Cape Town (5) At the Festival Press Conference with an instamatic

The Table Bay Hotel and Table Mountain, Cape Town

Seldom does the act of doodling about jazz land the writer in a setting quite as dramatic as this. The majestic Table Bay Hotel, which opened in May 1997, sits right by the harbour. While Dave Koz – I think – was talking about his youth and music enabling him to “deal with things I didn’t have words for”, his musings received a loud comment, low down in the bass – from the foghorn of a passing ship.

Patti Austin at the Cape Town Jazz Festival Press Conference

The star of the press conference, for me at least, was Patti Austin. She was scathing about audiences in the US: “With no music education, you’re dealing with a musically illiterate audience.” .. “When you’re listening to junk, it becomes harder and harder to appreciate anything of quality.”

She talked about her straight-down-the-line approach to giving masterclasses to singers: she pops them the question: “How many of you want to be stars?” And if a hand goes up, she lands the killer punch: “You’re screwed.”

Mike Vitti recorded that interview for JazzFM. I look forward to hearing it again.

If one goes to a press conference looking for spark and fire, there it is, right in the eyes and the demeanour of saxophonist David Sanchez (left), talking about the acceleration in experiece and in education which came to him from being exposed to so many kinds of music in New York, and enthusing about the playing of Lionel Loueke (right).

The smiles tell the story. A band who seemed genuinely pleased to be there, to have made it to Southern Africa for the first time in nearly forty years in music were the Jamaicans of Third World. They were happy to hang around and chat in the breaks, natural, friendly.

And what happens if you stay right to the very end of the final press conference? Simple. The diet wins.

Categories: miscellaneous

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