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By Citizen Reporter


Adding fizz to the Joy Of Jazz festival

We sit down with Mantwa Chinamoadi, managing director at T Musicman and producer of the JOJ to get the inside track on the workings of the festival.

The 21st anniversary edition of the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival (SBJOJ) starts to count down to its three-day spectacular celebration of jazz.

The festival, from September 27-29, includes more than 25 performances across five stages at the Sandton Convention Centre. Headlined by three-time Grammy award-winning singer, producer and bandleader Cassandra Wilson, the festival will see a range of esteemed artists such as composer David Sanborn perform alongside pianist Paul Hanmer, Reginal Veal, Oliver Mtukudzi, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and Gloria Bosman.

The festival will also honour the late South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela with a special performance.

The Citizen spoke to Mantwa Chinamoadi, managing director at T Musicman and producer of the SBJOJ, to get the inside track on the workings of the festival and the face behind creating such a massive production. This year, the organiser expects over 30 000 patrons to attend the festival that continues to prove to be of one of South Africa’s economic and artistic mainstays.

How did you come to be involved producing the Joy of Jazz?

“I am a coordinator by birth. From an early age, I was drawn to and had a knack for organising things.

“My boss, founder of the festival Peter Tladi, was also instrumental in moulding the person I’ve become. He has been my mentor and go-to guide since my entrance into the business in 1989 and encouraged me to study project management.

“Further to that, I’d say my love and passion for music and the arts, coupled with experience in project management, lead me to my current role.”

What is the philosophy behind the festival and drive behind the work that you do?

“Our philosophy has always been arts development. That is our guiding principle.

“Equipping young and aspiring musicians and arts practitioners with access to platforms that will help in discovering and growing latent talent.

“It’s one thing to love our music and quite another to make sure it keeps on getting better and exposed to the wider audiences.”

How has the Standard Bank Joy Of Jazz evolved over the years?

“In the creative industry, you continuously learn and follow trends. And through understanding our clients and supporters, we always thrive to bring in exciting lineups, advertising and marketing
styles and improved festival logistics.”

This year you have a number of artists and ensembles doing collaborative showcases. Are you always keen to explore new permutations of jazz?

“Collaborations by different artists add to what we’d normally get from a singular act.

“If you listen, for example, to Amina Figarova, Bokani Dyer and Kyle Sheperd’s music styles, they are quite different but all categorised as jazz.

“Honouring Hugh Masekela through the Horn Summit, which features a variety of hornsmen and voices, is a very special project for T Musicman.

“Music, particularly the jazz genre is evolving and we thus have to be open to that fact.”

Do you have any special plans to mark the festival’s anniversary?

“Yes, we will be celebrating our 20 year partnership with Standard Bank.

“We have a significant number of Standard Bank Young Artist award winners playing at the festival like bassists Concord Nkabinde and Shane Cooper, singer Gloria Bosman, multi-instrumentalist
Mark Fransman and pianists Thandi Ntuli, Nduduzo Makhathini and Bokani Dyer.

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