Gateshead International Jazz Festival

Jazz Africa / Jazz Cuba Triple Bill: Richard Bona's Mandekan Cubano; Alfredo Rodriguez Trio and Shabaka and the Ancestors

Sage One

A concert that charts a jazz journey from South and West Africa to the latin jazz of Cuba – and featuring three of today’s stellar international jazz performers.

Richard Bona’s Mandekan Cubano

Richard Bona is known as “The African Sting” and is a supremely gifted bassist with an exquisite voice like no other. He explores the alchemy of African rhythms in Cuba.

Originally from Cameroon, Richard Bona arrived in New York in the mid 90s and wowed crowds with his unique sound and presence with some even hinting that was the second coming of Jaco Pastorius. His seemingly effortless voice, fierce skills on the bass, unique songwriting/arranging expertise and ability to learn just about any instrument simply from watching, position him as a rare African artist to have established an unscalable reputation on an international platform.

He has toured the world with Pat Metheny and appeared as a guest on two of Bobby McFerrin’s albums, along with numerous notable collaborations.

His latest project melds together a variety of roots music from Africa, South America and Cuba. Bona’s six-piece Cuban band includes two percussionists making this celebration ripple and soar.

“Imagine an artist with Jaco Pastorius’s virtuosity, George Benson’s vocal fluidity, Joao Gilberto’s sense of song and harmony, all mixed up with African culture. Ladies and gentlemen, we bring you Richard Bona!” Los Angeles Times

Alfredo Rodriguez Trio

Mentored by none other than Quincy Jones, the prodigiously talented young Cuban pianist is rapidly amassing international plaudits, reflected in his standout performance as a special guest on the BBC Proms tribute to Quincy Jones in August 2016, in which Richard Bona also appeared.

His expansive style combines a breath-taking technique with a tirelessly inventive imagination, and adds his own individual response to the traditions of his native Cuba. Rodriguez will play the music from his most recent album, Tocororo telling his own personal story through the legend of Cuba’s national bird – a tale of freedom, travel and cultural cross-pollination.

“Ebullient and sultry piano, intricate and irresistible rhythm.” Financial Times

Shabaka Hutchins and The Ancestors

Shabaka Hutchins, the saxophonist behind Sons of Kemet and The Comet Is Coming, as well as featuring with Melt Yourself Down and Sun Ra Arkestra, presents his new collaboration with The Ancestors.

Their debut album Wisdom of Elders (released on Gilles Peterson’s label, Brownswood) was recorded in a single day with a group of South African jazz musicians Shabaka has long admired from his numerous trips to South Africa, led by trumpeter Mandla Mlangeni.

The group draw on their South African lineage – heroes like Zim Ngqawana and Bheki Mseleku – to bring their own slant to the American jazz lineage being reconfigured in Hutchings’ compositions themselves. Going beyond the jazz greats Hutchings cites, influences are drawn from plenty of other sources: Caribbean calypso, central African song structures and Southern African Nguni music.

Shabaka has performed and recorded with Courtney Pine’s Jazz Warriors, Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics, Polar Bear and Soweto Kinch and performed with many notable musicians including Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, Louis Moholo, Evan Parker, King Sunny Ade and Orlando Julius.

“Pulsing, exploratory and vibrant.” The Guardian

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Contact Ticket Office on 0191 443 4661 for more details and to book (this offer is not available online).

Students standby tickets may become available on the day subject to availability (one per person). Valid NUS card required.

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