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Artscape to Present Benjamin Jephta Quintet This June

Benjamin Jephta

Artscape is set to present the highly anticipated, multi-award nominee Benjamin Jephta Quintet as part of the Artscape Youth Month celebrations. Bassist and composer Jephta will lead the quintet, which features 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist Kyle Shepherd (piano), eight-time SAMA nominee Marcus Wyatt (trumpet), Sisonke Xonti (sax) and Jonno Sweetman (drums). Various guest artists will also be featured during the run.

This core quintet plays music drawing on gospel and South African influences. They have been nominated for numerous awards, including the 2016 Metro FM and South African Music Award for "Best Jazz Album". Having performed as one of the acts for the acclaimed 2016 Cape Town International Jazz Festival, the quintet is looking forward to premiering and recording some new material.

Jephta has already made a name for himself as one of South Africa's premier jazz double bass and electric bass players, having performed with the likes of Sibongile Khumalo, Hugh Masekela, Feya Faku and Jimmy Dludlu. He has has also performed with various orchestras and small ensembles in France, Sweden, Shenzhen (China) and Tanzania and released his debut album, Home Coming, earlier this year.

Shepherd, arguably one of South Africa's most progressive pianists and a leading composer of his generation, is fast gaining international recognition for his distinctive compositional style and performances. The 28-year-old, award-winning recipient the coveted UNISA National Piano Competition Award has already released five critically acclaimed albums in his young career.

Wyatt, who like his fellow musicians in the quintet also composes, has been playing the trumpet since 1983. He has performed around the globe and worked with an impressive array of musicians such as Abdullah Ibrahim, Bheki Mseleku and Miriam Makeba. He has performed at festivals and venues in South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, Germany, Taiwan and India and just released his seventh solo album One Night in the Sun.

Xonti started playing music at the age of ten but it was only when he turned thirteen that he fell in love with the saxophone. He played classical saxophone until he arrained his UNISA Grade 8 distinction in 2006 and received his introduction to jazz at the age of when he joined the Cape Town band, the Little Giants. He has since played with an array of highly acclaimed musicians such as Jimmy Dludlu, Judith Sephuma, Barney Wailer from Bob Marley and the Wailers and Freshly Ground.

Sweetman is one of the most original sounding drummers on the music scene in South Africa at present. His sound and approach has attracted attention where ever he has played. Drumming is in his blood. His father, the late Robert Sweetman, was a great drummer who played professionally in the 1960s and 1970s. Sweetman is currently a member of the amazing jazz trio Offshore, The Kyle Shepperd Group, the Tones of Note Quintet, the Hayden Gardner Band, the Jason Roelon Trio and the Jonathan Crossley Electric Band. Highlights include performing at the Cape Town Jazz Festival, at Hugh Masakela's Birthday function and for Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman.

The Benjamin Jephta Quintet will appear at the Artscape Arena from 9 - 11 June 2016. Tickets range from R90 - R120 per person and are available at Computicket outlets nationwide.

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