The Swiss South African Jazz Quintet

South African Tour 2007
In June and July 2007 the legendary drummer Makaya Ntshoko of Jazz Epistles’ fame who left South Africa in 1962 returned to his home country for a performance tour. In the Swiss – South African Jazz Quintet he presented some of the jazz musicians from his new home town Basel in Switzerland: Domenic Landolf on saxophone and bass clarinet, the young wizard Colin Vallon on piano and Stephan Kurmann on double bass together with Feya Faku on flugel horn and trumpet who in 2006 spent a residency at the local bird’s eye jazz club. The high-calibre quintet performed original compositions by all five musicians presenting contemporary jazz from Switzerland and South Africa. The band performed first at the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown and then in New Brighton, Johannesburg and Cape Town, where Makaya Ntshoko spent a week as resident artist at the District Six Museum. The tour of the Swiss – South African Jazz Quintet was supported by the Swiss arts council Pro Helvetia.

What the media had to say - download press clippings on the tour (7.4MB).

Download the following pictures and the poster above in high resolution by using the right-hand button of your mouse ("save target as"). Credit the picture as follows: "Bruno Caflisch, Roche Pharma Basel 2006".

29.06.2007 Grahamstown, Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival
01.07.2007 New Brighton, Nceba‘s Junior Jazz Tavern
03.07.2007 Grahamstown, Standard Bank National Jazz Festival
04.07.2007 Johannesburg, Bassline Jazz Club
05.07.2007 Johannesburg, Bassline Jazz Club
06.07.2007 Cape Town, Nassau Theatre
07.07.2007 Cape Town, Nassau Theatre
08.07.2007 Cape Town, District Six Museum

In addition Makaya Ntshoko featured in the following concert:

30.06.2007 Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival Grahamstown
Celebrating South Africa’s Jazz Heritage
"South Africa has a long and rich jazz heritage, this concert features a stellar array of South African musicians who have altered our musical landscape over the past four decades. They have played together on occasions since the 1960s, but never in this format. They pay tribute to "those who came before us and held the torch for us," as pianist Hotep Galeta promises. Playing the music they and their departed peers (such as Chris McGregor and Duke Makasi) have written is a unique combination of South African jazz legends. After decades on the South African jazz scene, Barney Rachabane (sax) received his international break and deserved recognition with Paul Simon’s phenomenal Graceland project. For many years a mainstay of the African Jazz Pioneers, Stompie Manana (trumpet) grew up in Sophiatown and taught Hugh Masekela, and with this concert we acknowledge his 50 years in the jazz industry. Hotep Galeta (piano) spent 30 years in exile in the US, playing with the likes of Jackie McLean and Elvin Jones and has now established the Eastern Cape Audio Visual Centre. Herbie Tsoaeli (bass) has become South Africa’s first-call bass player and Makaya Ntshoko (drums) performs in South Africa for the first time since 1962 after leaving with the musical King Kong and developing a Swiss-based international career, playing with musicians of the stature of Dollar Brand, Joe Henderson, Dudu Pukwana and Dexter Gordon." (Info Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival Grahamstown)

09.-14.07.2007 District Six Museum, Cape Town
Residency of Makaya Ntshoko
Subsequent to the tour with the Swiss - South African Jazz Quintet Makaya Ntshoko spent a one-week residency at the District Six Museum.

Download the poster in A4 size (left) and flyer in A5 size as Adobe pdf documents.

Makaya Ntshoko (for an extended bio of Makaya click here)
It is a story often told: in the late 50s the young Makaya Ntshoko is part of the avant garde of South African Jazz. He performs with the Jazz Epistles consisting of the three Capetonians Abdullah Ibrahim, Johnny Gertze and Makaya Ntshoko and Kippy Moeketsi, Jonas Gwangwa and Hugh Masekela from Johannesburg . Their cutting edge, progressive music is based on US tunes of Ellington, Miles, Parker and the like. In 1961 Ntshoko joins the musical show King Kong and tours England . While several band members stay in Europe Ntshoko returns to South Africa where he has his own band the Jazz Giants with Dudu Pukwana and Martin Mgijima, which like the Jazz Epistles is committed to the advancement of jazz in South Africa . The tightening of the Apartheid system compels him to leave the country in 1962. In Zürich he joins the Dollar Brand Trio. When Duke Ellington hears the band perform and invites the musicians for a recording session in Paris he opens the path for an international career. This generation of South African jazz musicians in exile had a great influence on the Free Jazz scene world wide and accordingly Makaya’s name can be found on a great number of important recordings. For instance he was a member of Johnny Dyani’s Quartet, he performed with Isla Eckinger in Mal Waldron’s band, or with Joe McPhee, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Pepper Adams, Marvin Hannibal Petersen and NICRA, or with Andy Scherrer, Stephan Kurmann and Roman Schwaller. Eventually Makaya Ntshoko made Basel his home. Here he formed his own band Makaya and the Tsotsis (Bob Degen, Isla Eckinger and Heinz Sauer) in the 1970s. After a substantial break this format was re-activated in 2006 as Makaya and the New Tsotsis with the young pianist and singer Vera Kappeler, Andy Scherrer on tenor saxophone, Stephan Kurmann on bass. A live recording is due to be released in 2007.
LPs: Makaya and the Tsotsis (Enja 1974), Nicra, Listen hear (Ogun 1975), John Tchicai-Irène Schweizer-Group, Willi The Pig (Willisau Live Records Wil-1 1976), Hannibal in Antibes(Enja/Weber 1977), Makaya and the New Tsotsis (CD forthcoming 2007)
Feya_47126_Copyright_Roche.jpg (1392017 Byte) Feya Faku It is unnecessary to introduce this exceptional musician to a South African readership (see feature in Classic Feel November 2005). Fezile was born and raised in New Brighton / Port Elizabeth , a township often referred to as a jazz academy that brought forth a great number of jazz musicians. He was trained as a classic trumpeter and this training shows clearly in his approach to the music. This trumpeter strives for perfection and the resulting clear and harmonious sound captivates his audiences. He performed with a great number of South African legends ranging from Barney Rachabane, Thandie Klaasen, Duke Makasi, Pat Matshikiza, Basil Coetzee, Winston Mankunku Ngozi and Bheki Mseleku to Abdullah Ibrahim. For several years he has been performing with the Paul van Kemmenade Quintet in the Netherlands and in April/May 2006 he spent a two-months’ residency programme in Switzerland teaching and performing with the Swiss-Southafrican Jazz Quintet.
CDs: Hommage (Sheer Music); Tacit (MSI/ EMI), The Colours They Bring (Feya Faku Music 2005)
46190.jpg (833015 Byte) Domenic Landolf
This accomplished tenor sax virtuoso studied at the Swiss Jazz School with Andy Scherrer and soon won a reputation in the Swiss jazz scene for both his fascinating solos, which with their subtle but refined reworking of the underlying harmonies recall the great Wayne Shorter, and his unpretentious backing of his band members. Over the years he has continuously worked on his vocabulary and his sound has become more lyric and abstract. While he might be called a “modernist aware of traditions” he firmly stands on his own. In 2004 Domenic Landolf already toured South Africa with the formation Mats-Up of trumpeter Matthias Spillmann. He is a teacher at the Jazz School of Basel.
CDs: Levitation (JHM), Wanderlust (Pirouet)
Colin_47119_Copyright_Roche.jpg (1279928 Byte) Colin Vallon
At 26 Colin is the youngest member of this quintet but he has since long made proof of his exceptional talent. He studied at the Swiss Jazz School in Bern with Sylvano Barzahn and Wiliam Evans. However, he did not wait for the end of his training before he won himself several prizes. In 2004 the Swiss cultural foundation Pro Helvetia ordered a composition from him. Colin is often compared to Esbjörn Svensson and Brad Mehldau. He has got everything a great pianist needs: he is technically brilliant, has a perfect sense of timing, a very personal form of expression with a touch that is warm, sensible and yet clear. His recent CD Les Ombres is a superb record. Colin’s original compositions show that he follows a path of his own. The CD features a wide variety of styles from dark reflexive sounds with classic influences to pompous clear sounds and from Latin via power-play to straight-ahead jazz. No doubt Colin will have an impact on his South African audience.
CDs: Les Ombres (Unit Records 2004), Ailleurs (HatHut Records 2007)

