Benjamin japther

Take us through your upcoming album titled “The evolution of an undefined”?

Basically the album is a continuation of my first album ‘Homecoming’. If that debut album was where I come from, this one speaks to who I am now. The title has to do with the fact that even though I find myself rooted in the ‘Jazz Tradition’, I have a love and understanding of all kinds of music and I’ve attempted to fuse this to create something fresh and new. I wanted to mix my love for jazz with hip hop, electronic, and rock music; reflecting the influence of popular culture on young people in the 21st century. On the album itself, there is a mixture of acoustic jazz tracks with more produced electronic and hip-hop tracks, as well as a few shout outs to artists I admire (‘Dear Mr Hodge’ & ‘Mombelli’) or stories I was touched by (Song for Ellen Pakkies).

On your upcoming album there a track titled “Identity (Feat Jitsviniger & Eden Myrrh)” tell us more that beautiful combination?

This was actually the track that sparked this whole album. I was messing around with this groove/harmony one-day and thought it would be dope to get some rhymes over the top. Since the rhythm was unconventional I could only think of one dude that could flow naturally over it. I then hit up Jitsvinger and we just took it from there. With Eden, I’ve always dug he vibe and attitude towards music and thought this would be a unique opportunity to collab on something. This collar with Eden also sparked track ‘Choice’ on the album and another song which I might release in the next few months. The track itself is about fuses my love for Jazz, Hip-Hop and Electronic music and speaks to self-expression and living your truth fearlessly.

 Artists who are part of your album?

On vocals we have Eden Myrrh on ‘Identity’ and ‘Jump intro’ as well as Thapelo Lekoane on ‘Choice’. Rapper Jitsvinger is on ‘Identity’ and ‘Song for Ellen Pakkies’. Musicians include Bokani Dyer & Kyle Shepherd on keys, Sphelelo Mazibuko & Reuben Crowie on drums, Keenan Ahrends on guitar, Marcus Wyatt on trumpet, Sisonke Xonti on tenor sax and Nhlanhla Mahlangu on alto sax.

Will your album be available at your performance venues?

Yes they will be available sold for R150.

What inspired your love for jazz?

The people/audience and how they re-act to it. 

What is your view about the South African Jazz scene?

I think there are some dope things happening at the moment. In the past 4 years there was an exodus of many musicians from across South Africa to Johannesburg. This has resulted in a kind of melting pot of music. Many of them bringing their own perspective on the South African Jazz sound by combining their upbringing and influences. This creates fish music and new ideas that is propelling the music forward every day. Even though we in a niche genre our audiences are also growing and more people can now disprove the notion that ‘jazz is for old people’.


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