NOTICE: The Orbit is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 5:30 pm to 1:30 am. Generally performances start at 8 or 8.30pm from Tuesday to Saturday at 6pm & on Sundays (unless indicated otherwise).

Science & Cocktails with Jazz
Live at The Orbit!
(Scientific presentation followed by SA Jazz)

Tuesday 27th of September 2016 – 20 h 00 – R 20

Fire as a living process – Merging physics and biology to understand global patterns of fire.

How did fire “co-evolve” with plants? Can we predict future fire regimes on planet Earth? Do earthquakes, epidemics and forest fires have anything in common?

What makes fires go out, and why is this an important question? How simple can a model be to be useful?

Fire has enthralled people for centuries. Today wildfires remain difficult to predict and understand, but are important to us because of impacts on livelihoods, the atmosphere and our environment. Combustion is a chemical process, but plants provide the fuel. Thus patterns of fire are influenced by the biology of ecosystems and have changed dramatically over millions of years of plant evolution.

Despite this, we are beginning to recognise and understand fundamental physical controls of fire related to how fires move through landscapes. Surprisingly, this shows that fires can behave in ways similar to earthquakes, landslides, and epidemics. However, this theoretical knowledge can sometimes seem quite distant from real-world problems relating to fire.

In this session of Science & Cocktails Johannesburg, Sally Archibald will discuss how this new understanding can help us manage fires in different ecosystems and how global models of the earth system that better represent fire, help us to have a better understanding of the types of futures we may have in our biological world.

Afterwards, fiery cocktails at the bar while we move through a range of musical landscapes to the sounds of the Siphephelo Ndlovu Project. The music of the recently-launched Siphephelo Ndlovu Project is a conglomerate of the Jazz, Gospel and uMbaqanga genres. These are the main genres which gifted musician Siphephelo Ndlovu grew up listening to and which have influenced not only his playing, but his interpretation and language of music. The band line up is: Siphephelo Ndlovu (piano), Mihi Matshingana (vocals), Tal Gordan (trumpet), Godfrey Mntambo (saxophone), Emmanuel Paul (double bass), Jordan Sunnasy (drums).

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Yonela Mnana Trio & Guests
Live at The Orbit!
(Contemporary SA Jazz)

Wednesday 28th of September 2016 – 20 h 00 – R 130


The Jazz Tag trio is a reorientation and sonic manifestation of life and music making that dialogues with its genealogy, which is, in Yonela Mnana’s case, jazz. The evening of September 28, 2016, will see The Jazz Tag trio present original music released on Mnana’s debut album, ‘Baba’. The versatility to be displayed by this Jazz Tag trio, consisting of Siphiwe Shiburi on drums, Amaechi Ikechi on double and electric bass and Mnana himself on piano and vocals, will betray musical traces experienced and absorbed by a typical South African jazz pianist born a decade before the democratic dispensation in this country. Taking place at the Orbit, it will see this jazz inspired trio wind a path criss-crossing South African and African American soul, church hymns and western classical music. This trio will portray its altering interpersonal roles and dynamic impact as a unique unit–while various musical influences fuse and alter into sounds yet unheard, a characteristic most salient to jazz.

That songbird Sphamandla ‘sparkling’ Mdlalose adds a more poignant lyrical dynamic to the trio is no question. Witness her as she premiers her fresh blooming works this spring, and further some of Mnana’s tunes in a duet fashion. With suggestive harmonies provided by Soultee Harmony Group, Jazz Tag and “Spha’ hope to embark on a self-finding mission, ushering a new beginning in this ceaseless seasons of life and music making.

And expect a surprise guest on piano and vocals.

Spha Mdlalose – guest vocalist
Soultee Harmony Group – vocals
Siphiwe Shiburi– drums
Amaeshi Ikechi – Bass
Yonela Mnana – Piano

Read more about Yonela Mnana

The Rus Nerwich Quintet – A retrospective Ft. Carlo Mombelli
Live at The Orbit!
(Contemporary SA Jazz)

Thursday 29th and Friday 30th of September 2016 – 20h / 20 h 30 – R 150

South African saxophonist Rus Nerwich returns to Johannesburg later this month and will be performing at The Orbit – Home of Jazz on 29 & 30 September. Following Nerwich’s successful European and Canadian tour, these concerts, which revisit his original compositions from Mantras 4 Modern Man, see the addition of percussionist Ronan Skillen and feature Nicholas Williams on piano, Jonno Sweetman on drums and renowned artist Carlo Mombelli on bass.

