Free online jazz festival and heritage celebration



“Connecting the Tradition” is the theme of an online jazz festival, presented today by the Center for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Arts & Culture at the University of Johannesburg, the Center for Jazz and Popular Music from UKZN, and the South African Association for Jazz Education.

It is inspired by a large conference topic, “Does Jazz Matter? Which was reportedly organized by the South African Association for Jazz Education later this year, but which had to be canceled due to national lockdowns.

The free online festival will be featured to mark World Jazz Appreciation Month, which is organized to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary legacy and history of jazz.

People of all ages are encouraged to participate in jazz, study music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on the radio and on recordings, read jazz books, etc.

Legendary South African composer Todd Matshikiza will be highlighted in two webinars.

In ‘Milestones: The Todd Matshikza Centenary’, journalist Sam Mathe will discuss his life and career with Dr Lindelwa Dalamba (Wits University), Dr Sazi Dlamini (UKZN), Nomfundo Xaluva (University of Cape Town) and Dr Carol Muller (University of Pennsylvania).

In “King Kong: 60 Years Later”, Adam Glasser will present his popular lecture reflecting the musical 60 years after its staging. The legendary 1960s musical, written by Matshikiza, has always been a part of the personal history of South African pianist and harmonica player Glasser.

As a child, he attended dress rehearsals in the Wits Great Hall before the actors left for London in 1961 with his father Stanley “Spike” Glasser, their musical director.

Glasser’s mother, Mona, wrote the only book ever published on King Kong, and as a teenager from Johannesburg he was often drawn to Dorkay House to seek out original musicians from the King Kong bandaged.

He also has a particularly strong memory of meeting Mackay Davashe and then attending his funeral in Soweto a few days later in January 1971.

There will also be a webinar, “Covid-19: Impacts on the Jazz Festival and Gig Economy,” presented by print and digital media reporter Atiyyah Khan, which will examine the impact of the pandemic.

She will host a discussion with Billy Domingo (Cape Town International Jazz Festival), Mantwa Chinoamadi (Joy of Jazz), Alan Webster (National Youth Jazz Festival) and independent promoters Marlyn Knol and Nikki Froneman.

In ‘Dreaming and Believing: New South African Voices in Jazz’, Brenda Sisane will present a program featuring six young South African jazz musicians, their music and discuss with them their aspirations.

The full program is available on the websites of each of the the partners and will be broadcast live on all social media platforms.

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