Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra Perform From The South African Songbook
Jazz at Lincoln Center brought the music of South Africa to Manhattan for its opening night concert.
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra featuring Wynton Marsalis opened its new season by paying tribute to South African jazz, performing “The South African Songbook, Celebrating 25 Years of Democracy.”
South African artists, including pianists Thandi Ntuli, Nduduso Makhathini and saxophonist McCoy Mrubata joined the orchestra at the Frederick P. Rose Hall for a selection of songs from the land of the Zulu and Xhosa.
The concert gave the crowd a glimpse of the spectrum of South African Jazz. The orchestra performed interpretations of work from legends like Hugh Masekela’s “Send Me,” as well as the late pianist Winston Mankunku Ngozi’s musical tribute to Archbishop Desmond Tutu – each arranged by an orchestra member.
The evening came 25 years after the country’s racial caste system, Apartied, came to an end, and many of the songs reflected a sense of hope and reconciliation as well as a musical call to action to work towards a better society.
The works infused South African culture and traditional music with improvisational jazz to the delight of the crowd, which later gave the orchestra a standing ovation.
Considered one of the nation’s premier music institutions, Jazz at Lincoln Center is a performance space, artist incubator, music education classroom and record label that hosts workshops, performances, and an annual high school jazz band competition and festival.