There’s a new jazz sound in the Kaap and it’s a blast from the distant past.
The band Top Dog SA recently released their debut album, Griqua DNA, with a brand new beat, which they call Khoi Jazz.
Three years ago keyboardist Camillo Lombard, saxophonist Don Vino Prins, bass player Charlton Daniels, guitarist Mark Williams and Mornay Hofmeester on drums performed at the Tevin Campbell concert in Johannesburg.
On the flight back to Cape Town, the idea to start a new band was born.
Camillo says: “We started experimenting in the studio and we did the American genres, but we could all feel it wasn’t us.”
They were then inspired by arguably one of the Cape Flats’ greatest musical exports.
Camillo explains: “We stopped, left the studio and we were on tour with Jonathan Butler and we found our identity. Because no matter where Jonathan Butler went in the world, he sounds like he’s from Cape Town when he gets on stage.”
The piano man says they started digging deep into their roots and started writing and composing “Khoi Jazz” songs.
“By definition jazz is improvised music and the Khoi part for us is the home part being part of the soil that is,” Camillo adds.
He says they made their music “a very very Cape Town sound, enriched it with jazz and cordial progressions that is truly African”.
“I know people will probably picture a few guys running around in velletjies or even a ghoema jazz, but it’s way more than that,” he says.
On the 10-track CD, one song Khaya features Butler on guitars and there is another lyrical track with vocals by Candice Thornton.
The band is not signed to a record company yet, and Camillo admits: “We’re literally selling [the CD] out of the boot of our cars.”
They hope to get their music played on radio sooner rather than later.
“The 90 percent [local] music strategy from the SABC is long overdue, when anything comes out of America it gets played on the radio four to five times a day,” says Camillo.
“You know, for years we’ve lost millions of Rands from the local music industry and it’s time we reap the rewards,” he adds.
You can contact the band via Facebook.