Top international jazz ensemble from Munich to visit Cape Town


LOCAL jazz lovers will have the rare privilege of hearing top international jazz musicians from Germany, Mongolia, Austria and the US perform the famous Charles Mingus suite The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady and other compositions in celebration of this legendary composer’s 100th birthday celebration.

Featuring music from renowned jazz bassist Mingus (1922 to 1979) – at Woordfees and beyond from October 12 to 20 – the Charles Mingus Ensemble from Munich University will also present free workshops to students at Stellenbosch University, UCT, WITS and Pretoria University, as well as local community music schools in Gugulethu and Langa. The ensemble consists of students and graduates from the Munich Academy of Music and Performing Arts which is lead by bandleader, and internationally renowned double bassist and jazz educator, Professor Martin Zenker. The group has been performing together for three years and has toured in Europe and Asia.

According to Zenker, “Forget all my other records” must be the most famous quote from Mingus about his composition The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, which will be performed in the shows. “This suite is a masterpiece written by the legendary American bass player, composer and poet,” Zenker explained. “Mingus was, among few others, one of the most important trailblazers of avant-garde jazz and a link between tradition and modernism in jazz. This work is a personal and simultaneously strong testimony of this extraordinary musician – and also testimony of the emancipation of jazz.” Zenker said.

Performing a Mingus suite is no easy task, said Zenker, not even for the most seasoned jazz performers. “The idea of bringing The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady to the stage in 2022 is a challenge for all involved. As there is no sheet music available, all of the parts had to be transcribed, orchestrated and partly rearranged.” The masterpiece  has seldom been performed since its recording, is a complex and expressive work which requires both strict discipline and great freedom from the musicians.

The ensemble will be joined by Gilson Amaral from UCT playing the Suite on alto sax.


  • 12 Oct – The Alma Café, Rosebank
  • 13 Oct  – Baxter Theatre , UCT
  • 13 Oct – Cafe Roux, Noordhoek
  • 14 Oct – Toyota SU Woordfees Concert at the Endler
  • 15 Oct – Amazink, Kyamandi
  • 16 Oct – Jazz in the Native Yards, Gugu Sthebe Amphitheatre
  • 19 Oct – The Chris Seabrooke Music Hall , Wits Braamfontein Campus East
  • 20 Oct – Musaion Hall, University of Pretoria

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For more information contact Denise Barnes on 076 116 1075 or at [email protected]

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