Listen to the jazz pianist and composer’s trio set, recorded live at St. George’s Cathedral on September 30.[Apologies: as per the artist’s request, this audio stream is no longer available]
He may only be 23 years old, but Kyle Shepherd’s music displays a timelessness that belies his age and challenges musical dichotomies. A skilled jazz composer, bandleader and pianist, he roots his sound in unique rhythms, harmonies and melodic devices of Cape Town and South Africa. But he’s unafraid to chart new territories, teaming up with fellow young jazz guns Shane Cooper (double bass) and Jonno Sweetman (drums) to fearlessly blaze a trail through everything from full-on free jazz improv to experiments with global roots music, slam poetic and more. In Shepherd’s hands, everything from Afrikaans volksliedjies and Muslim calls to prayer, to goema grooves, the hymns of a dozen different community churches and Xhosa melodies are reworked in a sonic space that’s far beyond the original contexts but also outside of jazz as we know it. As the doyen of South African jazz scribes Gwen Ansell points out: this is music that lives in the jazz world but is never imprisoned by it.