Cape Town’s jazz gems, day by day
Mike Laatz - Jan 30th 2012, 18:14
Cape Town’s jazz gems
If you’re a jazz fan in this part of the world, you’re spoilt for choice. From solo artists to 18-piece big bands, from bebop to funky smooth jazz, Cape Town’s got it all. Here’s a selection of favourite spots for each day of the week, compiled for 021 by Mike Laatz, Cape Town-based saxophonist, radio presenter and jazz blogger.
On Sundays,Winchester Mansions (021 4342351) in Beach Road, Sea Point, has a jazz brunch, hosted by legendary drummer Maurice Gawronsky. There’s a different line-up every week, but expect to hear the cream of the crop – most often a piano or guitar trio with a vocalist. Bookings are a must; it gets very busy.
Debbi Parkinson plays sax, flute and clarinet at Dunes in Hout Bay from 9.30am to 12.30pm, weather permitting. The Black Marlin in Simon’s Town has a different jazz artist each week, playing from 3–6pm. Also in Simon’s Town, Bertha’s has jazz from 6–9pm.
If the weather’s good, you can hear the Riverboat Jazz Band every Sunday evening at Ferryman’s, V&A Waterfront, from 6pm.
On Mondays, Swingers in Wetton (021 7618799 or 083 2365165) is the place to be. Guitarist Alvin Dyers hosts the weekly jazz jam which starts around 10pm, and goes on until late. There’s a great house band plus lots of guest artists. It’s smoky and loud, and reminiscent of the old-time jazz clubs. The music is a mix of standards, progressive “university” jazz, and a touch of indigenous Cape jazz. If you want a seat, get there early. Food is reasonably priced, as are the drinks.
Also on Mondays, but only once a month, you can hear Big Band Jazz at Trinity, 15 Bennett Street, Green Point (021 418 0624). It’s usually Mike Campbell’s Big Band, but you might also hear others, such as Jonny Cooper’s.
On Tuesdays, Asoka in Kloof Street (021 418 0624) attracts a young, vibrant crowd, and the music is described as “cutting-edge jazz”. The band, called Soul Agents, consists of Jason Reolon, Jonno Sweetman, Nick Williams and Lee Thomson. They play from 9–11pm.
On Wednesdays, there’s live jazz at Blakes, 189 Buitengracht Street (021 426 2369). Or if you’re down south, Manukas in Steenberg Village (021 701 9777) hosts mellow Latin and standard jazz with guitar whiz Keith Macfarlane and Mike Laatz (that’s me) on sax.
On Thursdays, there’s live jazz at the Leopard Lounge, 12 Apostles (021 437 9000), Pigalle in Green Point (021 421 4848), the Alba Lounge, V&A Waterfront (021 425 3385), and, if you like straight-ahead jazz standards, guitarist John Russel runs a tight quartet at Cru Café, Cape Quarter Extension, from 6pm (021 418 6334).
On Fridays, the Glenn Robertson Jazz Band take it away at Kaleidoscope (021 674 5761 during office hours) on Main Road in Claremont from 7.30pm; they’re usually joined by a guest band. Bertha’s in Simon’s Town (021 786 2138) has live music from 6–9pm, usually with a jazzy flavour.
On Saturdays, start the day early with a jazz breakfast at Bread Café, in Bromwell Boutique Mall in Woodstock. Mike Laatz (me again) plays mellow standards on sax. Guitar duo Keith Macfarlane and Alan Bowen play a mix of jazz, flamenco and other styles at Manukas in Steenberg Village (021 701 9777) from 7–9pm.
Mike Laatz presents a jazz programme on Fine Music Radio every Tuesday from 6.30–8pm. The Mike Laatz Gig Guide at www.capetownjazz.com recently received its 10 000th visitor. Visit Mike’s website at www.mikelaatz.com.