The Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) within the College of Humanities partnered with the University of Johannesburg (UJ) to present a one-day online Jazz festival to mark International Jazz Appreciation Month.
The project was presented in cooperation with the South African Jazz Educators Association and the Centre for Jazz and Contemporary Studies.
The one-day online mini-festival featured both performances and lectures as well as a public participation programme titled: Does Jazz Matter?
Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) is a global event held in April every year to recognise and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz. JAM is intended to stimulate and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz – to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and more.
CCA Director Dr Ismail Mahomed said: ‘The Centre for Creative Arts and UJ Arts and Culture have a track record for strong engagement with the cultural sector. We believe that the inaugural partnership between the arts centres at our two universities was vital to support the South African Association for Jazz Education and the Centre for Jazz and Contemporary Music to consider how an arts economy that has been almost decimated by the pandemic can be rebuilt.’
Head of Arts and Culture at UJ, Mr Pieter Jacobs, added: ‘Now, more than ever, it is important for role players in the arts and culture industry to collaborate and combine efforts and resources to maximise the impact of our projects on both the industry and the communities we serve. We were thrilled to partner on the presentation of the one-day educational jazz celebration and to mark Jazz Appreciation Month in such a meaningful way.’
Speaking on behalf of the South African Association for Jazz Education (SAJE), Ms Diane Rossi said, ‘This first collaboration came about as a result of one idea and one Zoom meeting – cultural activists and administrators getting things done! And so, we were able to present South African Jazz: Connecting the Tradition, a one-day online celebration of South African Jazz Education during Jazz Appreciation Month.’
The mini festival featured webinars moderated by media personalities Brenda Sisane, Sam Mathe and Atiyyah Khan. Sisane presented a showcase of performance by young South African jazz musicians and moderated a discussion with them about the future of South African jazz. Khan spoke to jazz festival promoters and venue operators about the impact of COVID-19 and the recovery plans for the sector, while Mathe moderated a discussion about the legacy of Todd Matshikiza.
The Festival was live-streamed on the social media platforms of all the partners.