The Jazz Workshop Biggish Band
Debut Gigs:
Wed 7 Nov UCT Club 20h00
Sat 10 Nov News Bar 20h00

The day has arrived!

The Jazz Workshop Biggish Band is playing its debut concert on Wednesday 7 November, at the UCT Club (entrance is at the top of the Indoor Sports Centre) on campus. The Biggish Band will kick off at 20h00 with a 40 minute set featuring largely original compositions and arrangements. The set will be followed by a performance of Jazzattac, an excellent semi-professional big band which practises regularly at this venue on Wednesdays. 

The JWBB was started in June of this year, to offer aspiring amateur jazz musicians the chance to play in a jazz ensemble - and to share the experience of rehearsing and performing with their peers.

The JWBB also aims to provide a platform for composers and arrangers of big band material to write music for the Big Band format, and more importantly, to have their material performed.

The JWBB is the pet project of band leader and Jazz Workshop teacher, Jannie van Tonder (trombonist for the likes of The African Jazz Pioneers, Winston's Jive Mixup, The Blues Broers and drummer for the Gereformeerde Blues Band) and was started with the invaluable assistance of a couple of established young Cape Town jazz professionals, notably David Poole on tenor sax (Breakfast Included), Lee Thomson on trumpet (Golliwog) and Russ Nerwich also on tenor (Rujak). Lee still leads the Trumpet Section for the JWBB, but the other guys have already been replaced by permanent members.

Well-known Cape Town pianist/guitarist David Ledbetter (of the Truly Fully Hey Shoo Wow Band) also played a key role by providing the band with its first original composition, "Stywepap & Bredie", a Mbaqanga showpiece which was produced, arranged and printed under great duress in time for the band's first full rehearsal. This has become the band's theme tune - and will be heard for the first time in public on Wednesday the 7th. (Sadly, Dave has had to send his apologies - he's currently dodging American warplanes, after being forced to relocate to Dubai for a six month cocktail gig to supplement his meagre earnings as a fulltime top-of-the-range Cape Jazz musician!)

The Jazz Workshop is a major landmark on the Cape's musical landscape. It was started by Mertyn and Cynthia Barrow in 1965 and has been home (and school) to too many highly respected South African jazz musicians to mention. Mertyn Barrow is a legendary pianist and teacher - and he too has contributed two original compositions, written and arranged specially for this exciting new project. So - listen out for "Blueprints" (a blues featuring a host of soloists), and "1,2,free,4" (a jazz-rock classic). 

Other material to be performed includes new arrangements of old standards - one by Alan Gordon, the respected septogenarian trumpet soloist of note (who still performs regularly with Jazzattac), and others by the band leader, Jannie van Tonder (including some pieces the band has had to learn to play by ear!).

So, if you're a composer who'd like to write for Big Band, or just a regular jazz-lover, please come along and share in the debut performance of this exciting project - at the UCT Club at 20h00 on Wednesday the 7th of November!

And if you like what you hear - join the Jazz Workshop Biggish Band again on Saturday the 10th of November at the News Bar, 21 Long Street, (between Riebeeck & Waterkant Str.) where they'll be joining James Kibbey (also a Jazz Workshop teacher) and his band at their regular Saturday Jam Session.

Both these performances are free (NO COVER CHARGE!!) And remember, by next year we plan to have enough music in the pad be able to perform up to 3 sets at functions and concerts, hopefully sometimes for a fee! So keep us in mind when you're organising your event and you need to spice it up with that Big Band sound!

NOTE FOR COMPOSERS: The Jazz Workshop Biggish Band is still slightly smaller than a regular Big Band, but we hope to add the Baritone Sax and 4th Trumpet early next year so you can write for regular Big Band format. And for letting us play your work we'll contribute R400 for your own composition and R200 for an arrangement of an existing tune. We'll also publicise your contribution at every oppurtunity!

The JWBB is:

Saxes: Cathy Boon, Christine Hazebroucq, John Thorne, Graham Thorne
Trumpets: Lee Thomson, PeterAdlard, Bradley Preston
Trombones: Andrew O'Donoghue, Shelley Williams, Clair Sparrius, Oliver Taylor
Rhythm (gt, pno, bs, dms): Rick Beckman, Ralston van der Schyff, Sidney McKennan, Anthony Lee Martin

For more information email Jannie van Tonder, phone Cynthia at the Jazz Workshop on 424 4956 or check out

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