A fusion of semetic melodic influences and impressionistic musical textures are brought together by rhythmic grooves – Mantras4modern man invites the listener on an aural exploration of free improvisation.

Constantly working to evolve and grow, Nerwich is currently recording a new album which will be released early 2017, with the first single Yilibaleni feat. Kanyi Mavi to be released on 23 September. Fusing diverse mediums and styles, the album is informed by both contemporary culture and a deep reverence for musical history and tradition. In the build up to the album release, Nerwich recently completed his European and Canadian tour with a series of live performances where he collaborated with artists such as Belgian singer/songwriter N8N, producer Erik Rico and Dutch MC Pete Philly.

Rus Nerwich – Saxophone
Nicholas Williams – Piano
Carlo Mombelli – Bass
Ronan Skillen – Percussion
Jonno Sweetman – Drums

Read more on his website
Read more about Rus Nerwich

Ernest Dawkins Quintet
Live at The Orbit!
(Contemporary US/SA Jazz)

Saturday 1st October 2016 – 20 h 30 – R 180

One of the life goals of Ernest Dawkins is for his music and compositions to reflect the evolving collective cultural memory of the American jazz aesthetic. Dawkins is leader of several ensembles, including the New Horizons Ensemble, Aesop Quartet, Chicago Trio, Live the Spirit Big Band, and the Chicago 12. He is also a member of the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble. Dawkins has recorded numerous CDs. His publishing company, Dawk Music, has eight releases to date.

Dawkins started his musical journey at the tender age of eight, when he learned how to play the bass and conga drums. At nineteen, he became mesmerized by the sound of the saxophone while listening to his father’s jazz recordings of Lester Young. It was not until he heard the alto sax of Guido Sinclair, however, that he knew this was the instrument he wanted to play. Within a week, he had purchased his first saxophone, clarinet, and flute. Two weeks later, Dawkins got his first lesson from members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). From there, his illustrious career in music began.
Dawkins was named ‘Chicagoan of the Year’ twice by the Chicago Tribune, most recently in 2001. Dawkins established The Englewood Jazz Festival, now in its 11th year and founded Live The Spirit Residency, a not-for-profit arts organization committed to improving access to creative and improvised music for under-served communities within the city of Chicago.
Dawkins has worked with a myriad of music greats including: Ramsey Lewis, Muhal Richard Abrams, Lester Bowie, Roscoe Mitchell, Willie Pickens, Malachi Favors, Henry Threadgill, Amina Claudine Myers, Anthony Braxton, Jack McDuff, Don Moye, Jerry Butler, and The Dells.
In the continued spirit of unity and exchange, we represent “Nabaggala” When one door shuts another one opens. The performance will be featuring original compositions by Ernest Dawkins, Feya Faku, Nduduzo Makhathini, Thuto Motsemme and Tumi Mogorosi.

Proudly Sponsored by Highland Park

Band Line up

Ernest Dawkins (US) – alto sax
Feya Faku (SA) – trumpet/flugelhorn
Nduduzo Makhathini (SA) – piano
Thuto Motsemme (SA) – bass
Tumi Mogorosi (SA) – drums

Read more on his website
Read more about Ernest Dawkins

Gary Wittner Sextet
(US / SA Contemporary Jazz)

Sunday 2nd October 2016 – 18 h 00 – R 180

This performance represents the 5th collaboration between American guitarist Gary Wittner and South African musicians McCoy Mrubata and Paul Hanmer. Mr. Wittner performed in South Africa (with Mrubata and Hanmer) in both 2006 and 2008. Additionally when McCoy Mrubata and Paul Hanmer toured the USA in 2014 and 2016 (with Uhadi), they were joined by Wittner for performances which also featured South African trumpet great Feya Faku. Tonight’s concert will feature original music by Wittner, Mrubata, Hanmer and Faku…. in an electrifying combination of South African and American Jazz styles.

Band Line up:

Gary Wittner – guitar
McCoy Mrubata – sax/flute
Paul Hanmer – piano
Feya Faku – trumpet/flugelhorn
Neville Nhlanhla Radebe – double bass
Lungile Kunene – drums

Read more on his website
Read more about Gary Wittner