Let children come, says jazz maestro

Sunday Tribune 22 Jul 2018

JAZZ lovers braved the chilly weather on Friday evening to attendJazz Acts_MG_5113 the performance of jazz maestro Andile Yenana at The Waterfront Hotel and Spa in the Point Waterfront precinct.

Yenana, who is one of the most respected pianists and jazz musicians on the continent, performed at the Jazz Xpression concert. The performance featured Marcus Wyatt, Linda Sikhakhane, Siyasanga Charles and Swiss artists Michael Stuls and Ariel Zamosky.

With a set-up reminiscent of the lounge in your home, it was an intimate gathering of those who appreciate the genre, and the audience was a diverse mix of people, including those in the city for the 39th Durban International Film Festival.

Speaking to the Sunday Tribune before he took to the stage, Yenana said it was his third performance at a Jazz Xpression concert, and that he kept on playing at shows organised by the group because they drew audiences that truly appreciated jazz music.

“I’m happy that these shows are happening because they are another platform at which jazz musicians can perform. The audience is there, but there aren’t that many shows. We can only grow from here.”

He did, however, lament the lack of interest in the genre among the youth, and wanted parents to bring their children to jazz shows.

“We need to involve our families more. The young children of people who appreciate and love jazz should accompany them to shows.

“I believe jazz represents all generations, and so that’s the only way it can grow and be sustained.”

He was happy to admit that a crop of young jazz musicians were bringing new life to the genre. “Jazz is getting younger, in terms of the musicians we have in the industry right now. I’m probably the oldest musician here. But they need to also create their own audience, one that will grow with them.”

Yenana was fresh off his performance at the Grahamstown Jazz Festival, which took place a few weeks ago.

He believes that Jazz Xpression shows can grow in number. “It has potential to be a major player. And with the Rainbow (jazz venue) closing down, it’s an opportunity to grow the brand and make it a must-attend event for lovers of good music.”

Yenana performed various songs and included a tribute to fallen jazz great, Zim Nqawana.

There also were paintings for sale, which forms part of the Jazz Xpression visual arts segment. Organiser Dumi Ginindza hoped the show would become a monthly event.