Renowned South African pianist and composer (2014’s Standard Bank Young Artist of the year [SBYA]) – Kyle Shepherd – launches his new album “Dream State” with a live concert in Johannesburg on Sat the 26th of July 2014. Presented by Wits Theatre, this show is one of the highlights of the Wits 969 Festival programme.
“Dream State” – Shepherd’s 4th album release (his previous 3 album releases all nominated for SAMA awards) – is a double album of 21 original tracks of impeccable jazz based music from one of South Africa’s most progressive pianists and leading composers of his generation.
The album, and its launch at WITS, mark and celebrate the 5th anniversary of the existence of the Kyle Shepherd Trio, which features Kyle Shepherd on piano; Shane Cooper (2013 SBYA recipient (and also that year’s jazz SAMA award winner)) on double bass; with Jonno Sweetman on drums. [The album itself also features pre-eminent SA saxophonist Buddy Wells on 5 tracks].
In this studio recording, the Trio, magnificently captures the fluidity, intensity and inventiveness of its live performances, that have entranced audiences across South Africa and also abroad. There is a natural synthesis and well-honed interplay that has evolved between Shepherd, Cooper and Sweetman over the years that has enabled and seen them explore the sound relationships between a variety of different music genres:
“Firstly, what makes this new album different from the three albums I’ve released before – in which I’ve paid special homage to my culture and heritage as a South African and African – is that it contains compositions that I’ve written specifically with this trio in mind and taken into account our unique individual attributes and expressiveness that ultimately forms the basis of the cohesiveness of the ‘sound community’ that we’ve become and the dialogue that we share with each other during our trio performances. Secondly, with this album, we are exploring the inter-relationships within the universal sound spectrum between different genres ranging from classical music, progressive rock and Jazz music through to free improvisation, and breaking down some of the artificial boundaries that exists (mostly in our minds) between the original composition structural form and space – all in the most uninhibited and imaginative way possible,” says Shepherd.
In the album’s liner notes, renowned arts journalist, Percy Mabandu succinctly described the ethos of the trio in this way:
“There’s a palpable connectedness they share as players, a connection that also touches attuned audiences at their live performances too. This band is on a search for more than beautiful notes. They are asking more of the music. Its corporeal and ethereal aspects are invoked into the simultaneous sound ritual. Each performance takes on the nature of a meditation and as Zim Ngqawana said, ‘the music must lead us towards ourselves’. ”
Shepherd is ecstatic about the release of this double album and equally grateful to Standard Bank for the SBYA award. “I am truly honoured and humbled to be part of a long lineage of South African artists who are recipients of this prestigious award. I’m also grateful that with this Award, Standard Bank has given me the opportunity to record all this work and release it on a double album.
‘Dream State’ which was recorded by Peter Auret at the Sumo Sound Recording Studio, mixed by Pål Svenre (Sweden) and mastered by Tim Lengfeld at TL Mastering, is the 27-year old pianist’s 4th Album. His previous critically acclaimed releases, ‘fineART’, ‘A Portrait of Home’ and ‘South African History !X’, have all garnered South African Music Award nominations.
Shepherd’s career nationally and internationally has grown tremendously since the release of his debut album in 2009 – with notable concert appearances, as well as international album releases (notably in Germany and Japan). Shepherd is versatile, and performs either as a solo pianist, as a trio or quartet, as well as other formats. Using this variety Kyle Shepherd has featured at (amongst others) the following impressive venues and festivals:
Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord and L’Onde Théâtre et Centre d’art as part of the Festival d’Automne à Paris (France). The Bird’s Eye Jazz Club (Switzerland), Jazzwerkstatt Festival Bern (Switzerland), Reformierte Dorfkirche Kleinhüningen (Switzerland), Klubschule St. Gallen (Switzerland). Der Sendesaal, (Germany), Hallenbad Kultur Am Schactweg, (Germany), Body & Soul Jazz Club (Japan), Shikiori (Japan), Kaho Gekijo Kabuki Theatre (Japan), The Aarhus Jazz Festival (Denmark), The Cape Town International Jazz Festival (South Africa), The Joy of Jazz Festival (South Africa), The Harare International Festival – HIFA (Zimbabwe),The Tianjin International Jazz Festival (China), No Black Tie (Malaysia), MICA (India), B-Flat (India) and The Gonsalves Mansion ‘Home of Jazz’ (India).
Shepherd will be performing a solo piano concert at The Tokyo Jazz Festival (Tokyo, Japan) on the 7th of September 2014 and with Kesivan &The Lights at Carnegie Hall, New York, USA on the 30th of October 2014. The Kyle Shepherd Trio is billed to play at The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival, Sandton, on the 27th September 2014. Shepherd is currently completing a series of performances at the Standard Bank Jazz Festival (National Arts Festival, Grahamstown).
Copies of the new CD will be on sale at the launch concert and at major retail stores in South Africa, and will also be downloadable via all major digital platforms worldwide as of end July 2014.
Johannesburg Launch Concert Details:
Date: Sat 26 July 2014
Venue: WITS Great Hall – WITS University [1 Jan Smuts Avenue, Braamfontein] (JHB)
Cost: R40 – R50
Wits 969 Festival Website: www.wits.ac.za/witstheatre/23825/
A Cape Town launch concert date will be announced shortly…