In September 2009 the British Council was approached by South Africa's most prominent vocalist Sibongile Khumalo, to consider supporting her collaborative performance with highly-acclaimed British saxophonist Jason Yarde. That collaboration came to fruition at the 2010 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown on 30 June and 1 July 2010.
In addition to the Grahamstown dates, the British Council worked in partnership with Gauteng Provincial Government’s Department of Sport Recreation, Arts and Culture’s Creative Industries Directorate, to bring the collaboration to Wits University in Johannesburg for a one off performance on 8 July. The Johannesburg leg of this collaboration also saw additional musical support from the Gauteng Jazz Orchestra.
Jason has an impressive and diverse musical CV and his later work is significantly influenced by the music of South African jazz players. He has performed with the big bands of McCoy Tyner, Roy Ayers, Hermeto Pascoal and Manu Dibango, arranging and directing the latter for the Barbican Centre, and as a musical director, arranger and saxophonist, he has worked with artists and ensembles including 4hero, Bembe Segue, Britten Sinfonia, Kronos Quartet, Jonzi-D, Dennis Brown and BBC Blast. He was also commissioned to arrange the music for Hugh Masekela's first LSO concert.
Commenting on their musical collaboration, Jason said:
‘Reflections in Reverence and Remembrance is a collection of short pieces dedicated to the memory of several people who have had a profound influence on my development both as a person and a player. Although most have physically left this world, they continue to affect how and what I write and play…’
The suite was previously performed by Sibongile Khumalo in Britain to great acclaim, and is here supported by Kuki Mncube (vocal), Sifiso Khanyile (vocal), Jason Yarde (sax), Bokani Dyer (piano), Charles Lazar (bass) and Magda de Vries (marimbas, percussion).