Singers gear up for Joy of Jazz festival

Gugu Sibiya

This year's irresistible annual Standard Bank Joy of Jazz will once again weave its magic for jazz lovers at a festival in Newtown from August 28 to 30.

Fast becoming a regular in the country, Japan's Keiko Matsui will again mesmerise jazz lovers with her outstanding piano skills.

Then there are the Original Superstars of Jazz Fusion that feature among others Roy Ayers, Tom Browne, Wayne Henderson and Lonnie Liston Smith.

Add American saxophonist Joshua Redman, guitarist Doc Powell from the US and Israel's Avi Lebovich and the Israeli Jazz Orchestra and it becomes an event to remember.

Carrying the torch for Africa are luminaries such as South Africa's Abigail Kubheka, Pat Matshikiza, Mark Fransman, Simphiwe Dana and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.

Further beefing up the line-up is the latest Nigerian sensation, the multi-talented Asa.

Her album is not only on high rotation but has been given the thumbs up by even the most cynical critics.

Forever the captivating showcase of home-grown sounds, the Mbira Stage will host the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra on August 28.

Then the most exciting thing will be a tribute to The Union of South Africa, the band formed in the US in 1970 by Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwangwa and Caiphus Semenya.

The cherry on top will be the Keiko Matsui performance. She will be accompanied by the South African All Star Band and American saxophonist Jackiem Joyner.

Doc Powell, the legendary Grammynominated guitarist, is said to have built a legacy as a musical chameleon.

Besides a successful solo career he has contributed to the recordings of R&B, pop, jazz and gospel stars, including Luther Vandross and Stevie Wonder.

Ever since saxophonist Joshua Redman burst on to the jazz scene in 1991, he has displayed the maturity and skill of a veteran, earning him immediate recognition.