The Joy in Jazz

Festival features a new stage and a line-up of legends, writes Boitumelo Tlhoaele

IN three years, Joy of Jazz founding member Peter Tladi will be celebrating two decades of success.

When it began in 1996, the festival attracted 300 people. This year, about 25000 are expected to attend.

The music promoter looks caught off guard when that is pointed out to him.

"I haven't given it much thought," he says, adding that he focuses on just putting together a successful festival each year.

He quickly points out that it has always been a team effort.

"It would be absurd for me to say 'I'. It was not me alone; it has been a collective, and collectively we have succeeded in maintaining this legacy."

Tladi (61) says his biggest help and inspiration has been his friend Hugh Masekela.

In the 1990s, while Masekela was assistant chief executive of the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal - which was based at the State Theatre in Pretoria - he roped in Tladi to attract more black patrons.

After two years of sold-out concerts at the State Theatre, Standard Bank then partnered with Tladi's T-Musicman company to create what now is Standard Bank Joy of Jazz.

"(The bank) loved what I was doing and they partnered with me and never left,"  he says.

Over the years the numbers have continued to rise and the programme has kept evolving.

For the festival next week, an extra stage will be unveiled.

The Dance Factory will be home to the South Africa and New Orleans musical and cultural exchange programme.

"Next year we'll be taking our artists to the New Orleans Jazz Festival and we're hoping that they'll give us a South African stage," says Tladi about the partnership.

However, it's the line-up for opening night that brings a twinkle to his eye.

"Once again, to choose the artists was also a team effort," he says.

The evening will feature Americans Ahmad Jamal and Terence Blanchard and our own Abdullah Ibrahim.

Tladi, a former music executive who's worked for various recording labels, including EMI and Gallo, says the key to booking a well-rounded selection of artists is taking advice from artists and other players in the industry.

Travelling and learning from other jazz festivals around the world also helps to inform the choices, he adds.


For a well-rounded jazz experience, catch the big shows, but also explore territories unknown.

  • Tsuyoshi Yamamoto

For some, a Japanese man mastering jazz piano might be a bit difficult to grasp. It's for that reason that Yamamoto's concert is one to look out for. He plays at the Bassline stage on Friday and Saturday.

  • Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse paying tribute to Zim Ngqawana

The argument here is that Mabuse isn't a jazz artist to even consider giving a tribute concert to the legendary Ngqawana. So, the Shikisha hitmaker has no choice but to prove himself. Mabuse plays at the Bassline stage on Saturday.

  • Carmen Lundy Quartet

With a career spanning three decades in the industry, Lundy holds her own as a vocalist and composer. There's no doubt she'll impress with her golden voice. She is at the Dinaledi stage on Friday and Saturday.

  • Donald Harrison featuring Christian Scott

Saxophonist Harrison and trumpeter Scott are known to fuse jazz with other genres such as hip hop, so they are sure to bring a fresh element to the festival. They will be at the Market Theatre on Friday.

  • Tia Fuller

Nothing is as sexy as a woman perfecting the horn. Fuller on saxophone is bound to show her male counterparts just how it's done when she plays at the Market Theatre on Friday and Saturday.


SUNDAY World in association with Standard Bank Joy of Jazz is giving away 10 tickets to the opening night show on August 22.

To stand a chance of winning, SMS "Joy of Jazz",  followed by your name and surname, ID number and city to 41936.

Terms and conditions:  

1.  SMSes are charged at R1.50 each. Errors will be billed. Free minutes do not apply.

2.   The competition closes today  at 11.59pm.

3. Winners notified by phone. 

4.  The winner is responsible for their  own meals and transport to and from the venue.

5. Winners will have to collect their tickets at the venue.

6. Times Media staff may not enter.

 Visit for more terms and conditions

Standard Bank Joy of Jazz starts on Thursday and runs until Saturday. For more information, visit