Jazz cares for the community
Did you know?
The National Youth Jazz Festival has hosted musicians from more than 16 countries.
Jazz has always had a reciprocal relationship with communities in South Africa. Historically rooted in the heart of the country’s townships, this musical form has given a voice to ordinary South Africans. Jazz musicians have found inspiration in their everyday struggles and triumphs, as well as their musical traditions.
Jazz in South Africa continues to play an important role in communities around the country, although talent doesn’t always have a formal environment in which to develop. Facilities dedicated to musical training are often under-resourced and money for tuition can be scarce.
There are, however, a number of initiatives that work to address this lack. The South African jazz community is by nature collaborative. Working together, established artists are able to give something back through workshops and events designed to give young musicians a platform to showcase their work. Here they can also learn from their peers, as well as from seasoned local and international musicians.
Among the best-known initiatives is the annual Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival. It's the most significant youth development initiative for jazz in South Africa. The top young musicians from this event form the Standard Bank National Youth Band, which plays at festivals around the country.
Partnerships between established musical ensembles and students from musical academies give graduates a musical home. An example is the partnership between the Gauteng Jazz Orchestra and students from the Music Academy of Gauteng.
Jazz festivals continue the tradition of giving back. Each year, leading jazz musicians performing at festivals around the county run free workshops teaching youngsters and musicians more about their craft.
These highly accomplished musicians play an invaluable role by sharing knowledge and inspiration, improving the standard of music for all. They also help to place South African jazz in an international context. Many of today’s rising young stars have been through these workshops, emerging as better and more confident musicians.
In addition to the free workshops, jazz festivals such as the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival offer free concerts by a diverse range of established jazz musicians and newcomers wanting to give something back.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Cape Town International Jazz Festival
Tel: +27 (0)21 422 5653
Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival
Tel: +27 (0)11 833 6323
Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival