Big Band Features at 28th Annual Jazz JolGeneral

UKZN’s Big Band and the talented ensemble band Nyimbo ya Bantu performed at the Jazz Jol.UKZN’s Big Band and the talented ensemble band Nyimbo ya Bantu performed at the Jazz Jol.

The 28th Annual Jazz Jol, featuring UKZN’s Big Band and the talented ensemble band, Nyimbo ya Bantu, was recently hosted by the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music

The UKZN Big Band is directed by Lecturer, Mr Burton Naidoo, and includes top Jazz students from the Music Discipline in the School of Arts. ‘We performed three pieces on the night - Nomusa by Ndikho Xaba and the Natives, Mad Mad, and Motown Swing. The Jazz Jol showcases very special and powerful performances,’ said Naidoo.

UKZN Big Band members are pianists Abigail Giddings and Jaedon Daniel; bassist Llewelyn Chetty; drummer Riley Giandhari; trumpeters Siyanda Zulu, Sanele Qwabe, Phuti Mofokeng, and Talente Mhlongo; guitarist Kaylin Naidoo; clarinettist Snothile Mkhize; alto saxophonists Nwabisa Kheswa, Simone van Niekerk, Tim Lewis and Phumlani Mtiti; tenor saxophonist Bonginkosi Mkhize; trombonists Thembinkosi Khumalo and Mokgethisi Nkots, and flautist Tseleng Makhatla.

Nyimbo ya Bantu consists of five UKZN Jazz students - Nic Pitman (guitar), Tseleng Mokhatla (flute), Ildo Nandja (bass and vocals), Zibusiso Makhathini (piano) and Riley Giandhari on drums. 

The name is a blend of Swahili and Zulu, and means people’s song. The repertoire mixes original compositions influenced by classic jazz, afro jazz and world music, with South African jazz standards and music by local artists from KwaZulu-Natal.

Their repertoire for the evening boasted original compositions such as Rachel, composed by Pitman; Metamorphosis, composed and arranged by band leader Nandja; End times by Giandhari and Spirit of the Messenger by Makhathini. Audiences were treated to a cover composed by renowned South African pianist Bheki Mseleku.

Said Nandja: ‘Audiences enjoyed a high standard quality musical performance with a fresh blending of traditional classic jazz with contemporary sounds of African and world music.’

Proceeds from the show go towards the Ronnie Madonsela Scholarship which assists disadvantaged jazz students at UKZN with financial aid or support.

The Scholarship also provides bursaries for deserving students and also funds students’ travel and accommodation to the National Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown and other educational festivals, workshops and conferences.

Gonsalves said: ‘The annual Jazz Jol is the highlight of the jazz performance calendar at UKZN and one of the premier jazz events in the province. Now in its 28th year, it has a long tradition of serving as the main fundraising event for the Ronnie Madonsela scholarship.’

Melissa Mungroo