Society needs its storytellers and whether those stories are told in prose, poetry or music they remind us of our humanity and shared histories.
Composer/bassist and music virtuoso Carlo Mombelli is one such narrator and along with the daring collective of musicians: The Stories Ensemble will be touring Southern Africa in March and April.
Mombelli is joined by traditional Zulu singer Mbuso Khoza, trombonist Adrian Mears, cellist Daniel Pezzotti, Dejan Terzic on drumsand the 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist award winner for Jazz, Kyle Shepherd on piano.
The tour starts on the 28 March at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, after which they will be travelling to Durban, performing at University of Kwa-Zulu Natal on 1 April (6pm). From there the Ensemble head to Mozambique for a performance in Maputo 2 April (7pm) at the Centro Cultural Franco Mocambicano (CCFM) and complete the tour at the Wits Great Hall, Johannesburg on 4 April (8pm).
Mombelli recorded the deeply personal Stories in September 2013 in Basel Switzerland Pezzotti, Mears, and Terzic, who he had been playing with as part of a quartet in Europe. To this mix Mombelli introduced Khoza. Stories was recorded, in studio, using 1940s vintage microphones and was mastered on reel- to-reel tape machines. The album has been described as Mombelli’s most personally revealing album. Comprised of narratives about the people who have meant the most in his life; his wife, children and music teachers it became a tribute to them.
Described by The Jazz Times in the USA as “Disconcertingly beautiful”, this eclectic ensemble unites each musician’s diverse talent and musical background in emotionally charged improvised chamber music both acoustic and electronic.
Carlo Mombelli: composer/bassist
The South African composer/bassist has recorded and performed at many international festivals, including the Rome Villa Celimontana Jazz Festival, the Stockholm Jazz Festival, and the On the edge of Wrong festival in Norway, to name a few. He worked for two years with the Paris based company Lutherie Urbaine on community projects, building instruments out of recycled material. In South Africa he can be heard as a bassist on many recordings including Marcus Wyatt, Simphiwe Dana, Sibongile Khumalo and Miriam Makeba. As a producer he worked on the Shane Cooper album Oscillation that won the jazz album of the year at the 2014 SAMA awards.
He has received many composition commissions and several ballets have been choreographed to his music. In 2013 he was commissioned to write piece for the Grammy award-winning New York String Quartet Ethel. He has been nominated three times for a SAMA (South African Music Awards) for his recordings. He currently teaches at Wits University, Johannesburg, where he received his doctorate in composition in 2009.
Mbuso Khoza: voice
Mbuso Khoza, a vocalist and songwriter had his music training when he was a herdsman for his father’s cattle in the KwaZulu-Natal mountains. He also learnt the spiritual ancestral music and listened to the songs of the Zionists at night. His first bed in Johannesburg was on the streets. Job-hunting at recording studios, he finally built up a reputation for himself as a top back-up vocalist, until he was finally able to record his first solo album, Zilindile (2012).
Khoza is now an established performer working with his own group and the likes of Themba Mkhize and Nduduzo Makhathini.
Dejan Terzic: drums
Born 1970 in Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Terzic is a German drummer in the Modern Creative Jazz style. From 1990 he studied at the Nuremberg Conservatory and with Bill Elgart at the University of Wuerzburg, as well as in New York with Marvin Smitty Smith, Bill Stewart and Duduka da Fonseca and at the Vermont Jazz Center.
Between 1992 and 1996 he was a member of the Dusko Goykovich Quintet. In the late 1990s he was a member of the Antonio Farao trio with whom he did several recordings and international tours. From 2000, he was in the bands of Bob Berg, Franco Ambrosetti, and Enrico Rava.
