London born South African singer, songwriter, pianist Estelle Kokot is touring her new solo show The Jazz Feminine in Africa in South Africa in August and September 2016.
This solo presentation has women’s month at the core and she will be featuring female songwriters and singers from Joni Mitchell to Nina Simone, Dorothy Masuka and Joni Mitchell as well her own work.
Estelle performed at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival last year with Chicago born saxophonist/composer Chico Freeman and launched an album they recently recorded in Cape Town called The Sound of You. It featured South African jazz greats, Herbie Tsoaeli on bass and Kevin Gibson on drums. Negotiations are underway for a global digital release with Sony ATV International in 2016.
She has toured South Africa several times in the past few years, appearing at The Orbit in Johannesburg five times, The State Theatre African Jazz & Music Nights, Venues in Cape Town from Kalk Bay Theatre to The Crypt and UKZN.
“Such narratives demand thoughtful phrasing and perfect diction as well as a melodious voice. On all counts Kokot delivers. She has produced the kind of album that could become addictive.”
Gwen Ansell Business Day .
Estelle will be performing on the London Jazz Festival in November 2016.
“…powerful, soulful and independent, if you want to hear a genuine innovator with a creative twist on Jazz vocals include Estelle Kokot”
London Jazz Festival 2006
Estelle recorded two singles when she was 18 with guitar legend Johnny Fourie and piano maestro Lionel Pillay. Her stage debut in 1987 with jazz super group Phambili at Kippies in Joburg caused a sensation. She went on to guest with South African World Music Stars Bayete, also appearing with SA Jazz greats Barney Rachabane and Mike Makhalemele.
“South Africa, here is a real jazz singer”
Don Albert, South Africa
1988 saw Estelle Kokot joining jazz fusion band Rush Hour and their album ‘The Perfect Way’ went on to top the chart and the band embarked on a successful tour of the club, festival and concert circuit.
“Nothing short of stunning” Bongani Hlatshwayo
In 1990 Estelle went solo and has sung at five Big band Jazz Galas at Pretoria’s State Theatre and presented her solo shows at the Windybrow and Grahamstown Arts Festivals.
Estelle moved to London at the end of 1993 and soon established herself on the live scene, performing at Pizza Express and The Vortex Jazz Clubs, Cambridge Modern Jazz Cub and Band on the Wall in Manchester. She has performed at the Cork, London and Soho Jazz festivals, as well as the Dusseldorf Jazz Rally and at theatres in Switzerland and Germany.
Estelle released two studio albums ‘Alternative Therapy’ (1999) and ‘Information’ (2006) with London based line-ups that include Mick Hutton, Alan Skidmore, Tristan Powell, Rod Youngs, Yaron Stavi and Gene Calderazzo.
“Standards and originals perfectly compatible side by side, Kokot is an excellent arranger of her own and other peoples’ material”
John Fordham, The Guardian, London
‘Where Is the Rainbow’ from her SAMA nominated album ‘Information’ (2007) featured on a popular South African TV series ‘A Place Called Home’ and South African Strictly Come Dancing winner, actor/singer Emmanuel Castis recorded one of her tracks on his CD ‘South of Nowhere’ (2008).
On top of her collaborative work as an artist, projects include mentoring up and coming singer-songwriters and composers. She also conducts workshops based on the art of song writing, jazz vocal phrasing and interpretation and teaches piano and singing privately.
‘She is the queen of nuance, understands the power of dramatic expression when sincerely delivered and crashes through the barriers of convention with disarming honesty and naughtiness, then delivers the unbelievable. Do yourself a favour. Find out where she’s performing next and catch a plane.’
Going Places – Gisele