Arno Carstens solo album ‘Lightening Prevails’ receives a SAMA nomination

Arno Carstens 5th solo album ‘Lightening Prevails’ received a South African Music Awards nomination in the Best Adult Contemporary Album Category earlier this month.

Other nominees in this category are:

BlackByrd – Home

Howie Combrink – Eat it While it’s Hot

Josie Field – S’bongile

Niemand – Back Again

The ceremony takes place on 21st April 2015.

Arno started working with SAMA winning producer Dan Roberts in 2013 with the intention to re-write and record an acoustically driven album to include some orchestral versions of some of his most popular career tracks.

Two months later, they emerged from studio with something completely different.

As Dan says: “Arno would come into the studio and we’d be set up for Another Universe or something and then he’d have this idea from the night before… So we’d digress and by lunchtime have a brand new song going.Arno is an artist in the real sense of the word, prolific, experimental and lyrically very strong.

‘Lightning Prevails’ boasts a seductive departure from the comfortable and familiar Arno Carstens sound. There are the same thought provoking, profound lyrics and melodies that soak into the skin, but this time the marriage of organic sound and electronic beats are made lusher, with a big brass section and the powerful backing vocals of Jamali’s Mariechan.

The album is almost entirely made up of new songs, and completely inspired by my musical history, past and present” says Carstens.

We decided to keep Bubblegum on my Boots on the album, the version we recorded worked very well with the new songs and I added two covers, which are so vastly different from the originals.

ACDC’s Highway to Hell was such a big part of my musical influence growing up and Sam and Dave’s Hold On (I’m Coming) was Dan’s idea and I love where the track took me. When I went into the studio, my intention was to make an album of old hits for the fans that come to my acoustic shows, but what fate had in mind took us all by surprise.”

Arno Carstens is also a celebrated fine artist, who paints in oils on canvas ( The album cover for ‘Lightning Prevails’ was designed using an original painting done by Arno a few years ago

HEART TOP 40 – 28 MARCH 2015

HEART TOP 40 – 28 MARCH 2015
1 Ellie Goulding Love Me Like You Do NC 1 1 (2) 4 Last Week’s #1
2 Jimmy Nevis 7764 Up 1 3 2 9 SA Top 10 #1
3 Maroon 5 Sugar Down 1 2 1 (2) 7
4 Taylor Swift Blank Space Up 1 5 3 8
5 Dionne Warwick feat. Cee-Lo Green Feels So Good Down 1 4 4 5
6 Selena Gomez The Heart Want What It Wants Up 5 11 6 4
7 Meghan Trainor Dear Future Husband Down 1 6 4 4
8 Can Skylark Timebomb Down 1 7 7 10
9 Mary J Blige Right Now Down 1 8 5 10
10 One Direction Steal My Girl Up 5 15 10 3
11 Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars Uptown Funk Up 1 12 1 (6) 17
12 Gracetown Band Kristan Wood Up 26 38 12 8 Highest Climber
13 David Guetta feat. Sam Martin Dangerous Down 3 10 6 7
14 Ed Sheeran Don’t NC 14 8 11
15 Sam Smith Like I Can Up 1 16 15 4
16 Muzart Oh Yeah Up 1 17 7 11
17 Chris Brown Time For Love Up 1 18 2 19
18 Beatenberg Beauty Like A Tightened Bow (Chris Sen Remix) Up 2 20 18 4
19 Jessie J, Nicki Minaj & Ariana Grande Bang Bang NC 19 13 11
20 Sia You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile Up 5 25 20 3
21 Nick Jonas Jealous Up 12 33 21 4
22 Ed Sheeran Runaway Down 1 21 21 3
23 Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney FourFiveSeconds Up 6 29 23 2
24 Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo Time Of Our Lives Down 1 23 5 15
25 The Weeknd Earned It Up 10 35 25 2
26 Magic! No Way No New 26 1
27 Chris Brown Add Me In Up 12 39 19 15
28 Ariana Grande & The Weeknd Love Me Harder Up 3 31 25 4
29 Boyz II Men Losing Sleep Down 1 28 28 4
30 Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne Real Love Down 6 24 6 15
31 Giorgio Moroder feat. Kylie Minogue Right Here, Right Now Down 5 26 26 4
32 Natalie La Rose feat. Jerimih Somebody New 32 1
33 Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud Down 24 9 1 (3) 10 Biggest Faller
34 Taylor Swift Shake It Off Down 7 27 10 13
35 James Newton Howard feat. Jennifer Lawrence The Hanging Tree Down 5 30 24 4
36 Mi Casa Your Body Down 23 13 3 19
37 Ella Henderson Rockets Down 5 32 2 20 Joint Longest Running Song
38 Sam Smith Restart Down 4 34 7 17
39 Meghan Trainor Lips Are Movin’ Down 3 36 3 20 Joint Longest Running Song
40 Duke Dumont feat. Jax Jones I Got U Down 18 22 13 14

