By Shameelah Khan
- Tell the Odd family a bit about Cape Jazz and its purpose.
Every idea starts with a problem. Ours was simple: Cape Town has a Jazz culture that needs to be heard.
Our business was created with the same spontaneous, rebellious and passionate spirit that makes this progressive art form so iconic. Our vision is to boost the Jazz scene in Cape Town. With this in mind, we crafted a premium music entertainment service. Our focus is on weddings, festivals and corporate events. Using our hand-selected group of musicians, we are able to refine the musical atmosphere of any event. We are a family that love playing music with one another and aim to create beautiful memories with the people we work with.
- Who are the founders and what role do they each play?
Cape Jazz was founded by Evan Froud and Zachary Sonday.
I’m Evan Froud, 22 years old, and I am a Jazz saxophonist who graduated from the University of Cape Town last year (2017) with a BMus in Jazz Performance (Cum laude). There a variety of musical genres that resonate with me and amongst the many genres I find Jazz to be unique, filled with deep roots and soul. Zac and I had been dreaming up a crafted musical experience. Not exactly in the way Cape Jazz does, but kinda like the Mahogany Sessions.
Towards the end of my music degree, I realized that there was a need for Cape Jazz, dealing with the reality of a struggling musician in an industry where the art form isn’t as celebrated as it should be. Our vision was born: to create a platform that could provide work for musicians as well as promote jazz music around the city.
During my four years at university, I learnt a lot from my mentor Dan Shout (Tenor saxophonist and owner of ShoutMC) who taught me how important it is for a musician to be business minded. I’m confident that we are well equipped to really make a difference in the music scene and bring more people together.
I manage the music side of the company, which includes everything from performing, booking musicians, communicating with clients and creating the different musical packages that we offer. We are currently in the process of uploading profiles of the musicians that we will be booking so that everyone can get to know who they are.
I’m honestly childishly excited for what lies ahead.
I’m Zachary, 23 years old and I grew up in Cape Town too. Evan and I go way back (Rondebosch Boys High School 2009). I’ve been to many of his gigs over the years and my love for music has only grown deeper. We often speak about us being old souls and maybe part of jazz as a culture, I wish I could go back in time and truly experience it. It is a music that screams spontaneity, rebellion and passion ( hence our core values ). Part of me is sad that most people don’t know about it but that was where we saw an opportunity.
Jazz has the power to bring people together – make them move.
I did a great deal of work building Cape Jazz as a brand. I handle the visual identity (design) and strategy (brand building and management). None of it would be possible without Ev – we challenge each other every step of the way. We spend hours refining what we want for Cape Jazz as both a visual and physical representations of our belief. “Cape Town has a Jazz Culture that needs to be heard”.
We aim to create something meaningful, something built to last, where our focus is not on us, but on the revival of jazz in our city and then who knows? the rest of the African continent?
I am a huge hip-hop fan, but you can clearly hear the jazz roots in many of my favourite artists: Tribe Called Quest, Tupac, NWA. Hip-hop owes its roots to jazz and it’s not just the music. Whether you are listening to K-dot, Shakira, Meghan Trainor, Amy Winehouse or John Mayer you can clearly trace their roots of music to Jazz. People are just unaware, and I guess that’s another opportunity: to raise the consciousness and share what we know.
We want to revive a great wonder that seems to be lost in the city of some of the greatest Jazz musicians of all time.
- How has the history of Jazz, dating from Apartheid to Post-Apartheid, influenced or played a role in your business?
A Rhythmical Resistance – finding something inspiring amidst tragedy.
Music played a large role in the movement against apartheid within South Africa, as well as on the international stage. It was a way to carry a message and attempt to free the minds of those being oppressed – a tragically beautiful byproduct of the apartheid regime.
Evan and I are constantly discussing this because we see how the legends of Jazz were born and inspired during times of great adversity. Music is an outlet for expression and we aim to develop more compassion, empathy and understanding for one another through music.
We always try to remain to conscious and grateful for our circumstances. We always look at the past (hindsight), the future (foresight) and this gives us the ability to guide (insight) our decisions now.
