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One of the goals of the Standard Bank Grahamstown Jazz Festival – the country’s oldest and longest jazz festival which runs from June 30 to July 9 as part of the National Arts Festival –  is to open up opportunities for networking and collaboration between the international performers and their South African counterparts.

This year South African bassist and composer Carlo Mombelli joins forces with Swiss trombonist Andreas Tschopp in a band that includes two other young Swiss musicians Florian Egli (sax), Florian Favre (piano) and South Africa’s Sphelelo Mazibuko on drums.

Explains Mombelli: “Collaborations are vital and are what make the Grahamstown Jazz Festival a special place for musicians. We get to play with musicians from all over the world. And it is not like we are backing this or that superstar, we all bring our music and share our ideas and concepts and because of that we can build relationships that continue after the festival.” Cape to Calais is a not-to-be-missed collaboration between the established French duo of Daniel Mille (accordion) and Stéphane Chausse (clarinet) who will be joined by Dutch master bassist Hein van de Geyn and South African guitarist Dave Ledbetter.

The Ginsburg/Mezza Convergence Band comprises Mark Ginsburg, a formidable force in the Australian jazz scene with strong influences from his South African upbringing and Italy’s Vittorio Mezza. They appear with Romy Brauteseth (bass) and Kevin Gibson (drums) as well as a group of inspiring young South African vocalists led by Australian vocal coach Judy Campbell.
The 2012 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Jazz, pianist Afrika Mkhize, will be honouring the late jazz legend Bheki Mseleku with a powerful big band tribute that reflects a national and international potpourri of jazz talent. The line-up includes saxophonist Dave O’Higgins from the UK, American trumpeter Eddie Lewis and Swiss trombonist Andreas Tschopp with wonderful South African musicians including Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz 2016 Siya Makuzeni on vocals.

Jazz pianist Paul Hanmer and indie/rock/world singer and songwriter Wendy Oldfield also team up in a unique collaboration that fuses jazz, folk, pop and African styles to bridge a path between genres.

They are all part of 150 of the world’s biggest jazz innovators who come from 14 countries to take part in this internationally recognised jazz festival.

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