Indulge in some insanely good jazz with Blake Hellaby
One of Cape Town’s best pianists, Blake Hellaby is playing at Amazink live in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch this Friday December 3 with his superb quartet from 7 p.m.
Presented by Jazz in the Native Yards (CTMA), Amazink Live and Cape Town Music Academy (CTMA), this concert is an initiative to bring jazz to areas outside of traditional venues where concerts are not easily accessible.
“Cape Town is a melting pot of rich and diverse musical cultures and, due to its divided communities, these cultures have not been used as a catalyst to bring people together,” says Luvuyo Kakaza, one of the co-founders of JiNY .
“With these concerts, we create social cohesion as visitors and locals mingle freely in the spirit of jazz,” he says.
“Established jazz musicians perform with upcoming artists, creating a platform for developing talent and providing opportunities for musicians to make a living. “
Blake Hellaby’s band includes Dane Paris on drums, Shaun Johannes on bass and guitarist Michael Bester.
Hellaby is a multi-instrumentalist whose career began in Cape Town, South Africa, but has subsequently performed across Africa and Europe.
His musical journey began with classical piano lessons at the age of seven and continued through school. At the age of 14, Blake was introduced to jazz for the first time and was immediately drawn to everything around him. He then begins saxophone lessons and was taught by legendary South African saxophonist Buddy Wells.
Classical expectations of Blake’s school kept him very busy, and his jazz lessons didn’t start until he graduated from high school and started a jazz degree at the University of Cape Town.
Although he was not formally taught jazz in high school, he was still selected to be the pianist of the Standard Bank National School Big Band at the Grahamstown Jazz Festival (now the Makhanda Jazz Festival) in 2007 and made the National Youth Jazz Band in 2014..
It was in college that Blake was exposed to all kinds of new music he had never been exposed to before. It was during this period that his love for music production began. He also had the privilege of touring during his studies; once with the Miagi Youth Orchestra which performed in Johannesburg and a tour of Berlin, Germany. On another occasion at the Oslo Jazz Festival, as well as a two week tour of Burgundy, France with the Delft Big Band.
Since graduating, he has had the privilege of performing with many of South Africa’s top musicians in the jazz and commercial sectors throughout Southern Africa and Europe. Equally impressive is his studio experience, having worked with artists, DJs and songwriters as a session musician, producer and mix / mastering engineer.
Hellaby has performed and recorded with a wide range of musicians including McCoy Mrubata, Mark Fransman, Buddy Wells, Mandisi Dyantyis, Frank Paco (MOZ), Martin Zenker (GER), Jimmy Nevis, Yvette Norwood-Tiger (USA), Ivan Mazuze , Ian Smith, Tarryn Lamb, John Hassan (MOZ), Jo Kunnuji (NIG), Schalk Joubert, Ziza Muftic, David Kramer, Loukmaan Adams, Emo Adams, Vicky Sampson, Don Vino Prince among others.
Hellaby’s version of ‘jazz’ awakened listeners to his skillful use of hardcore funk, be-bop, grungy blues (courtesy of Michael Bester’s guitar solos) and rock, all loosely wrapped in one. style of soulful improvisation that Hellaby makes use of, ”says Carol Martin.
Ready to get into jazz? Check out the details below:
- Date: Friday, November 3
- Location: Amazink Live, Masithandane Rd, Kayamandi, Stellenbosch
- Time: 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
- Tickets: Discounts for retirees and R150 / R70 students include a complimentary glass of wine.
- Reservations: 060 960 8935
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