Sound Advice – Gigs (May 16-22)

Albert Frost… various KwaZulu-Natal dates this week.

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BILLY SUTER with his weekly gig guide. Gigs in and around Durban include guitarist Albert Frost at various venues and a supper show by the Gee Jays vocal trio.
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DURBAN’S Centre for Jazz and Popular Music presents Feya Faku and John Kordalewski (US) in concert, featuring The UKZN Big Band, from 6pm on Wednesday, May 16.

The venue is the centre’s premises on the second level of the Shepstone Building on the University of KwaZulu-Natal campus. Doors open at 5.30pm and admission is  R80 (R50 for pensioners and R25 for students). Vontact Thuli on (031) 2603385 for more details

Pianist John Kordalewski is best known as the leader and arranger for the Makanda Project, a 13-piece group playing previously unrecorded compositions by Makanda Ken McIntyre and featuring several of Boston and New York’s leading jazz musicians.

He has worked with such notable jazz musicians as Carl Grubbs, Makanda Ken McIntyre, Ricky Ford, Oliver Lake, Andy McGhee, Webster Young, Craig Harris, Odean Pope, Billy Hart, Barry Altschul, Chico Freeman, Michael Gregory Jackson, Cab Calloway and Charlie Rouse.

Members of the UKZN Big Band.

For many years he also led a trio featuring legendary Boston drummer Bobby Ward.  In the 1990s he was a core member of saxophonist Salim Washington’s nine-piece Roxbury Blues Aesthetic, which occupied a unique niche in the Boston jazz scene.

He has performed in Julius Hemphill’s saxophone opera Long Tongues and directed performances of Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music.  He has also participated in numerous community-based jazz education projects and led clinics at several colleges and universities.

When living in Washington DC in the late 1970s, one of his important mentors was South African pianist Ndikho Xaba, who was living in the US in exile at the time.

Recently he has arranged several of Xaba’s compositions for big band, performing them with the Makanda Project as well as with the big band at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban.  In the past year he has also collaborated with South African trumpeter Fezile ‘Feya’ Faku, performing together in several different contexts in the US.

Faku was born in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, and studied music at the then-University of Natal with Darius Brubeck. He graduated with a University Diploma in Jazz Studies.

He has performed with a great number of South African musical legends – from Barney Rachabane, Thandie Classen, Duke Makasi, Pat Matshikiza and Basel Coetzee to Winston ‘Mankunku’ Ngozi, Bheki Mseleku and Abdullah Ibrahim. Among the generation that has followed them, he is considered one of South Africa’s leading jazz musicians.

The UKZN Big Band features a programme that ranges from classic swing arrangements of Duke Ellington and Count Basie to great arrangements of tunes by local jazz luminaries such as Hugh Masekela and Ndiko Xaba, the funk music of Earth, Wind and Fire, and student arrangements of house music stars such as Micasa and Davido.

For this week’s varsity concert John has arranged two of Feya Faku’sd compositions, namely Bandile and Song for my Fathers. The Big Band will feature two of Ndikos songs as well.

The UKZN BIG BAND has had two highly successful performances this year featuring their House Music repertoire. The band is growing in size and has truly instilled confidence in the younger players of the Band.

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GUITARIST Albert Frost gives three KwaZulu-Natal performances this week as part of his African Frost Tour taking place from May 17 to June 16 across six African countries.

Presented in association with Concerts SA, SAMA-winning blues-rock guitarist Frost’s tour will take in South Africa, Swaziland, Maputo, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

“Fans in each country can look forward to an unforgettable show as Frost takes his trademark high-energy live performance across the various African borders, before heading abroad to Amsterdam and North America towards the end of the year,” says a spokesman.

Frost is ready for the African Frost Tour and comments: “I am so excited for this tour for a couple of reasons. It’s time for me to expand and Africa is opening up to artists like myself, especially coming from a blues background which encapsulates a world music feel.

“Expect a diverse mixture of styles delivered with acoustic and electric guitars, something you will feel because it’s real and uncompromised.”

Frost took home his first SAMA last year when his third solo album, The Wake Up, won the award for Best Rock Album. The album successfully explored a departure from Frost’s blues roots.

He will first perform on Thursday, May 17, at Legends Showcase in East London, then entertains at Ramsgate’s Rocky Ridge, 2430 Fascadale Road, Ramsgate Beach, from 7pm on Friday, May 18. Tickets for this gig cost R80 if booked via (039) 314 4660, or R120 at the door on the night.

Durban’s Winston Pub, 9 Clark Road, Glenwood, is the venue to be at from 8pm on Saturday, May 19, when admission will be R60 a head.To book, or for more details, phone (072) 100 5353.

Frost will then perform from 1pm on Sunday, May 20, at Marriot Ballito Beats at Sugar Rush Park, Esenembe Road, Ballito. Admission is R150.

Also catch him at the Midlands’s Caversham Mill in Howick from 6pm on Thursday, May 24, when entry is R130.

Frost then heads for the Bushfire Festival in Malkerns Valley, Swaziland, from May 25 to 27 before heading for Mozambique, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

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HEAD for the Rhumbelow Theatre’s branch at Tina’s Hotel, 14 Beryldene Road, Kloof, to catch seasoned Durban vocal trio The Gee Jays at 8pm from Thursday to Saturday, and 2pm on Sunday, May 16 to 20.

The Gee Jays – Grant Bell, Gary McKenzie and John Didlick.

Singers Grant Bell, John Didlick and Gary McKenzie will present Our Way, a sentimental journey of song tipping hats to Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, Engelbert Humperdinck, Louis Armstrong, Neil Diamond, Frank Ifield, The Beatles, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Robbie Williams and  others.

Tickets cost R150 (R130 for pensioners) and booking is by phoning Roland at 082 499 8636.

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THE Rockwood Theatre at Sibaya Casino is presenting a new show, That ’80s Show, that is a fun entertainment. Check it out from Thursdays to Sundays  – it features Barry and Calli Thomson and a host of other talents. Expect music by Wham, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Tina Turner, Def Leppard, Tears for Fears and more.

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QUICKIE… note that one-man Cajun Blues machine Michael Canfield is scheduled to perform free from 7pm on Tuesday, May 22, at Crusaders in Durban North. There will be drinks specials and food on offer. Phone (031) 563 0824 for more details.

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