I missed last year's Joy of Jazz for some reason or another, and after a reminder through both inflight magazines of BA and SAA, decided to try and attend at least one "session". I was a bit surprised at the high prices of the tickets, but the festival was well organised with good parking options, lots of signage and cops.
Sterling Electric Quartet (or Sterling EQ for short), was my main motivation to go the Saturday evening session at the historic Market Theatre. Sterling EQ is a band comprising of 4 hot female artists - Carina Bruwer on the electric flute, Eriel Huang and Magdalene Minnaar on electric violins and Ariella Caira on the electric cello.
It's a bit difficult to really rate Stirling EQ. Their classical works are only slightly different to Vanessa Mae and bands like Bond, and that is mainly through the use of the electric flute. And while Vanessae Mae makes use of a live backing band (at least in all the live recordings I have seen), Stirling EQ makes use of a pre-recorded, pre-mixed drum and bass mix - limiting the flexibility of their music playback. But at the same time their interpretation of non-classical musical pieces such as Nkalakatha (their producer also worked with Mandoza) and Mbube as well as their original pieces such as Nova and Bach's Kitten at Play show what they can really do (and do it very well). None the less, it was a great show and very enjoyable (and I even bought their CD).
Arlee Leonard was a more traditional singer and poet helped with a back up pianist (who also did a brilliant beatboxing routine for an entire song) and for a short while by a saxophonist and trumpeteer Brian Thusi. Her songs were some times racy (the second song was titled "Self Pleasure"), some times humourous and mostly thought provoking.
It seems most of the audience was there for the last act, Phil Perry, and although it was not really my genre of music; it is easy to see why. Phil Perry has an amazing vocal range, and he uses it to amazing effect. As the MC put it, Stirling EQ was for the guys, and Phil Perry was for the ladies - and he had seemingly every lady in the audence swooning to his love songs.
What I really like about Jazz is its variety, and on that last night was amazing. It could have been worthwhile going to some other stages in the future - as it seems that there was some rocking shows elsewhere in the festival.