Crusaders team to play the Bulls with Carter and McCaw in team

Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder has named his side to face the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria this Sunday morning at 6:10am (NZT). It includes five changes to the starting line-up that beat the Cheetahs in Christchurch last weekend.

There are two rotations in the front row, with prop Joe Moody and hooker Ben Funnell taking the starting spots this week in place of Wyatt Crockett and Codie Taylor who are both on the bench.

Richie McCaw returns to play this week at 7, while Matt Todd will provide loose forward cover from the bench.

Dan Carter will also play in his traditional number 10 jersey, which sees Tom Taylor move into second five and Colin Slade preparing to make an impact from the reserves.

Crusaders team to play the Bulls:

1 Joe Moody RESERVES
2 Ben Funnell 16 Codie Taylor
3 Owen Franks 17 Wyatt Crockett
4 Luke Romano 18 Nepo Laulala
5 Sam Whitelock 19 Jimmy Tupou
6 Jordan Taufua 20 Matt Todd
7 Richie McCaw 21 Mitchell Drummond
8 Kieran Read (c) 22 Colin Slade
9 Andy Ellis 23 David Havili
10 Dan Carter
11 Nemani Nadolo
12 Tom Taylor
13 Ryan Crotty
14 Kieron Fonotia
15 Israel Dagg

The Sharks will have a new captain on Saturday

The Sharks will have a new captain on Saturday

The Sharks will have a new captain on Saturday for the visit from the Force following the departure from the squad of Bismarck du Plessis (unceremoniously), and Patrick Lambie (enjoying overdue leave arranged for him by the South African Rugby Union, and also because his growing groin strain demands a break).

Leadership has indeed been under the spotlight at the Sharks of late, with the unassuming but quietly calm Lambie showing how it is supposed to be done and the “red mist be danmed!”Bismarck providing a less ideal model.

A captain that twice in three weeks has felt duty-bound to make public apologies for losing his cool has clearly not grasped the essence of his responsibility, and when a four-week ban adds serious consequences to the eruptions, the coach is left wondering how much longer the team can absorb the fall-out. Especially when his diminutive flyhalf shows immense stature and composure in taking over the captaincy and steering a 13-man team home against a Chiefs side that won the title in 2012 and 2013.

But Lambie will quite rightly have his feet up this weekend and Bismarck no doubt has headed for the family’s Free State farm for some introspection on the veld. He will probably be joined there by his brother, another captaincy contender, but Jannie is injured.

Gold’s contenders for the captaincy, with it being a short-term job given that Lambie will return to lead the side in next week’s home game against the Crusaders, amounts to senior players in Ryan Kankowski, Marco Wentzel and stand-in flyhalf Francois Steyn.

The latter leads from the front, is hugely experienced and is not short of battle lust – but then the same can be said for Bismarck, and Steyn himself has twice been carded in three games.

Hot-headed Steyn and red-misted Du Plessis shared an unexpected shower half an hour into the Sharks’ game against the Chiefs … Steyn was later exonerated by a SANZAR judicial hearing for a tackle accusation but, given his short fuse and the fact that he is being moved to a new position, flyhalf, it might not be prudent to encumber him with the responsibility of leading the team.

Wentzel is probably the man for the job. Springbok fans with selectively dim memories of Rudolf Straeuli’s troubled tenure in the early 2000s, might have forgotten that Wentzel was one of Straeuli’s notorious run of one-Bok wonders. Straeuli, having tried everything including forcing the Boks to stand naked in a freezing dam and at gun point to sing “hey diddle, the cat had a fiddle,” then turned his shot gun on the stars and, with eyes closed, implored Danie Craven to drop a Frik du Preez or two out of the star-spangled sky.

With respect to Wentzel, who got his shot under Straeuli in 2002, he has gone on to become a respected ambassador for the South African game, playing more than 10 years in Europe for various Italian and English clubs.

He is exceptional at running the lineout, in the way of Victor Matfield, and with the 35-year-old now having taken over this role from the injured Pieter-Steph du Toit, coach Gary Gold might not want to deflect his focus from this crucial job by giving him the captaincy.

