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Written byJosh Raynham

Opening Up Close and Personal and bringing jazz to the Commons, I’d like to introduce, The Khaya Mthembu-Salter Trio!

When Jazz first appeared on the scene in the 1920s people were taken aback by its fast off-tempo rhythm and defiant improvisation. New Orleans became a melting pot of cultures, and it was only natural for Jazz to develop as musicians from different cultures and musical backgrounds met and played together, learning and exchanging musical ideas together. 100 years later what is being created is still coherent with the days of radical expressionism and musical bravado.

Opening up the proceedings for Up Close and Personal, The Khaya Mthembu-Salter Trio bring that historical sound through the ages and allow the audience the space and freedom to experience the music as they wish. However, when one is locked in that trance it only feels right to allow the music to flow through you, accentuated by the three men on stage.

The Khaya Mthembu-Salter Trio stems from the culmination of three very talented musicians.

Playing from the ripe-old-age of 9 Khaya Mthembu-Salter brings with him years of experience, studying under some of the most prolific musicians in Cape Town such as renowned Double Bassist Hein van de Geyn and Martin Zenker, and now late guitarist Dave Ledbetter. Khaya has always been connected to Jazz and has been playing regular gigs every week since he was 14 years old. The feeling when this man is playing on stage connects you with each note he strings out of his guitar. He truly feels the music, and this is apparent when one is watching him flow easily over each bar as if it were water running down a stream. His range and versatility bring out the best in improvisation taking us all the way back to the beginning. His influences have now seen him able to travel and play with local musicians from Ethiopia, Senegal, and around Europe.

Keegan Steenkamp is a 28-year-old trumpeter and composer from Muizenberg. Making his first appearance in the Cape Town music scene at the age of 17 he went on to graduate from the South African College of Music. Since then, he has gone on to perform on some of the biggest stages in South Africa, including Rocking the Daisies and The Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Releasing his first EP in 2019 his recognition as a composer and band leader brought him even more into the spotlight. He has since collaborated with the likes of MXO, Siya Makunzeni, Sound and Words, to name a few. With his high energy and ability to capture the crowd with his trumpet solos, Keegan definitely makes his presence known on the stage.

Lastly, the young and up-and-coming musician from Zimbabwe, Joshua Nemaire brings the bass to the trio with his skills on both the Double Bass and Electric Bass. Since starting his musical journey at the age of 10 he has made his way through multiple instruments, learning, and mastering his craft as he goes. Joshua was introduced to Jazz and the Double Bass when he took up the role of junior Master of Music to Owen Chimuka at the Ruzawi School in Marondera, Zimbabwe.

Joshua has been part of a couple of festivals in and around Cape Town including, The National Youth Jazz Festival, The Cape Town Big Band Festival, and The Artscape Youth Jazz Festival. Influenced by a wide variety of styles Joshua sees himself connecting mainly with Jazz, HipHop, Neo Soul, and African contemporary music. His understating of the rhythmic pulse that the bass brings to a piece of music allows him to carry himself well within the spaces he occupies. When you close your eyes and hear the low throb of his Double Bass, or the twang of the Electric Bass, you know that everything will be ok.

So, make sure you get to the Commons early, and listen out for the rhythmic sounds of The Khaya Mthembu-Salter Trio as they kick off the live performances. The Jazz will carry you through the night mixing both past and present. The connections the musicians have made with each other over the years will become apparent as they connect you to the space and allow you to become Up Close and Personal with everyone and everything around you.

Get your tickets here.