Sound Advice (Nov 7-13)

The band Skyjack, comprising South African and Swiss musicians. Catch them in Durban from 6pm today (Wednesday, November 7).

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BILLY SUTER with his weekly Gig Guide for in and around Durban. Highlights this week include a jazz jol, a new Rockwood Theatre show, a Leonard Cohen tribute and a MiTH gig by Chloe Clark.
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HEAD for the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music in Durban tonight (Wednesday, November 7)  if you are keen to catch five top jazz artists launching their second album as a group.

Award-winning jazz collective, Skyjack, featuring some of the most sought-after jazz stars from South Africa and Switzerland, will release their sophomore album, The Hunter.

The performance will start at 6pm at the venue on the second level of the Shepstone Building on the Durban campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Doors open at 5.30pm and tickets cost R80 (R50 for pensioner, R25 for students). Contact Thuli at (031) 260 3385 for more details.

Skyjack comprises three members from South Africa and two from Switzerland. Shane Cooper (double bass), Kyle Shepherd (piano) and Kesivan Naidoo (drums, now based in Europe) have each received the coveted Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz award.

Swiss musicians Marc Stucki (tenor saxophone) and Andreas Tschopp (trombone) are two of Switzerland’s most in-demand horn players who have attained dizzying creative and professional heights over the years.  

On the rare occasion that the full band is able to convene, each member contributes compositions to the project, which is then performed by the collective. This is a critical distinction to be noted for Skyjack –  that the performances are collaborative, but the songwriting is an individual contribution, credited to each musician where necessary. 

Bassist Cooper notes: “The sound is an absolute power house, from deep African grooves to heavy-hitting jazz rides and beautiful soundscapes.

The band recorded their debut self-titled album in Switzerland in 2015, which received rave reviews across the globe.  Their new release, The Hunter, was recorded in Maur, Switzerland early in 2018, at a studio that has hosted Tina Turner and Prince in previous years.

The album will be digitally released to the international market early in 2019, through legendary German label Enja’s imprint Yellowbird Records.

The physical release has been pressed and made available exclusively for the South African market, to be purchased during the Skyjack national tour. The tour comprises eight show dates, ranging from free shows and jazz festivals to more formal performances at highly regarded venues in multiple cities.

The previous Skyjack tour of South Africa was met with sold out show

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POPULAR Durban singer Chloe Clark, a contestant on The Voice South Africa, is the headline attraction, from 9pm tonight (Wednesday, November 7), at the fortnightly Music in the Hills (MiTH) event held in a barn at The Knoll Historic Guest Farm, Knoll Drive, Hilton.

Durban singer Chloe Clark performs at MiTH. Picture by Elsie B photography.

Doors open at 6pm and the music flows from 7pm. Entrance is R30 at the door at this semi-open mic music club.

Clark will be accompanied by Durban pianist Burton Naidoo for her set, while Burton will also play alone from 8pm, after a performance by Grace Botha Music at 7pm.

Clark started singing and playing music from a very young age. She then went on to join her first band at the age of 11. She is a dynamic presence in Durban’s jazz, theatre and corporate scene and has had the privilege of singing at the launching of the Durban July events, singing with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, being a backup vocalist for Ronan Keating, singing on Majozi’s first EP and performing alongside artists such as Gangs of Ballet, Kyle Duitchman, Joseph Clark and Arno Carstens.

Chloe studied music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and completed her honours in Jazz vocals and vocal technique methods at the end of 2016

She became a familiar face on Idols in 2014 where she made the Top 30 and has recently just been a part of South Africa’s first season of The Voice South Africa where she was mentored by Kahn Morbee of The Parlotones.

Chloe released her debut Album in April 2016 and has gained national attention on local radio stations and television shows.

Pianist, arranger and composer Burton Naidoo started piano lessons at the age of six at the Simon Kerdachi Academy of Music. He took a keen interest in jazz from an early age. Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Brad Mehldau, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Cecil Taylor and Andrew Hill are some of his biggest influences.

