The 29th Jazz Jol featuring a host of local and national talent is set for Friday, October 27 at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban. This year’s popular annual music event features a variety of talented musicians including Sweet Concept (a UKZN Alumni Band), UKZN Vocal Group and UKZN’s Big Band along with a selection of students taking to the stage in an evening tailor-made for lovers of jazz and popular music.

“The Jazz Jol was not only started, all those years ago, as an event for music-lovers but also in an endeavour to raise funds for the Ronnie Mandosela Scholarship,” explains lecturer Neil Gonsalves. “The Scholarship provides bursaries for deserving UKZN music students from disadvantged backgrounds, as well as helps to fund students’ travel visas for overseas trips, and national travel and accommodation to the National Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown and other educational festivals, workshops and conferences. This issue of mobility, of getting around and sharing ideas and networking is key to a musician’s success in the future. Through mobility the musicians are able to exchange knowledge and gain important experience both nationally and internationally.”

“We are particularly pleased to welcome Sweet Concept to this year’s Jazz Jol,” enthuses Gonsalves. “This is an UKZN Alumni Band that features Thabani Gapara (alto sax) who now lives in New Zealand, Siyanda Zulu (trumpet), Siya Mthethwa (keyboard), Bheka Mthethwa (bass) and Sbu Zondi (drums) – all of whom would have been showcased at a Jazz Jol in the past.” Sweet Concept was formed in 2006 by Siyanqoba Mthethwa, Thabani Gapara and Siyanda Zulu. Most of the band started off as backup singers for some of South Africa’s more prominent and illustrious artists including Swazi Dlamini, Siphokazi, Judith Sephuma and Ernie Smith to mention a few. The band won further accolades after competing in The Suncoast Jazz competition, winning prizes in categories of “Best Band” and “Best Composition.”

“The band members have since 2010, pursued individual music career paths in performance, production and education and occasionally come together to perform, so we are delighted to be hosting them this year,” says Gonsalves. “Recently  Bheka Mthethwa, the groups bassist released his debut album titled “Supernal Sounds”, and all of them have a string of credits to their names.”

The band will perform a variety of original music that reflects the variety of rich perspectives each member has collected in the past half a decade. A true reflection of the sound of South Africa.

UKZN Voices directed by well-known Durban musician and Jazz Voice lecturer Debbie Mari, features singers from the Jazz and Popular Voice programmes in the School of Arts at UKZN. Singing mostly close harmony arrangements, the vocal jazz ensemble will perform A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square, Java Jive, Almost is Never Enough and Charlie Chaplin’s best loved composition Smile. The group comprises Andiswa Maduna, Nomthandazo Madiya, Neli Skhosana, Monique Naude (soprano), Nomalanga Khanyile, Amanda Biyela, Wandithanda Makandula (Alto), Busisiwe Hlokoza, Siphelele Mthiyane, Sanele Khubisa (Tenor), Thembelani Mkoka and Thabani Dlamini (Bass).

Certainly a major drawcard to the Jazz Jol is the appearance of the UKZN Big Band 2017 directed by Burton Naidoo, and featuring students from UKZN. The band this year focuses on House Music – and unusual approach to electronic music that started taking the world by storm in the 1980s. House Music, is characterised by it’s ‘four to the floor’, groove and minimalistic harmonic and melodic sequences. The UKZN Big Band House Performance will focus more on African House Music such as Micasa, Davido and Black Coffee and the repertoire features arrangements by

UKZN Students Phumlani Mtiti, Riley Giandhari, and Sinalo Zulu as well as Earth Wind and Fire compositions.

This year’s Jazz Jol is funded by Concerts SA, a joint South African/Norwegian live music development project housed within the SAMRO Foundation

Tickets will be available at the door at R120, pensioners R80 and students R60.

For more information contact Thulile Zama on 031 260 3385 or email

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