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What makes this year so different from previous festivals and other jazzfests in South Africa is that it will feature the first American big band to play here in about 30 years - the world famous Count Basie Orchestra.
The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, which runs in Newtown from August 23 to 25, also pays its own tribute in Women's Month by bringing together four of the country's national cultural treasures on one bill - Mama Africa Miriam Makeba, Dorothy Masuka, Thandie Klaasen and Letta Mbulu whose illustrious musical careers need no introduction.
Other South African giants include Caiphus Semenya, Jonas Gwangwa, Stimela and Sipho Mabuse who will be joining international acts The Clarke/Duke Project featuring Stanley Clarke and George Duke; trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis; acclaimed fusion jazz band Pieces of a Dream as well as Israel's Common Bond and France's No Jazz.
The Count Basie Orchestra - with an astounding 17 Grammy Awards to their name - is the greatest swing band in history. The band recorded "One O' Clock Jump" in 1937 and never looked back. Ever since Basie's death in 1984 the orchestra has been led by Basie alumni: First Thad Jones, then Frank Foster followed by Grover Mitchell and today the man at the helm is trombonist Bill Hughes who first joined Basie in 1953.
Bassist Stanley Clarke has worked with the who's who of jazz from Stan Getz and Chick Corea to Herbie Hancock and Horace Silver. He's played with both rock and jazz musicians, written music for films and along with George Duke had a hit single in 1981 with "Sweet Baby". George Duke has done it all from playing with Frank Zappa to leading a group that included drummer Billy Cobham. He's a keyboard whiz and a record producer. Now the two have teamed up again as the The Clarke/Duke Project to wow Joburg audiences.
Trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis is also likely to thrill. He came to prominence as a member of Elvin Jones's Jazz Machine. He has also produced recordings for many musicians including his brothers Branford and Wynton. His own band will comprise tenor saxophonist Mark Shim, pianist Anthony Wonsey, bassist David Pulphus and his younger brother, drummer Jason Marsalis.
Fusion enthusiasts will flip over Pieces of a Dream co-led by founder members drummer Curtis Harmon and keyboardist James Lloyd. Included in the group are guitarist/bassist David, saxman Eddie Baccus Jnr and vocalist Ramona Dunlap.
There are also plenty of young artists at the festival.
An exciting band is Common Bond from Israel who mix and match musical styles from ethnic, world and jazz music along with sounds of the Middle-East, Afro-Latin and a touch of funk. The musicians play "regular" instruments such the saxophone, flute and oboe and also use exotic instruments such as a duduk (Armenian flute), didgeridoo, English horn and zorna (Kurdish flute).
France's No Jazz mix the original celebratory spirit of jazz with hypnotic rhythms and contemporary sounds. Acoustic and jungle, trip hop and janfares, melodies and samples, funk and jazz happily mingle with drum and bass.
Young SA performers on the bill are jazzy afro-soul singer Siphokazi, Nokukhanya, Nombulelo Maqetuka and Shannon Mowday