U.S. Jazz Artists Jeff “Siege” Siegel Sextet featuring South Africa’s Feya Faku

Media Advisory
Embassy of the United States of America
877 Pretorius Street, Arcadia, Pretoria
July 1, 2019

U.S. Jazz Artists Jeff “Siege” Siegel Sextet featuring South Africa’s Feya Faku 

In partnership with the U.S. Embassy, The Jeff “Siege” Siegel Sextet featuring Feya Faku, conducted a series of workshop/master classes in the Pretoria and Johannesburg areas over the course of 3 days (17-19 June). The goal of the program was to promote people-to-people ties between the U.S. artists and South African audiences with jazz as a cultural bridge.

The activities will provide young people with a better understanding of the concepts of jazz improvisation, a deeper knowledge of the historic components of jazz, and an opportunity to talk with visiting professional musicians about how music shapes their understanding of the world.

The Jeff “Siege” Siegel Sextet is comprised of men and women musicians. The group is a multi-racial and multi-cultural professional jazz group that includes four university Professors of jazz and one public school music educator.  Feya Faku, a renowned South African Jazz musician, is testament to how someone from humble origins can rise to the top of their field by dedication, discipline and talent.

Band member biographies


JEFF “SIEGE” SIEGEL – drums, percussion, composer

A member of the Sir Roland Hanna Trio from 1994-‘99, Siegel’’s diverse career has also led him to perform and/or record w/ Ron Carter, Kenny Burrell, Jack DeJohnette, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Shiela Jordan, Helen Merrill, Mose Allison,Dave Douglas, John Medeski, Stefon Harris, Kurt Elling, Ravi Coltrane, Ryan Kisor, Arturo O’Farrill, Arthur Rhames, Wadada Leo Smith, Baikida Carroll, Levin Bros. & more. He’s co-led several touring/recording projects over the years. He teaches at The New School, SUNY New Paltz and WCSU. He’s performed clinics throughout Europe, South America, China, South Africa and the United States. He holds a M.A. in Jazz from Queens College where he studied composition with Jimmy Heath and has been the recipient of several grants from Meet the Composer.

FEYA FAKU, Trumpet, Flugelhorn

Fezile ‘Feya’ Faku a trumpeter, was born in New Brighton, a South African township in Port Elizabeth.  He completed a Performers Diploma in Jazz Studies at the University of Natal, South Africa. He has been associated with some of South Africa’s classic jazz musicians including Barney Rachabang, Thandie Klaasen, Duke Makasi. and Winston ‘Mankunku’ Ngozi, Abdullah Ibrahim, and is featured in Abdullah’s latest CD; “Made in South Africa”.He has recently completed the recording of a CD for the Mahube project.  Feya’s involvement is a demonstration of his dedication to Jazz as an evolving art form, based on the understanding and appreciation of its classic form.  He also tours with the group of Johannesburg All-Stars known as “Uhadi” thoroughout the U.S.

ERICA LINDSAY – Tenor Saxophone/composer

Erica Lindsay is an Artist-in- Residence at Bard College where she teaches and is an active performer, arranger and composer. She’s performed w/Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, Melba Liston Co.,Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams, Al Grey, Britt Woodman and Mary Lou Williams, McCoy Tyner, Clifford Jordon, Sumi Tonooka, Ted Curson, George Gruntz, Amira Baraka, Oliver Lake, Baikida Carroll, Howard Johnson and Jeff Siegel. Selected recordings include her first, Dreamer, on Candid Records as well as recordings w/Baikida Carroll, Jeff Siegel and Oliver Lake.  She was selected to compose a piece for the American Composers Orchestra (Inner Dialogue) and then the Detroit Symphony (Mantra).   Recent recordings include, Initiation, a collaboration with Sumi Tonooka, featuring Rufus Reid and Further Explorations (The Alchemy Sound Project).


Francesca has performed w/ such notable groups as the Billy Harper Quintet, the Erica Lindsay Quintet, the Jeff “Siege” Siegel Quartet throughout Europe, East and Southeast Asia, Scandinavia and South America as well as in the U.S.  She appears on numerous CD releases of these groups. Other leading musicians with whom Francesca Tanksley has performed include David Newman, Reggie Workman, Cecil Payne, Nick Brignola, Slide Hampton, Jay Clayton, Melba Liston & Co., Sheila Jordan, Jimmy Cobb, Clifford Jordan, Charles Davis and more.  She’s appeared at major jazz clubs and festivals in the U.S., including the Kool Jazz Festival at Carnegie Hall with Dizzy Gillespie. She’s an integral member of the Billy Harper Quintet, as well as the Erica Lindsay Quintet, Howard Johnson’s HoJo5, and the Jeff ‘Siege’ Siegel Quartet.  Ms. Tanksley is a full-time Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston.


Rich Syracuse has performed with John Mehegen, Joey Calderazzo, Ted Rosenthal, Nick Brignola, Mose Allison, Kurt Elling, Dave Liebman, Brubeck Brothers, Warren Bernhardt, Sumi Tonoka, Bernard Purdy, Jeff “Siege” Siegel, Dena DeRose, John Medeski. For was the bassist for Pianist Lee Shaw for 22 years. Rich has for many years been touring throughout Europe, South America, and Southern Africa. Rich’s latest cd as a co-leader with guitarist Michael Musillami “Of the Night” is on Playscape Records.Rich is the Professor of Bass at Skidmore College in Saratoga, New York.


Performed w/Diana Ross (Central Park), Ben Vereen, John Stubblefield, Rashid Ali, Second Sight, James Spaulding, Arthur Rhames, Bernice Johnson Dance Col, Chuck Davis Dance Col, Akyene Baako Ensemble & many others. Currently teaching music in the NYC School system.