The Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival has become one of the most significant jazz development programmes in the country, annually bringing together over 300 students and 40 teachers from diverse backgrounds all over South Africa, with nearly 90 professional jazz musicians and educators. The festival lasts nearly a week, incorporating innovative jazz performance, rehearsals, workshops, lectures, networking and an opportunity for South Africa’s future jazz stars to interact personally and musically with their peers and the country’s top performers.

The SBNYJF has hosted most of South Africa’s leading jazz musicians over the past 16 years, as well as musicians and teachers from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Mexico, Mozambique, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, the US and Zimbabwe.

The top jazz students in South Africa audition for places in the Standard Bank National Schools Big Band and the National Youth Jazz Band (NYJB) and these national bands are conducted by some of South Africa’s leading jazz educators and performers. The NYJB performs regularly at major festivals around South Africa – Grahamstown, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban – and has performed in New York, Sweden and the North Sea Jazz Festival, The Netherlands.

The philosophy of the SBNYJF is to promote the development of jazz in South African by providing vibrant, excellent educational opportunities for young players; by encouraging artistic integrity and creativity on the world-class Main Jazz Stage; by acknowledging our country’s jazz heritage; by creating a forum for South African musicians to network with peers from around the country and the world; and by providing audiences with unique, quality jazz.

NYJF 2017 | 03JUL-08JUL

LCCM Collaboration

The NYJF is hosting UK saxophonist, Dave O’Higgins, a representative from the London Centre of Contemporary Music. Dave started working as a drummer aged 11 backing cabaret acts at the Derby Engineers’ Club and doing weekend function gigs, before starting saxophone at age 15. He studied music at City University London and has worked with Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Wayne Shorter, Joey Calderazzo, Joe Locke, Billy Childs, Eddie Gomez, Annie Lennox, Peter Gabriel, Pet Shop Boys and Jamie Cullum. Along with his own projects he has also performed with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, the BBC Big Band, and Ronnie Scott’s All-Stars. In 1990 he acted and performed as a busker in “The Return of Mr Bean” with Rowan Atkinson. He has over 16 records to his own name, as well as numerous others as a sideman, and has had an illustrious career as a jazz educator. He is now sax lecturer at the London Centre of Contemporary Music.

Dave O Higgins 1



Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival, Grahamstown runs from 29 June – 5 July.
Download the SB NYJF Programme.

Standard Bank Jazz Festival, Grahamstown runs from 30 June – 9 July.
Download the SB Jazz Festival Programme.
Download the SB Jazz Festival Grid.


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Festival Director

Alan Webster

Festival Manager

Donné Dowlman

Production Manager

Matthew Boon



29 June – 5 July 2016