A better bet, given that this is a one-off job, is look to a player such as Kankowski, who has a fairly uncluttered role at No 8. He has played 101 matches at Super Rugby level, is in good form, does not have an undisciplined bone in his body, and will relish the responsibility given to him.

By Martin Myers

HEART 104.9FM SA TOP 10 – 19 March 2015 -RJ BENJAMIN AND ZYON AT 3

RJ Benjamin at Heart 104.9fm talking about the new Single with Zyon -New album coming out on 5 /5/2015

SA TOP 10 – 19 March 2015
1 Jimmy Nevis 7764 Up 2 3 1 (2 & 1) 8 Highest Climber
2 Can Skylark Timebomb Down 1 1 1 (2 & 1) 9 Last Week’s #1
3 RJ Benjamin Only Ever Loved You Down 1 2 2 6
4 Beatenberg Beauty Like A Tightened Bow (Chris Sen Remix) Up 1 5 4 3
5 Tellaman feat. Lastee Intoxicated New 5 1
6 Donald Your Joy NC 6 6 5
7 Tellaman feat. OK Malum Koolkat Drinks And Music Down 3 4 3 10 Biggest Faller
8 Muzart Oh Yeah Down 1 7 1 (4) 13 Longest Running Song
9 Mariechan Live My Life NC 9 9 2
10 Can Skylark Ain’t No Doubt (Diggy Bongz Remix) Down 2 8 5 6
Mi Casa Your Body 10 1 (3) 17

HEART TOP 40 – 21 MARCH 2015

HEART TOP 40 – 21 MARCH 2015
1 Ellie Goulding Love Me Like You Do Up 1 2 1 3
2 Maroon 5 Sugar Down 1 1 1 (2) 6 Last Week’s #1
3 Jimmy Nevis 7764 Up 4 7 2 8 SA Top 10 #1
4 Dionne Warwick feat. Cee-Lo Green Feels So Good Up 9 13 4 4
5 Taylor Swift Blank Space Down 2 3 3 7
6 Meghan Trainor Dear Future Husband Down 2 4 4 3
7 Can Skylark Timebomb Up 4 11 7 9
8 Mary J Blige Right Now Down 3 5 5 9
9 Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud Down 3 6 1 (3) 9
10 David Guetta feat. Sam Martin Dangerous Down 2 8 6 6
11 Selena Gomez The Heart Want What It Wants Up 5 16 16 3
12 Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars Uptown Funk Down 3 9 1 (6) 16
13 Mi Casa Your Body Down 3 10 3 18
14 Ed Sheeran Don’t Down 2 12 8 10
15 One Direction Steal My Girl NC 15 15 2
16 Sam Smith Like I Can Up 10 26 16 3 Joint Highest Climber
17 Muzart Oh Yeah NC 17 7 10
18 Chris Brown Time For Love NC 18 2 18
19 Jessie J, Nicki Minaj & Ariana Grande Bang Bang Up 10 29 13 10 Joint Highest Climber
20 Beatenberg Beauty Like A Tightened Bow (Chris Sen Remix) Down 1 19 19 3
21 Ed Sheeran Runaway Up 9 30 21 2
22 Duke Dumont feat. Jax Jones I Got U Down 2 20 13 13
23 Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo Time Of Our Lives Down 2 21 5 14
24 Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne Real Love Down 10 14 6 14
25 Sia You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile Up 9 34 25 2
26 Giorgio Moroder feat. Kylie Minogue Right Here, Right Now Up 9 35 26 3
27 Taylor Swift Shake It Off Down 5 22 10 12
28 Boyz II Men Losing Sleep Up 3 31 28 3
29 Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney FourFiveSeconds New 29 1
30 James Newton Howard feat. Jennifer Lawrence The Hanging Tree Down 6 24 24 3
31 Ariana Grande & The Weeknd Love Me Harder Down 6 25 25 3
32 Ella Henderson Rockets Down 5 27 2 19 Joint Longest Running Song
33 Nick Jonas Jealous Up 3 36 25 3
34 Sam Smith Restart Down 6 28 7 16
35 The Weeknd Earned It New 35 1
36 Meghan Trainor Lips Are Movin’ Down 13 23 3 19 Joint Longest Running Song & Biggest Faller
37 Olly Murs feat. Travie McCoy Wrapped Up Down 5 32 14 15
38 Gracetown Band Kristan Wood Down 5 33 20 7
39 Chris Brown Add Me In Down 2 37 19 14
40 Tellaman feat. OK Malum Koolkat Drinks And Music Down 2 38 18 8

Cape Town becomes new SA home of World Sevens Series for next 4 years

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) announced on Friday that the SA leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series would be moving to Cape Town for four years from December.

