The big-band jazz ancestors have all breathed on this music. The disciplined unison swing of Griffiths Motsieloa and Peter Rezant, the goema beat of carnival, the counterpoint and call and response in the writing of Mackay Davashe and Tete Mbambisa, Chris Columbus’s incitement to improvise “fowl runs”, the churchy sonorities of Abdullah Ibrahim, and Chris McGregor and Dudu Pukwana’s joyous dissolves into free, all find echoes here.
Trumpeter Marcus Wyatt’s ZAR Jazz Orchestra cheerfully acknowledges these antecedents in its diverse structures, colours and textures: “Part of the challenge of a big-band,” reflects Wyatt, “is that you have so many options.” His predominant approach, he says, is to deploy these rich resources to “embellish the small group sound…[rather than] saturating the listener.”
There’s innovation as well – particularly in the ways Siya Makuzeni’s praise singing and consummately skilled wordless vocalese weave into the texture. Listen, too, to fresh instrumental voices: pianist Bokani Dyer’s moving solo on Annake Tassou; bassist Romy Brauteseth’s sonorous, smart contribution to A Semi-Serious Conversation; saxophonists Sisonke Xonti and Justin Bellairs. Listen, of course, to Wyatt who (though he says in such company he often enjoys “just standing back and listening to the others”) plays a warm, highly skillful horn – and who laid the compositional foundation that lets the others fly.
Like the rhino, jazz big-bands are today an endangered species. Commercial music promoters prefer projects that are less costly to assemble, maintain and stage well. But – also like the rhino – you only have to experience a jazz big-band once up close to realize what a uniquely expressive beast it is, and thus how indispensable to the whole jazz eco-system. That’s what this album gives you: “If people are moved as I am, “ says Wyatt, “the job’s done.”
released June 17, 2015
Marcus Wyatt & The ZAR Jazz Orchestra - One Night in the Sun
(live @ M1 Studios , SABC Johannesburg , January 2015)
live engineer - Fried Wilsenach
recording engineer - Peter Auret
mixed and mastered at Sumo Sound Studios by Peter Auret & Marcus Wyatt
produced by Marcus Wyatt for Language 12
cover art - Romy Brauteseth
The ZAR Jazz Orchestra
Marcus Wyatt (trumpet/flugelhorn) , Siya Makuzeni (vocals)
MD/Conducter : Janine Neethling
Rythmn section : Bokani Dyer (piano), Romy Brauteseth (upright bass), Marlon Clive Witbooi (drums), Al Dirt Du Toit (guitars/banjo)
Saxophones : Sisonke Xonti , Marc De Kock , Justin Bellairs , Tshepo Tsotetsi , Janus Van der Merwe .
Trumpets : Adam Howard , Sidney Mavundla , Lwanda Gogs Gogwana
Trombones : Bez Roberts , Zbigniew Kobak , Siya Makuzeni , Alex Hitzeroth (bass trombone/Sousaphone)
all songs published by Soul Kitchen Publishing , except The Space Between , Annake Tassou , Goodbye Sunday , A Semi-serious Conversation (for Moses & Johnny) ,
published by Language 12 Publishing .
all rights reserved