Alexander o Neal has promised 150% worth of talent and ‘jamming’ as the 12th edition of the joy of jazz festival kicked off on Thursday.
In a press conference ahead of the event the 1980s chart buster said he would be giving his best at the festival, which will be celebrated among thousands of music lovers until Saturday.
I am smitten with Africa he says, quoting words from the late Richard Pryor who described a visit to the vast continent as somewhat of a pilgrimage for all African Americans.
“I cannot lie I am humbled by my fan base in Africa and I am ecstatic to be here.
Since his arrival for the weekend festivities, Alex has had music workshops without teens from across the city and especially in the townships.
His performances on Friday and Saturday will be supported by his London based band where he has been performing for the past decade and more.
Jazz phenomenon Wynton Marsalis will open the stage with a special VIP performance at the swanky Emperors Palace.
He will be ‘curtain raised’ by the Gauteng Jazz Orchestra featuring the African soul sisters, including Wanda Baloyi who put on a spectacular performance at the event last year.
Wynton said of the music workshops that teaching was part of his musical heritage and that it was a crucial part of one’s musical journey.
One of his ‘students’ so to speak, Frank McComb, will also be starring at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz 2011.
Dee Dee Bridgewater, Oliver Mtukudzi and Hugh Masekela are part of the line up too. Hugh will share the stage with young singers from Congo and SA, where he will pay tribute to the late Miriam Makeba through a rendition of her soulful track ‘Olili’.