The Cape Town Sevens will join a host of new and iconic venues on the Series circuit – which has already added Sydney and Vancouver to its schedule – with the full line-up of host cities and dates to be confirmed by World Rugby (formerly the IRB) in due course.

The Cape Town Sevens will be played at the Cape Town Stadium following an agreement between SARU and the City Council. The Western Province Rugby Union was kept informed of the discussions by SARU and has pledged their support.

“World Rugby wanted global iconic destinations to showcase the new Olympic sport of Rugby Sevens and a world-class stadium, in a world-class city in the shadow of a World Heritage site in Table Mountain provides exactly that,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU.

SARU CEO Jurie Roux and City of Cape Town Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille Pic: Ashley Vlotman

“We enjoyed our stay in George and more recently in Port Elizabeth where we were able to grow the event with the help of the Municipality and the support of the Eastern Province Rugby Union and Eastern Cape fans and we thank them for that. But as the World Sevens Series has grown – and with it the requirements and the expectations – so we needed to go to the next level and Cape Town allows us to do that.

“Cape Town is sports-mad and their crowds frequently top the attendance charts in SA and it is a rugby city. The Fan Walk to the stadium and the proximity of entertainment areas such as the V&A Waterfront are an added bonus and will capture and amplify the unique vibe of Sevens Rugby. It also has the added advantage from World Rugby’s perspective of numerous direct international flights and significant hotel capacity, which will ease some of the logistical issues.”

World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “With excitement increasing ahead of Rio 2016, the World Rugby Sevens Series is going from strength to strength, proving a hit with fans, broadcasters and sponsors around the globe with its winning blend of compelling and competitive action, global destinations and festival atmosphere.

“The South Africa Sevens has been at the heart of the success story and we are delighted to be extending our partnership with SARU as a Series host. We have enjoyed 13 successful years at Port Elizabeth (four) and George (nine) and the move to Cape Town reflects the ever-increasing interest and success of Sevens in South Africa.

“Cape Town is one of the world’s iconic cities – a major tourism and sporting destination that has proven to be an exceptional and warm host. Its inclusion within a stellar World Rugby Sevens Series schedule is exciting for fans around the world.

“I am confident that the South Africa Sevens in Cape Town will inspire new audiences and participants and contribute to the continued strong growth of rugby in South Africa and around the world.

“The confirmation of Cape Town as World Rugby’s preferred destination was completed following SARU’s entering into an arrangement with the City of Cape Town over the use of the Cape Town Stadium as the home of SA Sevens,” said Lapasset.

“We are very excited that, as from December, Cape Town will be hosting the South African leg of the World Sevens Series for the next four years. Sporting events play a major role in our vision of becoming the events capital of Africa,” said the Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille.

“We are therefore especially honoured to be the new hosts of this event, and I would like to thank the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and World Rugby for giving us this opportunity.”

The Executive Mayor added: “The Cape Town Stadium has become a beacon of inclusivity within our city, and it is only fitting that this iconic venue play host to an event that unites people from across the world through their love of sport. Now, people will be coming to the Cape Town Stadium to share in their love for rugby as well.”

The Blitzboks and 15 other international teams will contest the SA tournament, whose title has been won by South Africa in the past two seasons.

December’s tournament in Port Elizabeth attracted a crowd of 63 000 over the two days of competition with that figure expected to be topped at the 55 000-capacity Cape Town stadium.

South Africa lead the current standings on the World Series with 93 points from New Zealand (88) and Fiji (86). The next tournament kicks off a week today in Hong Kong.

Mark Andrews talks about Pieter-Steph du Toit

As a young player cutting it at the Sharks, Mark Andrews was quickly put in his place by coach Ian McIntosh. Andrews, an Under-20 player from East London, had been spotted playing touch rugby on vacation in Durban and before long was in the Natal squad.

“Master,” Mac soon said to him, “Don’t let me catch you in the wings waiting for your shot at glory. Let’s get this straight – you are a lock. You take your ball in the lineouts, you take the opposition’s ball, you tackle your backside off, you shove your prop forward, and then you spend all afternoon hitting rucks. You are not here to look good, your job is to make others look good. Are we clear?”

