The Jazz Unity

South African and American women musicians combine to give jazz a real clout

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Four influential and innovative women in jazz will combine their creative forces as a group, The Jazz Unity, for two concerts-of-a-life time.

ALSO READ: 2019 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Line-Up Announcement

This will be at the upcoming Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival 2019 at Sandton Convention Centre on Friday, 27 September, and Saturday, 28 September, on the Diphala Stage.

Two phenomenal South African artists, Nomfundo Xaluva and Zoë Modiga, will join internationally recognized names, Lafrae Olivia Sci and Lakecia Benjamin, for an historic musical journey. It is guaranteed to lift the rafters as these highly innovative musicians parade their wares, exchanging musical ideas as they explore the jazz idioms.

Nomfundo Xaluva is a Port Elizabeth-born Jazz vocalist who is at her best when performing or making records. She also teaches at the University of Cape Town. Her compositions have been an integral part of South African repertoire at both school level and at higher institutions of learning.

A two-time recipient of the Metro FM Music Award for Best Urban Jazz Album, Xaluva performed at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz in 2016 and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in 2017. She is also a classical trained pianist and educator.

Xaluva made her debut at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in April 2017 to critical acclaim. She also headlined the iMbokodo Jazz Festival in Durban in 2017 and again in 2018.

She was nominated for the Mbokodo Awards for Women in Jazz in 2015 and a South African Afro Music Award for Best Jazz Album.
She brings to The Jazz Unity her own unique styling.

It is said of Zoë Modiga that she is an artist who represents the present and future of African music. She says she draws from the roots of African storytelling, Jazz compositions and Motown soul but creates a sound entirely her own in order to communicate an evolving African sound without losing its essence.

LaFrae Sci

Modiga loved music from an early age and attended the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg, studying classical piano, clarinet and vocals. At the College of Music, at Cape Town University, she honed her skills as a Jazz performer.

Over the years Modiga has collaborated with a number of established South African artists, including the iconic Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Johnny Clegg, Simphiwe Dana and Tshepo Tshola, and performed at numerous festivals, such as the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, MTN Bushfire Festival and the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival. Last year her debut album was nominated for “Best Jazz Album” and “Best African Artist” at the SAMA Awards. She also received the Mbokodo Award for music in 2018 among her many other accolades.

New Yorker Lakecia Benjamin is one of the world’s most charismatic and dynamic saxophonists and band leaders who has shared the stage with such illustrious names as Stevie Wonder, Alicia, Keys and Macy Gray. She has her own band, Lakecia Benjamin and Soul Squad, which performs regularly, bringing a heady mix of Soul, Funk and Classic Jazz to the masses.

The fourth member of this illustrious outfit is another American,LaFrae Sci, an internationally recognized composer, drummer and producer. She writes for film, television, and large orchestral ensembles and was the conductor and director of the Middle School Jazz Academy at Jazz at Lincoln Center for several years.

Sci brings her special talent to the band’s overall impact and judging by the pedigrees of these performers Jazz fans are in for an unforgettable experience where the best of South African talent meets America’s finest in a musical journey of great expectations.

Five stages will be used where Jazz lovers will be treated to a diverse range of musical genres. At its best, Jazz is free, fun, and unleashed.

Image Courtesy: Supplied 

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