In 2001 he enrolled into UKZN’S jazz program and spent four years under the wing of Darius Brubeck. He was also awarded a scholarship to study at the University of Artisten, Gothenburg, Sweden, where he took lessons with Anders Perrson and Peter Burman.

MiTH’s own Grace Botha is a multi-talented vocalist, songwriter and keyboard player who can also hold her own on guitar and has a way of amalgamating her love for jazz, pop and folk.

She majored in jazz and popular voice at Howard College and was a soloist for the close-harmony group the UKZN Voices.

She won the Amsterdam Acoustic Artist challenge, and was runner-up in the Gateway to Fame competition.

At MiTH one can take along one’s own booze. Food and soft drinks are available for sale. Musicians who want to play at MiTH, should call Charles Webster (082 331 7271)  or Doug Borain (072 340 7034).

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DON’T miss Dave Starke’s fine show, Leonard Cohen – A Tribute, which has final performances at Durban’s Rhumbelow Theatre, in Umbilo, at 8pm on Friday and Saturday (November 9 and 10) and 2pm on Sunday (November 11).

Written by Perran Hahndiek and performed by Eshowe-based singer-guitarist Starke, the show is an exploration of the life and works of the late Leonard Cohen. It features his music and poetry interspersed with anecdotes from his life and other literary writings.

You can expect early hits such as Suzanne and So Long, Maryanne, the haunting Hallelujah and Famous Blue Raincoat, and lighter works such as Tower of Song and other Cohen greats.

The show had its debut at The Rosebank Theatre in Cape Town where it was sold out for the duration of its run, and more recently was performed in Kloof.

Raised in Cape Town, Starke is a smooth performer with a gentle guitar-playing style. He pays excellent tribute to Cohen, offering not only a well-researched history of the man, his poetry, music and achievements, but also insight into Cohen’s thought processes.

Tickets cost R150 (R130 for pensioners and students) and can be booked at Computicket or by phoning 082 499 8636.

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NOTE that final Durban performances are planned for this weekend for The Reals’ show, Poetry in Music, conceived by and featuring singer-guitarist Colin Peddie.

Originally staged at the Rhumbelow Theatre branch at Tina’s Hotel in Kloof earlier this year, it has final performances at the same venue 8pm on Friday and Saturday (November 9 and 10) and 2pm on Sunday (November 11).

Also featuring singer Samantha Landers, the show offers material that is more lyrically driven but without losing the punch which accompanies popular music. Expect songs associated with The Eagles, Bob Dylan, Indigo Girls, The Waterboys, Leonard Cohen, Mumford and Sons, Paul Simon and others. My full review is available by clicking here: https://wp.me/p8dL0W-2ZQ

Tickets cost R150 (R130 for pensioners and students) and can be booked at Computicket or by phoning 082 499 8636.

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A NEW party show, Best of Decades, runs from November 9 to January 27 at the increasingly popular Rockwood Theatre at Sibaya Casino, near Umhlanga.

Some of the best music from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and today appears in the show, which will feature Rockwood co-owner and show devisor, Andrew Webster, as host and vocalist for the first two weeks of the show’s run, before the arrival of Riyaan Cornelius, who will take the role for the rest of the season.

Also opening the show will be vivacious singer Jemma Badenhorst, who will be standing in for a fortnight, before the arrival of Janine Cupido, who will remain with the production until the end of January.

Other members of the cast are vocalists Ofentse Mokhuane, Jessica de Wet and Christina Jenkins, along with Durban talents Calli Thomson on keyboards, Kirsty van der Linde on sax and Dylan van der Linde on drums. Completing the lineup are Sheldon von Grimm on guitar and Trevor Donjeany on bass.

Best of Decades will salute a wide variety of artists – among them the Bee Gees, Abba, Queen, Madonna, David Bowie, Lionel Ritchie, Def Leppard. Kelly Clarkson. Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, among many others.

Tickets cost R99 on Thursday nights, R130 on Friday and Saturday nights, and R130 on Sunday afternoons, when pensioners pay half price and under-12s get in free. To book, or for more details, phone (031) 161 0000.

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