I'm not a Jazz fan, not by a long shot. For some reason, perhaps because of watching too much television, when I hear "jazz" I think of a smoke filled bar with a lady hanging onto a mic accompanied by a piano, sax and double bass. So when I was invited to Cape Town on a blogger tour which included the Cape Town International Jazz Festival I wasn't too sure what to expect. Jazz? Festival? Me? That's going to be an interesting experience. Am I sorry I went? Not at freekin all. It was an amazing eye opening experience.
This year was the 14th addition of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (fourteen I tell you, and I'm only getting to attend it for the first time) which took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). I wasn't sure what I expected as far as numbers, but the festival attracted in the region of 34 000 people over the two days. That is huge. Throngs and throngs of people enjoying what is probably some of the most relaxing music there is. Why do I say relaxing? The first thing I noticed and asked my host was why people are just standing there? I'm used to lekker Afrikaans music with a beat to which you tap your foot and dance along with. Jazz music fans don't tap per se but rather gently rock from side to side like pine trees in the evening breeze.
The festival featured 40 international, African and local artists and five stages spread around the venue with the main stage being in the CTICC's main hall. The Manenberg Stage was my favorite stage, not because of the artists that performed on it but rather that fact that it was an outside stage located between two overhead freeways which means that motorists coming into the Cape Town City Bowl got a taste of the festival even if they weren't attending. Not that they would have been able to change direction and pop in as the festival was sold out long before it even happened.
My, and I imagine most other, highlight of the festival was US artist Jill Scott and her band's performance. Wow! Wow! and one more Wow! Scott is a three-time Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter, a New York Times best-selling poet and critically acclaimed actress. Now I have to be honest, not being a jazz fan I probably wouldn't buy her CD, but seeing them perform live absolutely blew my mind. She was so much more than that what I imagined a jazz artist would be (see first paragraph) plus I got to tap my foot and enjoy the beat she ads to her music. Sorry about the quality of the photo. I was standing way back.
One of the fixtures of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is the Duotone Photographic Exhibition and features photographs of the past and documents the emergence and growth of global jazz popularity. This year's exhibition was a tribute to legendary South African photographer Alf Khumalo and displayed some of his best jazz inspired photographs.
The last picture? Proof that I actually was at the Cape Town Jazz Festival.
Disclosure: I visited the Cape Town International Jazz Festival as guest of the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa during a fully hosted blogger tour of Cape Town. I received no additional remuneration to write this post and all views expressed are my own.