JAZZ – A Global Unifier

Consul General Teddy Taylor with American jazz artist Gerald Clayton
Consul General Teddy Taylor with American jazz artist Gerald Clayton

People from across South Africa joined international visitors in the Mother City to hear some of the world best musicians at this year’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival.  Now in its sixteenth year, “Africa’s Grandest Gathering” once again demonstrated that jazz is a true global unifier.  Consistently hailed as America’s greatest musical contribution to the world, jazz continues to bring together people from around the globe.

This year’s jazz event was no different, bringing together South African musical giants Hugh Masekela, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, and the Mahotella Queens with U.S. greats Al Jarreau, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Amel Larrieux.  Younger, emerging artists also performed, including the U.S.-based Gerald Clayton Trio and the “new kids” on the South African musical block Beatenberg; both making their first appearances at the festival.

South African singer Melanie Scholtz with music legend Basia
South African singer Melanie Scholtz with music legend Basia

On the morning of March 28, U.S. Consul General Teddy B. Taylor hosted a jazz brunch in celebration of the festival and its gift of bringing great music and international friendships to South Africa.  On that morning, it was theplace to be.  Musicians like Basia, Danny White, Melanie Scholtz, and David Kramer were among the guests.  Consul General Taylor had an opportunity to rub shoulders with the iconic Hugh Masekela, had coffee with Beatenberg, and was honored to receive Bafokeng King Kgosi Leruo Tshekedi Molotlegi.  Festival organizer Billy Domingo was a special guest.

When Taylor arrived in Cape Town last year, he said he was excited about being in a city with such deep jazz roots.  “Jazz brings people together” he said.  “For decades, it has served as a basis for deepening cultural contact between our two countries.  Jazz has American roots but has grown in unique ways around the world — and I can’t wait to hear more Cape Jazz.”  Looks like Consul General Taylor is getting his wish.

Art Blakey once said, “Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life” and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and the Consulate’s Jazz Bruch certainly gave new life to all those in attendance.  What a fantastic way to kick-off April, which is Jazz Appreciation Month.  To see more pictures of the event, please visit our USEmbassySA Facebook page.  Also, follow us on Twitter @USConsCapeTown to get your daily jazz fix this month.