South Africa provides the theme for tonight’s exclusive performance. A superb double bill featuring Darius Brubeck (son of Dave Brubeck), and his famed quartet, well known for their renditions of Tshona (Pat Matshikiza), Tsakwe (Abdullah Ibrahim) and Darius’ own Tugela Rail. South African ex-Manhattan Brothers keyboard and harmonica player Adam Glasser leads the Township Comets – the band features ex-Loose Tube trumpeter Chris Batchelor, saxophonist Jason Yarde and trombonist Harry Brown, with strong rhythmic support from bassist Steve Watts and drummer Frank Tontoh. This really is a top drawer double bill.
With their fiery infectious sound grounded in the irresistable harmony of south african jazz, the Township Comets have achieved a distinctive presence on the London jazz scene. They were the subject in 2012 of an acclaimed BBC music video capturing their live performance at the Vortex Jazz Club. Their recent sold out gig at the London Jazz Festival is testimony to a growing audience demand for their unique South African repertoire delivered with blistering energy and commitment.
Formed by south african pianist/harmonica player Adam Glasser and trumpeter Chris Batchelor ( both of whom played with in Zila, legendary ensemble led Dudu Pukwana in the 80s), the Comets also features virtuoso alto saxophonist Jason Yarde (who has worked with Hugh Masekela and performs often in South Africa).
With vibrant horn arrangements and passionate idiomatic solos, few ensembles can boast such a close connection to the repertoire of key composers in SA jazz history. For this performance at Ronnie Scott's, The Comets will include new arrangements of masterpieces by the likes of Jonas Gwangwa , Zim Ngqawana, Tete Mbambisa and Caiphus Semenya. A gig not to be missed!
“I heard the Township Comets playing Dudu Pukwana’s music, and Chris McGregor’s legacy, and that was fantastic...really like hearing those wonderful bands with Dudu in all over again” (John Fordham).
Since August 2006, South African lyric soprano, Joyce Moholoagae, has inspired thousands of singers in her role as workshop leader with Mbawula around the UK. Her instinctive knowledge of African culture and song was enhanced by study at the University of Natal where she gained a Diploma in music performance. Further study for a postgraduate diploma in opera at the Royal Academy of Music and the experience of several hundred Mbawula choral workshops has developed a set of skills enabling her to effortlessly move between the traditions of both African song and classical vocal production.
A native speaker of several African languages, Joyce is able to interpret, inflect and translate meaning and articulation to choral singers from different backgrounds and cultures, regardless of experience and skill level. With Mbawula, she has inspired singers from the ages of 5 to 75 to sing confidently in Zulu, Sesotho, Xhosa and Setswana and has provided a focus, context and framework for this joyful and profound music.
With a natural and welcoming style, Joyce Moholagae also has the necessary skills to draw young (and less young) people into the world of African dance and movement: this results in a spectacular explosion of song and dance on stage with Mbawula and illustrates the skills possessed by Joyce to inspire the head, heart and feet.