Music student Luke Verrezen is one of the 13 young musos who will take to the stage at the Artscape Youth Jazz Festival on Friday.
The 19-year-old, who is in his first year at UCT’s South African College of Music, will play the bass guitar at the groovy fusion of vocals, drums, trumpets, sax and more on the eve of Youth Day.
The concert has focused solely on South African jazz for three years running, and this is Luke’s first time at the event.
He grew up in Somerset West and, with a piano in his home, was exposed to music from a young age.
In primary school, he played the piano and cello and went on to learn more instruments, including the electric and bass guitars, while at high school.
He says his music teachers, Jackie Dednum and Duncan Combe, fuelled his passion for music, and it was while playing bass guitar in the High School Big Band at the Grahamstown Jazz Festival last year that he fell in love with jazz.
Luke was encouraged to audition for this year’s Youth Jazz Festival by singer Amanda Tiffin, the festival’s musical director. Ms Tiffin coordinates the festival and books and mentors the young performers in consultation with Artscape.
“He has been super keen and really on the ball with everything, willing to learn and try things and he has been really enthusiastic,” she says of Luke.
Luke and fellow bass player, Clayton Pretorius, have been working with bass mentor Wesley Rustin for six weeks in preparation for the festival.
Wesley says he hopes he can teach the young musos techniques that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
“I love being on stage,” says Luke. “It is the greatest feeling: you just get this rush standing in front of an audience.”