GEORGE ENTERTAINMENT NEWS - Cape Town's finest jazz musicians, the Ramon Alexander Jazz Ensemble, gave a suave performance at the Oakhurst Insurance George Arts Theatre last Monday, 30 April, which happened to coincide with the celebration of International Jazz day. Local aspirant musicians were lucky to be able to attend a workshop earlier the day where the pros gave tips to up-and-coming local artists.
Ramon, a former York High learner, is a man of few words and endowed with nimble fingers and loads of talent as a composer.
He played some of his own compositions from his album and mentioned that he is greatly influenced by Abdullah Ibrahim, the well-known Cape Town jazz musician, pianist and composer.
They are currently working together on a new album.
Ibrahim's music reflects many of the musical influences of his childhood in the multicultural port areas of Cape Town, ranging from traditional African songs to the gospel of the AME Church to more modern jazz and other Western styles.
Ramon Alexander Jazz Ensemble members backstage at the Oakhurst Insurance George Arts Theatre. From left are drummer Annemie Nel; Ramon Alexander; deputy principal of Hibernia Primary Bernadette Hoogbaard; rhythm guitarist Chadleigh Gowar and lead guitarist Bradley Prince. Photos: Pauline Lourens
Ibrahim is considered the leading figure in the sub-genre of Cape jazz. His music particularly reflects the influence of Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington. He is known especially for Mannenberg, a jazz piece that became a notable anti-apartheid anthem. He went into exile to live in New York and only returned in the 1990s.
The George Music Society was particularly proud to have Alexander and his ensemble bring the best possible live music to "all the people of George". Ranging from laid-back to upbeat township rhythms, Alexander was his polished self, supported by Annemie Nel on drums, Chadleigh Gowar on rhythms and Bradley Prince on lead.
The extraordinary local vocalist, high school teacher Lynette Petersen, sang two of her favourites - That's All, performed in Ella Fitzsgerald-style and Kushuka, which is in a genre all of its own.
George's saxophonist prodigy Kerwin Albertus (16), earned lavish praise from Alexander for his performance of his own composition, Spring.
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