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Culture, Music

Three Shamans

by Ts'eliso Monaheng / 22.10.2013

The Kyle Shepherd trio made its Johannesburg debut this past Saturday. Consisting of Kyle on piano, Shane Cooper on bass, and Jono Sweetman on drums, this virtuosic set of musicians served rounds of straight-ahead jazz while suggesting delectable side-dishes of where the music could head, and the capacity crowd at the Wits Atrium consumed all of it. Call it ‘the shape of things to come’, label it ‘goema-jazz’, save it under the ‘langarm’ section in underground music libraries – whatever the case, do not call it uninteresting.

The debut happened on the same week that Kyle received the 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award for Jazz which was handed, incidentally, to Cooper just the year before. Etienne Shardlow, the show’s promoter who also hosts the JazzE radio show Bakgat Radio, introduced the trio.

What then ensued was a demonstration in agility, speed, pitch-perfect precision, and sheer musicality. The Wits Atrium was in awe, applauding at every possible instance, encouraging the band onward, and cheering even more when the three shamans chipped in with their splendid chops. And onward they went, riding roughshod over a three album-deep discography, playing snippets of some songs and re-arranged versions of others. On the same night that Fuzigish were playing just across the bridge at the Bassline and another subversive form of jazz happening downtown at King Kong courtesy of the free-form outfit GP Riot, it was a pleasant surprise that the show managed to sell out.

We were there to take pictures, so take a peek.

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* Images © Ts’eliso Monaheng

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