Andrews clearly got the message and grew into a Springbok legend revered for his uncompromising approach to second row. When he retired after 77 Tests, one of his old rivals, All Black Ian Jones said: “I can only tell him now that he is retired that I hated playing against him – he was the epitome of THE Springbok forward. On a Sunday after I had played the Boks, I knew I had played against Mark Andrews.”

Praise does not come much higher, and that is why the rugby world should prick up its ears and take note when the usually reticent Andrews is stung into praise of one of his own.

“When I heard the news that Pieter-Steph du Toit was out of the World Cup, I reckoned the Boks’ chances of winning had dropped by at least five percent. He is that good,” Andrews said. “Am I pleased to hear that he is only out for three months and will make it to England? You bet, because he is the best lock in South Africa and has the potential to become one of the greatest locks of all time. I don’t want to stroke his ego, but I really mean it. He is in a class of his own.”

Andrews has remained a hugely interested and meticulous student of the game since his retirement in 2001 after 77 Tests. He admits that he is not far being obsessed with observing second-row play.

“I love rugby, I love the Springboks and the Sharks. It is impossible for me to watch a game without making mental notes of how the locks are playing,” the 43-year-old says. “I have my own little ‘14 point’ system I use to tick off the contribution a lock makes to the game, with half of those boxes being about when the player’s team does not have the ball.”

Andrews’ private system covers everything from the obvious such as taking your own lineout ball, receiving of kick-offs, scrum effectiveness, work rate in hitting rucks, and defence, which is broken down into taking tackles and getting into position to make tackles, with their being an obvious and significant difference.

“In short, most good locks tick the boxes I have for when their team is in possession, but the better locks are the ones that can contribute beyond what is expected,” he says. “In other words, they are the ones that win not only win their ball but some of that of the opposition, and they win or disrupt kick-offs. They make offensive tackles instead of just sliding off the player that run at them. They make big hits. They read play and get into position to make a contribution.”

Andrews says Du Toit is the only player he knows to tick all seven boxes on both sides of the dividing line.

“He is the best lock in South Africa,” Andrews reckons. “If a Martian had to come down to earth and take an interest in rugby, and I showed him the statistics regarding second row play, he would say ‘Victor who?

by Mike Greenaway

Carlo Mombelli & The Stories Ensemble tour to CT ,Durban ,Maputo and Johannesburg

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.

For Interview requests and access to high resolution pictures contact JT Communication Solutions on media or 011 788 7632

Mike Porcaro, the longtime bass player for Grammy-winning rock band Toto, died early Sunday morning at 59

Mike Porcaro, the longtime bass player for Grammy-winning rock band Toto, died early Sunday morning at 59 following a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

Steve Porcaro, Toto’s keyboardist and Porcaro’s brother, confirmed the news on Facebook, writing, “Our brother Mike passed away peacefully in his sleep at 12:04 AM last night at home surrounded by his family. Rest in peace, my brother.”

“My brother Mike Porcaro is now at peace,” added Toto guitarist Steve Lukather on Twitter. “I will miss him more than I could ever put into words. My deepest love to the family. God Bless.”

Porcaro became an official member of Toto following the departure of the band’s original bass player David Hungate around the time of Toto’s hugely successful 1982 album Toto IV, joining his brothers Steve and late drummer Jeff. As bassist, Porcaro appeared on such albums as Isolation (1984), Fahrenheit (1986), Mindfields (1998) andThrough the Looking Glass (2002).

In the mid-2000s, Porcaro stopped touring with the band due to his declining health and handed the bass reins to Leland Sklar in 2007. He was inducted alongside his band into the Musician’s Hall of Fame in 2009. Following a hiatus, Toto announced in 2010 that it would tour to raise money for Porcaro as well as awareness about ALS.

In an interview with the website Something Else! in 2012, Toto keyboardist David Paich spoke about Porcaro’s condition at the time. “He’s been going downhill for the last three years here, because it’s a very slow, degenerative process. But, again, Mike mentally is fantastic and if you talk to him, his spirits are up and he’s great and like the old Mike Porcaro, except that he’s disabled, he’s in a wheelchair and can’t move; can’t walk and can’t play which is a heartbreaking drag.”

Formed in 1978 in Los Angeles, Toto is best known for such classic rock hits as “Hold the Line,” “Rosanna” and “Africa” and won an Album of the Year Grammy for 1982’s Toto IV. Toto’s new record, Toto XIV, is due out on March 24, with the band embarking on a European tour starting in May 2015

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