He is considered one of the most sought after drummers in the international jazz scene, and has played with many international jazz greats such as Joe Lovano, Lee Konitz, Attila Zoller, George Garzone, Paolo Fresu and more. He has played worldwide on all the major international festivals, and appears on nearly 100 CDs. In his ‘Underground’ group formed in 2002 (initially with Chris Speed, Möbus and Mark Helias), he deals with Balkan folklore. Terzic, who has won the “best drummer” award on quite a few festivals, was later the winner of the 1997 Cultural Prize of the City of Nuremberg. In 2004 he received the Culture Prize from Bavaria/Germany. In 2008 Dejan accepted a Professorship at the Swiss Jazz academy in Bern, Switzerland, where he teaches drums. In 2013 he was nominated for the prestigious BMW Jazz award “Leading Drums” and in 2014 won the prestigious ECHO Jazz award in Germany.
Daniel Pezzotti: cello
Pezzotti was born in 1962 in Zurich (Switzerland) and began his musical studies at the age of five. Completing his studies 1981, he graduated “summa cum laude” from the Zurich Music Conservatory.
Since then, Pezzotti has built up a brilliant career as a soloist and as a member of various chamber music and jazz ensembles. Known as one of Europe’s most creative cellists, he has participated in many international music festivals, he has toured extensively and has been invited to perform at many renowned music “temples” such as at Carnegie Hall (New York), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Royal Festival Hall and Barbican Center (London), and the Philharmonie (Berlin and Cologne). Pezzotti has performed with Lee Konitz, Steve Swallow, Ray Anderson, Michael Formanek, Tom Harrell, Franco Ambrosetti. After meeting Brazil’s jazz genius Hermeto Pascoal in 1992, he was invited by Pascoal to play with his group on an extended tour.
Pezzotti is also featured on several recordings with the harpist Andreas Vollenweider. Pezzotti performs with the classical group “ensemble Kontraste”, and has recorded over 100 CDs. In addition, he is member of the “Zurich Opera Orchestra”, appears as solo-cellist in the baroque orchestra “La Scintilla” and teaches jazz cello at the Zurich University of Arts.
Adrean Mears: trombone
Born in Australia, he moved to Europe in 1992 and quickly established himself as one of the strongest voices on trombone on both the European and International scene. Mears’s debut CD Discoveries, on ENJA records, together with saxophonist Johannes Enders was followed by the ethno jazz trio Babamadu. The highly original release All For One, marked his emergence as a leader on the scene.
Mears’s performance and recording credits include the Vienna Art Orchestra, Kenny Wheeler, Bob Brookmeyer, McCoy Tyner`s Big Band, the NDR big band with Tim Hagans, James Morrison, Don Pullen, Eddie Palmeri, Charlie Mariano, Paquito DiRivera, Klaus Doldinger, Joey Calderazzo, Peter O`Mara, Ronnie Burrage, Peter Herboltzheimer, George Mraz, Adam Nussbaum, Don Friedman, and a recent ECM recording with Carla Bley and Steve Swallow. He is currently a Professor at the Jazz Music Academy in Basel, Switzerland, where he has been teaching for the past 14 years.
Kyle Shepard: piano
The 27-year old Capetonian pianist is regarded as one of South Africa’s most influential and accomplished Jazz musicians. Shepherd regularly performs as a solo pianist, while also leading his trio. He has released four albums to date, which has earned him three SAMA (South African Music Award) nominations. Shepherd has performed with a number of South African musicians, including the Late ZimNgqawana and Louis Moholo-Moholo. He has performed all over the world including appearances at Jazzwerkstatt Festival Bern (Switzerland), Shikiori (Japan), The Aarhus Jazz Festival (Denmark), The Cape Town International Jazz Festival (South Africa), the Tianjin International Jazz Festival (China) and L ́Onde Theatre (France).
In 2013 he performed the world premiere of Xamisa, a compositional work he was commissioned to write by Festival d’Automne à Paris, at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, Paris, France. In 2014 he did a solo piano tour of Japan that included the Tokyo Jazz Festival. In 2014 Kyle also performed at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City with Kesivan Naidoo and the Lights.
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