Dan Shout has been a saxophonist in Cape Town for more than 2 decades and he’s only 32! From playing in the National Youth Orchestra, earning a master’s degree in jazz from UCT, 7 years with Johnny Clegg’s band to lecturing at UCT, this is one busy South African musician.This is why he’s being featured in the next edition of Waxing Lyrical at Mercury Live. I had a chat with him to learn more about his edition of Waxing Lyrical:
BCTC: You’re inviting many friends from different genres to play at your edition of Waxing Lyrical. Who are these friends and what are their genres?
DS: Being a session saxophonist is great because you get to play with so many wonderful musicians in different genres. Over the last fifteen years I’ve played Jazz, Funk, House, Latin, R&B, Rock, Blues and Classical. I decided to invite some of those friends. One of the bands with which I first toured was Golliwog. We had a great time performing funk at Oppikoppi, The Cape Town North Sea Jazz Festival, Spashy Fenn, Up the Creek, etc. So the first two special guests are Golliwog musicians: top South African drummer Mr. Kesivan Naidoo (South African Youth Jazz Artist of the Year 2009) and Mr Farrell Adams (aka Boogieman) a great Funk and Soul singer. We’re going to take a walk down the Golliwog memory lane and bring on some funk!
In those early days we also made friends and performed as featured guests with The Rudimentals. The “Rudies” are really close friends of mine who have invited me to jam with them so many times that I really wanted to feature some of them, therefore, I have fellow horn-men, Simon Bates (sax), Jody Engelbrecht (trumpet) and Ross McDonald (trombone). I was actually at high school with Jody and Ross and at UCT Music College with Simon, so we go way back. Through those guys I met Tebos (Rudies lead singer). I love his unique style as well as his lyrics so I was stoked when he was available to join us.
BCTC: You also have some well known blues guests. Tell us about your connection there please?
DS: More recently, I have made friends with some fantastic musicians in the Blues scene in the form of Natasha Meister and Gerald Clarke. I have jammed with Natasha a few times but our attempts at getting together to perform a proper gig together have always failed, until now. Natasha rocks and I enjoyed jamming with her at the last Grahamstown Festival so she was an obvious choice for me. Funnily enough, Gerald Clarke and I have performed at many smaller events and festivals around the Cape Winelands over the years but never really met properly until we did a wedding gig together a few years ago. We had such a good time that I had also been meaning to perform with him in a setting more conducive to letting rip a bit more. I’m happy that that time has finally arrived!
BCTC: You have also included your jazz band. Who are they in particular?
DS: As excited as I am to perform with all these special guests, I am also excited to play with my regular band of Gorm Helfjord (guitar), Romy Brauteseth (bass) and Gavin Minter (percussion). They are all tasteful musicians, awesome people and have ample “chops” to handle almost any musical situation. I’m really looking forward to hearing what they come up with when they jam with all these different musicians over the evening.
BCTC: This event is “stripped down”. What are the challenges that this acoustic feel creates?
DS: Playing acoustically really isn’t a big deal for Jazz & Blues musicians as we perform as acoustically as possible most of the time, I believe. I like playing acoustically or semi-acoustically because the music sounds more life-like, it creates an intimate feel and one can hear the other musicians clearly and naturally. As an audience member, I find stripped-down or acoustic sets are a lot less complicated and it adds a nice spin to songs that one possibly already knows.
DS: I think that the main thing is to listen as carefully as possible to the other artists on stage. Music is a language, so if someone speaks Blues to me, I’m going to speak Blues with them! I may borrow a few words or phrases from another genre, but generally I just try to listen to the feel of the music – I try to get to the heart of the matter and hopefully communicate with the other artists in a supportive and creative way.
BCTC: How much improvisation will be involved?
DS: The set is going to be pre-decided, but there will be plenty of improv within the tunes and a nice jam with all the artists at the end. We have some rehearsal time, but due to the nature of these performances, there will be a lot of spontaneous improv. We all improvise conversations with other people every day – you listen and respond, all within the framework of the language that you’re speaking. The same can be said for playing live and with these musicians at the Shout Edition of Waxing Lyrical.
Catch Waxing Lyrical: SHOUT & Friends on Wednesday 9th October 2013 at Mercury Live for R30. Join the Waxing Lyrical SHOUT & Friends Facebook event for further updates. Alternatively, SHARE this post on Twitter or Facebook, let me know where in the comment section below and 2 winners will win entry to the night! 🙂