REVIEW: South African Vocal Jazz Night at the Ivy House (2015 EFG LJF)



South African Vocal Jazz Night
(Ivy House, Peckham, 20th November. 2015 EFG LF. Review by Rachel Maby)


Situated in Nunhead SE15, The Ivy House pub venue hosted a night of loud, grooving South African dance music

The music featured South African vocal music arranged by project collaborators Gareth Lockrane (UK jazz flautist), Adam Glasser (South African harmonica player) and Bokani Dyer (South African jazz pianist). The nine piece band also featured an all-star UK jazz line-up: Steve Watts on bass, Rob Luft on guitar, Jason Yarde on saxophone, Tim Giles on drums, Hugh Wilkinson on percussion, Chris Batchelor on trumpet and Richard Henry on trombone.

Joining the band were South African singers Pinise Saul, Luyanda Jezile, Prudence Jezile and Glasser’s daughter Abigail, who brought the music to life with their effervescent charisma and dancing. The “feel-good” music featured in this gig celebrated traditional South African folk music with jazz harmonies, polyphonic hornlines, vibrant accompanying percussion and rocking bass line.

A particular highlight in the first set was Saul’s ‘The Girls’ featuring all singers, whose sexy four crotchet pattern was highlighted by the singers’ dance moves on the first beat of every bar – an unnatural rhythmic instinct for the UK audience prone to 2 and 4 rhythmic impulse.

The second set was opened beautifully by a piano solo by Dyer on his tune ‘Vuvuzela’ from his latest album ‘World Music’, whose pentatonic harmony shone through in a stonking solo by Jason Yarde. By the last tune of the night the audience were up dancing on their feet, clapping for more.

This event was part of SA-UK Seasons 2014-2015, supported by the British Council Connect/ZA and Republic of South Africa Department of Arts and Culture.

LINK: Interview with Adam Glasser and Pinise Saul from 2014

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