I spent Wednesday afternoon listening to Jimmy Dludlu and Melanie Scholtz rehearse with the University of Cape Town Big Band. Jimmy's fantastic guitarist. He's been a major player on the international jazz scene for a couple decades. He's most identified with Afro-Jazz, but a better way to get an idea of what he sounds like imagine a much younger George Benson, who had been born in Mozambique and had a deep affinity for Latin American music.
Melanie Scholtz and Jimmy Dludlu, with Alvin Dyers meditating in the background.
Melanie is near the beginning of what will surely be a fabulous career. In her teens she was well on her way to becoming an opera singer. I have no idea why she moved to jazz, but I'm glad she did. She's got a voice that manages to be a clean at Ella's and as soulful as Sarah's.
Melanie and Jimmy.
Melanie and Jimmy are both graduates of the South African College of Music, at the University of Cape Town. They were preparing for a concert of jazz and classical music that featured College of Music alumni.
The University of Cape Town Big Band, under the direction of Mike Campbell, provided the accompaniment. This is a first rate university big band. To find a better one, anywhere, you'd have to go to a powerhouse jazz studies program, such as Berklee, North Texas, or Indiana.
Members of the UCT Big Band sax section.
Below are more photos from the rehearsal.
The concert, which took place last night, was stunning. I'll post photos and a report in a few days.