I arrived in Jozi late Tuesday afternoon September 30th, stiff and exhausted from the fifteen-hour flight. But after a good night’s sleep and fresh morning coffee, I was ready to discover the music of the city and, oh how I did. By around 9:00 p.m. that evening I was watching these cats pictured above, mesmerized by their dazzling performance.
Earlier that morning I visited Kaya FM 95.5 to meet Nicky B, the venerable host of the weekly radio program, the World Show. Nicky and I hung out in her studio sharing stories about African music and favorite artists, and she tuned me in to what’s current in the Johannesburg music scene.
One of her leads led me to the live concert later that evening at The Orbit – Jazz Club & Bistro. The trio was one of the most exciting performances I’ve seen in years. Three musicians I’d never heard of but will not ever forget are Kesivan Naidoo – drums, Shane Cooper – double bass, and Kyle Shepherd – piano. Wow!
The concert was Kesivan’s release party for his band’s new CD Brotherhood. But for some reason that I can’t remember now, Kesivan didn’t actually have available copies yet. Still in production, I think. The trio outfit from the 6-piece band Kesvian and the Lights played original pieces composed by each one and featured the new ones from Kesivan’s Brotherhood CD. The arrangements were tight, original and impeccably executed. Yet, there was plenty of open, easy room for each artist to stretch out and show us exactly why they are considered South Africa’s hottest new jazzmen from the Cape today. Here’s a sample of the show:
I spoke with all three of them after the gig. They said this was their first performance as a trio. Soon they and the rest of the The Lights are on their way to the U.S. for the Carnegie Hall festival of South African Music that runs from October 8th to November 5th, 2014. Stay tuned for more from Kesivan and the Lights right here on my blog and youtube channels as well. After New York, they are headed to Washington DC and Kesivan promised to stop in at VOA for an interview.
During the break, I wandered down to the entrance of Orbit where a delightful first-year vocal jazz student was taking the door money and selling CDs of artists that perform at the venue. They included the most recent of Kesivan, Shane, and Kyle and several others.