Stephan_47102_Copyright_Roche.jpg (972016 Byte)

Stephan Kurmann
The career of this well-known double bass player from Basel , who runs the town’s popular bird’s eye jazz club, began in 1978. He has since performed with a great number of legends such as Chet Baker, Mal Waldron, Harald Mabern, Lee Konitz, Kirk Lightsey, Steve Grossman and others. He has toured Europe with international bands and performed at festivals in Asia, Australia , the USA , Cuba and Brazil . As a side man he is popular for his excellent solo and rhythmic talents. In 1987 he graduated from the Swiss Jazz School . At the same time he was a member of Sinfonietta, the symphonic Orchestra of his home town Basel . The 90s saw him in Cuba where he worked with the Havana Jazz Trio and the band Cubanismo. His special interest in afro-cuban traditions resulted in a tour of his Stephan Kurmann Strings (the fusion of a jazz quintet with a classic string quartet) with the Cuban band Los Muñequitos de Matanzas. Since 2003 Kurmann lives in Brazil and Basel .
CDs: Strings (TCB), Alive in Montreux (TCB); Okan Layé (TCB); Strings and Rumba ‘live together’ (DIVOX)
Swiss Tour 2006
Grosse Namen der südafrikanischen und der schweizerischen Jazzszene und verschiedene Generationen begegnen sich in diesem Projekt. “Feya” Fezile Faku ist einer der gefragtesten jungen Jazz Musiker (Trompete und Flügelhorn) des neuen Südafrikas. Er trifft auf den Schweizer Altmeister Andy Scherrer am Tenorsaxophon und das Jungtalent Colin Vallon am Piano. Das rhythmische Fundament liefern der legendäre Makaya Ntshoko, der in den 60er Jahren aus Südafrika in die Schweiz kam und mit manchem Freejazz Projekt in den 70er und 80er Jahren das hiesige Schaffen nachhaltig beeinflusste, sowie der Basler Stephan Kurmann am Bass. Das Repertoire dieser Band umfasst Kompositionen aller beteiligten Musiker, vor allem aber auch Stücke aus dem neuen Album von Feya Faku 'The colours they bring'. Diese sind gekennzeichnet durch schlichte Klarheit, Tiefe, Melodik und Emotionalität und weisen typische südafrikanische Bezüge auf: Musiktraditionen der Xhosa der östlichen Kapregion, Township Jazz, populäre Tanzmusik (Mbaqanga) und Kirchenmusik, aber auch Latin und modaler Jazz.

Feya Faku: flugelhorn/ trumpet
Andy Scherrer: tenorsax
Colin Vallon: piano
Stephan Kurmann: bass
Makaya Ntshoko: drums

CD: The colours they bring (Feya Faku Music)
Hörprobe: Manguni (mp3)

27.04.2006 Stans, Musiktage (mit Workshop), mit special guest Siya Makuzeni
04.05.2006 Aarau, Kiff, mit special guest Siya Makuzeni
05.05.2006 St. Gallen, Kultur im Bahnhof, mit special guest Siya Makuzeni
12.05.2006 Murten, Kultur im Beaulieu
13.05.2006 Lausanne, Chorus
26.05.2006 Basel, Roche n’Jazz / the bird's eye
27.05.2006 Basel, the bird's eye
28.05.2006 Bern, Mahogany Hall
31.05.2006 Wädenswil, Theater Ticino
04.06.2006 Neuchatel, Festi’Neuch