cited as the fifth greatest jazz pianist ever in The Fifty Greatest Jazz Piano Players of All Time (Hal Leonard Publishing) and mentioned in Robert Doerschuk’s 88: The Giants of Jazz Piano—gives the hardcore-jazz-obsessed much to dig into while also communicating his message to the squarest “civilian.”
GRAMMY winner Kurt Elling is among the world’s foremost jazz vocalists. He won the Down Beat Critics Poll for fourteen consecutive years and was named “Male Singer of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association eight times in that same span. Every one of Elling’s ten albums has been nominated for a GRAMMY.
Elling’s rich baritone spans four octaves and features both astonishing technical mastery and emotional depth. His repertoire includes original compositions and modern interpretations of standards, all of which are springboards for inspired improvisation, scatting, spoken word and poetry.
Passion World, Kurt Elling’s newest recording, culminates nearly five years of collecting and honing songs – and in some cases writing new lyrics – that express love, romance and heartbreak around the world. In concert Elling tells rich stories about the history and context of each of these songs to sweep you away on a grand tour of exotic places, cultures and times.
Growing up in the small town uMgungundlovu near Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal, Makhatini was
surrounded by music. Coming from a very musical family- his mother was a pianist and his
Father a guitarist- he was exposed to a range of music including traditional Zulu music. He recalls turning the knob on the radio until it reached the end, where he would listen to Indian music. He was part of the choir at school and would sing at church, and until he was finished school, his voice was his instrument. It was only after High School that he started to study jazz piano. “I reached a point where my voice limited me from expressing the music, and that’s when I focused on the piano.’’
He feels his career has developed in what he describes as an organic process, starting with his upbringing and the influence of his mother being his first piano teacher. “Over the years I have learnt that if you submit yourself to the music or whatever your dream is then mother-nature has a way of taking care of the rest”.
Amongst some of the prestigious awards Nduduzo has won, he was a Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz in 2015, and 1st recipient of the British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship Masters Scholarship.
Thandi Ntuli comes from a lineage of rich musical heritage. Thandi is the niece of guitarist, pianist and lead vocalist of 70’s pop fusion band Harari (formerly known as The Beaters), Selby Ntuli.
Since the release of her debut jazz album, “The Offering” which she released independently, Thandi is fast making an imprint in the local jazz scene with her unique voice. “The Offering” has received critical acclaim as well as numerous awards and recognition since its release in 2014, namely a Metro FM award nomination for “Best Urban Jazz” in 2015.
Her compositions draw from a wide array of influences that has seen her working closely with many artists, across different genres. Some of her most notable collaborations include Thandiswa Mazwai, Neo Muyanga, Steve Dyer, QB Smith (UK/SA), Marcus Wyatt, The Brother Moves On, Sir LSG, Bheki Khoza, Siya Makuzeni and many more.
Spyro Gyra have become international contemporary jazz icons over their forty year plus career and will complete the international line up at the extravaganza. During that time, they have sold over ten million albums and played over five thousand shows on five continents.
With a pianist for a mother and a guitarist for a father, Nduduzo Makhathini was raised around music. From listening to Indian musicians as a child to the jazz extraordinaire that he is today, he is a Metro Award winner and has been a South African Music Awards nominee for several years.
A leader who believes in imparting knowledge, this muso has taught music at the Wits University, conducts music workshops at the National Arts Festival and SAJE. He recently performed at the Blue Dan Jazz in Mauritius and Stockholm Jazz Festival.
His talent is unrivaled and he has more to show to the world.
A 10 – year old self – taught guitarist, Luthando Jackson, currently in Grade 5 at Epworth Preparatory School, Pietermaritzburg – a scholarship he earned, this young musician has always looked up to Lee Ritenour as a musical inspiration.
Whilst he may be young, he’s already graced guests with his music by performing at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Midmar and Tatham Art Gallery. He has played with KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, duet with world-renowned classical guitarist James Grace, Soul Brothers and has played for the President Mr J. Zuma.
Also known as Captain Fingers, the internationally renowned, Lee Ritenour will thrill fans with pieces from his new album, A Twist of Rit, a celebration of 40 years in the industry since his first recording. Revisiting selections from the 70s, 80s, 90s to now, attendees can expect 2 hours of pure pleasure.
Ritenour’s band consists of musos that have been in the industry for decades. He will be joined on stage by Patrice Rushen on piano and keyboards; Tom Kennedy on the bass guitar; and William Kennedy on the drums.