We see the value jazz possess, and the value it can create. We want to be a pioneering focus on musical development for as many people as possible. We built this business to be socially conscious, so our backbone will always lie in our impact on music in Cape Town, that is our measure of success.
- What is the need for Jazz in CT and what is the jazz scene in CT like?
I’d say there is a huge need for Jazz in CT, as it is a genre of music which allows the musician to explore themselves and find a sense of identity. The art of improvisation demands musicians to have respect for one another as well as a sense of unity. We should be encouraging the youth to play this music so that they can grow in positive ways.
It is a wonderful time to be a Jazz musician in Cape Town as the scene is growing and developing at all times. There are many restaurants and pubs that are doing brilliant things for the genre and we thank them! CT has some of SA’s most talented musicians performing regularly such as Andrew Lilley (Piano), Dan Shout (Saxophone), Jono Sweetman (Drums), Marc de Kock (Saxophone), Kevin Gibson (Drums), Andrew Ford (Piano), Shane Cooper (Bass), to name a few.
- What is it about jazz that has inspired the company?
As we say on our website, our business was created with the same spontaneous, rebellious and passionate spirit that makes this progressive art form so iconic. We truly believe that jazz is an exciting, expressive, and emotional music that should be heard on a much greater scale. I personally am at my happiest when playing Jazz music, and could think of no better way to align my passions and grow a business doing something I love.
- What are some of the social initiatives that the company partakes in?
Jazz should be heard, played and taught to anyone willing to learn. So when you make a booking with us, 5% of the total cost goes towards our annual donation to a Cape Town school of our choosing. We have a very transparent pricing (found on our website) to ensure relations are maintained and virtuous.
We hope to use each of our gigs we play as to save money to equip kids with instruments and then give lessons as Cape Jazz (for free). We want our clients to see the tangible impact we have and hope to align our beliefs with theirs.
- Why do you think there is a need to have a conversation around jazz/jazz revival in South Africa?
Jazz has a very special and important place in the heart of South Africa and represents so much more than just beautiful sounds. I think it is vital that South Africans do not forget where jazz comes from and the role it has played in our history. The new generation of music lovers are so far from Jazz ( not the genre but the quality of music ), so westernized that this style of music is almost foreign to them and we want to be educating people as much as possible. The songs we hear on the radio, catchy tunes that linger our minds with their 4 chords and muffled words, honestly makes us both happy and sad. We want people to dig beneath the surface of the music they listen to, question it and be critical.
- What do you think is the future of jazz in South Africa?
Looking back at where jazz started in South Africa and how it has grown into what it is today, I think the future looks bright!
If one casts their eyes over to America and Europe we see jazz constantly fusing with other genres in a positive way and I believe that this will grow in South Africa too. There is so much talent in our country and we are seeing so many of our young jazz cats making their mark on the jazz world.
I am excited to see how the sound of SA jazz develops and how we can combine it with the modern jazz sound that reaches us from across the globe. The term jazz is so diverse, which is why I think the future is bright and also rather spontaneous.
- Who are the jazz artists who have inspired you and why?
I would start off with Winston Mankunku who is one of my favourite tenor saxophonists. His sound and creativity are what really amaze me. Yakhal ‘Inkomo is the most beautiful ballad, which he plays with such emotion that one can almost hear the pain and suffering that so many endured. He was heavily influenced by the great John Coltrane.
The music of the late Hugh Masekela, Abdullah Ibrahim as well as modern South African artists such as Dan Shout, Darryl Andrews, Mike Campbell, Justin Bellairs and Andrew Lilley. I get inspired by their incredible technique, improvisation as well as their ability to play in so many styles.
- Any final comments around the company and those involved?
Cape Jazz is a brand focused on the celebration of the Jazz Culture in the mother city.
Honestly, go listen to Hope by Hugh Masekela, the live version. Thank you, Odd Magazine for sharing your space, time, and platform with us. We hope to have many more collaborations with you in the future. Nothing but love for you guys.