South Africa’s jazz scene today is a vibrant one brimming with young talent. Several have emerged as bandleaders and composers, while at the same time being members of their contemporaries’ collectives – cross-pollinating each other’s music with various influences and pushing South Africa’s proud jazz heritage into the future.
From the trios of pianists Kyle Shepherd, Bokani Dyer and Yonela Mnana, to the genre-defying exploits of guitarists Vuma Levin and Reza Khota; and from artists inspired by age-old traditions, like Lwanda Gogwana and Mandisi Dyantyis, to the cosmic explorations of Siya Makuzeni, Benjamin Jephta, Thandi Ntuli, Zoë Modiga
and Shane Cooper’s Mabuta – Johannesburg label Afrosynth Records’ upcoming 2xLP compilation New Horizons highlights some of the country’s most talented young composers and bandleaders, as well as a wider cast of supporting musicians.
The current crop of jazz stylists under the spotlight are visionaries in their own right, exceptionally inventive figures who, while they enjoy the advantage and privilege of tapping into the rich musical heritage that preceded them, have brought to bear their creative impulses to collapse boundaries and push frontiers.