One of Cape Town’s finest pianists, Blake Hellaby plays at Amazink live in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch this Friday, December 3 with his superb quartet from 7pm.
Presented by Jazz in the Native Yards (CTMA), Amazink Live and Cape Town Music Academy (CTMA), this concert is an initiative to bring jazz to outlining areas out of mainstream venues where concerts are not easily accessible.
“Cape Town is a melting pot of rich and diverse musical culture and because of its divided communities such cultures have not been used as a catalyst to bring people together, ” says Luvuyo Kakaza, one of JiNY’s co-founders.
“With these concerts, we create social cohesion as visitors and locals mingle freely in the spirit of jazz,” he says.
“Established jazz musicians perform with upcoming artists creating a platform to develop talent as well as offering musicians opportunities to earn a living.”
Blake Hellaby’s band comprises Dane Paris on drums, Shaun Johannes on bass and guitarist Michael Bester.
Hellaby is a multi-instrumentalist whose career started in Cape Town, South Africa, but has gone on to perform across Africa and Europe.
His music journey started with classical piano lessons at the age of seven and continued right through school. At the age of 14, Blake was introduced to jazz for the first time and was immediately drawn to everything about it. He then started saxophone lessons and was taught by the legendary South African saxophonist, Buddy Wells.
The classical expectations of Blake’s school kept him very busy and his jazz lessons only started when he finished high school and started a degree in jazz at the University of Cape Town.
Although he was not formally taught jazz at high school, he was still selected to be the pianist of the Standard Bank National School’s Big Band at the Grahamstown Jazz Festival (now the Makhanda Jazz Festival) in 2007 and made the National Youth Jazz Band in 2014.
It was at university that Blake was exposed to all sorts of new music that he had never been exposed to before. It was during this period that his love for music production began. He also had the privilege of touring during his studies; once with the Miagi Youth Orchestra which performed in Johannesburg and a tour of Berlin, Germany. On another occasion to the Oslo Jazz Festival, as well as a two-week tour of Burgundy, France with the Delft Big Band.
Since completing his studies, he has had the privilege of performing with many of South Africa’s top musicians in both the jazz and commercial sectors all over Southern Africa and Europe. His experience in the studio is just as impressive, having worked with artists, DJs and songwriters as a session musician, producer, and mixing/mastering engineer.
Hellaby has performed and recorded with a huge array of musicians such as McCoy Mrubata, Mark Fransman, Buddy Wells, Mandisi Dyantyis, Frank Paco (MOZ), Martin Zenker (GER), Jimmy Nevis, Yvette Norwood-Tiger (USA), Ivan Mazuze, Ian Smith, Tarryn Lamb, John Hassan (MOZ), Jo Kunnuji (NIG), Schalk Joubert, Ziza Muftic, David Kramer, Loukmaan Adams, Emo Adams, Vicky Sampson, Don Vino Prince amongst others.
“Hellaby’s version of ‘jazz’ awakened listeners to his skilful use of hardcore funk, be-bop, grungy blues (thanks to Michael Bester’s guitar solos), and rock, all loosely packaged in a soulful improvisational style which Hellaby is making his own,” says Carol Martin.
Ready to get your feet tapping to some jazz? Check out the details below:
- Date: Friday, November 3
- Venue: Amazink Live, Masithandane Rd, Kayamandi, Stellenbosch
- Time: 7pm – 10pm
- Tickets: R150/R70 pensioners and students discounts includes complementary glass of wine.
- Bookings: 060 960 8935
Picture: Pexels | Supplied