Cape Town is a jazz town. We love jazzing at West End. We have Sunday lunch at Sea Point’s Winchester Mansions with a jazz band playing in the courtyard. We push our way through 30000 Joburgers to get a view of the stage at the Cape Town Jazz Festival.
We get excited when free jazz is played at Greenmarket Square, City Hall or the Company Gardens. Some of the world’s biggest jazz stars have performed here: Al Jarreau, George Benson, Randy Crawford, Brand New Heavies and Incognito – the list is long.
Jazz People are passionate people and we get disappointed as quickly as we get excited. I was unhappy to learn that Spyro Gyra’s recent Cape Town concert was cancelled three days before the show. (They were due to play on June 14.) But with the loss of one jazz band comes the gain of another: legendary Grammy-winning US jazz outfit The Manhattan Transfer are coming to South Africa! They are confirmed to play Grand West on September 3 and Carnival City on September 5.
The Manhattan Transfer formed initially in the late 1960s in New York and over time have won four Grammys. Renowned songwriter Rod Temperton (he wrote hits for Michael Jackson) worked with the band.
Ahmet Ertegün, founder and chairman of Atlantic Records, saw them and offered a recording contract. These are big league names. In 1981 The Manhattan Transfer made music history by becoming the first group to win Grammy awards for both popular and jazz categories in the same year. They’re still busy and began work on a new album in 2011. Don’t miss the chance to see them. Like the official SA tour Facebook fan page for information updates: www.facebook.com/TheManhattanTransferSATour
Speaking of big international names: one of my favourite concerts was Skunk Anansie at the 3 Arts Theatre in Plumstead in the late 1990s. I don’t remember the exact year – I recall being a young radio head working at the Matie FM campus radio station in Stellenbosch. Skin, the angry, shaven-headed androgynous lead-singer was incredible, bouncing up and down along the old wooden stage with an energy that I remember 15 years later.
The band has been confirmed to return to SA and will headline the Rocking The Daisies Festival in Darling in October. Skunk Anansie will share their headliner status with Swedish rock act The Hives. Visit www.rockingthedaisies.com for more information.
And then sad news for the international RnB scene this week with the passing of Puff Johnson. She succumbed to a long battle with cervical cancer. Puff Johnson’s hits included ‘Forever More’ and ‘Over and Over’. Grammy-winning songwriter Dianne Warren tweeted: “I can’t not believe that one of the nicest people and best singers, Puff Johnson has passed away. So young too young.” Johnson had a special love for her South African fans and was no stranger to making waves here. In 2010 she was denied entry into South Africa after she had lived in SA without the necessary paperwork for almost a year. Rest in peace, Puff.
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