Kyle Shepherd Trio launches double album at Wits

fineART Music
07/10/2014 08:52:29

Renowned South African pianist and composer, Kyle Shepherd, launches his new album, ‘Dream State’ in Johannesburg on Saturday, 26 July 2014.

In celebration of the 5-year Anniversary of his Trio, Kyle Shepherd, one of South Africa’s leading progressive Jazz pianists and composers of his generation, launches a brand new Double Album, entitled ‘Dream State’ with a concert at The Wits Great Hall, Wits University on Saturday, 26 July 2014, 20:30. Presented by Wits Theatre, this show is one of the highlights of the Wits 969 Festival programme.

The launch concert features Shepherd, the 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award (SBYA) winner for Jazz, on piano, together with two of South Africa’s most outstanding and in-demand musicians, namely, Shane Cooper - the 2013 SBYA recipient - on double bass and Jonno Sweetman on drums.

‘Dream State’, a 21-track double disc album of Shepherd’s original compositions, features Shepherd on piano, Shane Cooper on double bass and Jonno Sweetman on drums. The pre-eminent SA saxophonist, Buddy Wells, features on five of the tracks.

In this studio recording, the Trio, rather magnificently captures the fluidity, intensity and inventiveness of its live performances that has entranced audiences across South Africa and abroad. There is a natural synthesis and well-honed interplay that has evolved between Shepherd, Cooper and Sweetman over the years that has seen them explore the sound relationships between a variety of different music genres. “Firstly, what makes this new album different from the three albums I’ve released before - in which I’ve paid special homage to my culture and heritage as a South African and African – is that it contains compositions that I’ve written specifically with this trio in mind and taken into account our unique individual attributes and expressiveness that ultimately forms the basis of the cohesiveness of the ‘sound community’ that we’ve become and the dialogue that we share with each other during our trio performances. And secondly, with this album we are exploring the inter-relationships within the universal sound spectrum between different genres ranging from classical music, progressive rock and Jazz music through to free improvisation, and breaking down some of the artificial boundaries that exists (mostly in our minds) between the original composition structural form and space, all in the most uninhibited and imaginative way possible,” says Shepherd.

In the album's liner notes, renowned arts journalist, Percy Mabandu succinctly described the ethos of the trio in this way:

“There's a palpable connectedness they share as players, a connection that also touches attuned audiences at their live performances too. This band is on a search for more than beautiful notes. They are asking more of the music. Its corporeal and ethereal aspects are invoked into the simultaneous sound ritual. Each performance takes on the nature of a meditation and as Zim Ngqawana said, ‘the music must lead us towards ourselves’. ”

Shepherd is ecstatic about the release of this double album and equally grateful to Standard Bank for the SBYA award. “I am truly honoured and humbled to be part of a long lineage of South African artists who are recipients of this prestigious award. I’m also grateful that with this Award, Standard Bank has given me the opportunity to record all this work and release it on a double album.

‘Dream State’ which was recorded by Peter Auret at the Sumo Sound Recording Studio, mixed by Pål Svenre (Sweden) and mastered by Tim Lengfeld at TL Mastering, is the 27-year old pianist’s 4th Album. His previous critically acclaimed releases, ‘fineART’, ‘A Portrait of Home’ and South African History !X, have all garned South African Music Award nominations.

Shepherd’s career nationally and internationally has grown tremendously since the release of his debut album in 2009 with notable concert appearances, either as a solo pianist or trio, quartet and other formats at Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord and L’Onde Théâtre et Centre d’art as part of the Festival d’Automne à Paris (France), The Bird’s Eye Jazz Club (Switzerland), Jazzwerkstatt Festival Bern (Switzerland), Reformierte Dorfkirche Kleinhüningen (Switzerland), Klubschule St. Gallen (Switzerland), Der Sendesaal, (Germany), Hallenbad Kultur Am Schactweg, (Germany), Body & Soul Jazz Club (Japan), Shikiori (Japan), Kaho Gekijo Kabuki Theatre (Japan), The Aarhus Jazz Festival (Denmark), The Cape Town International Jazz Festival (South Africa), The Joy of Jazz Festival (South Africa), The Harare International Festival – HIFA (Zimbabwe),The Tianjin International Jazz Festival (China), No Black Tie (Malaysia), MICA (India), B-Flat (India) and The Gonsalves Mansion ‘Home of Jazz’ (India).

Shepherd will be performing a solo piano concert at The Tokyo Jazz Festival (Tokyo, Japan) on the 7th of September 2014 and with Kesivan &The Lights at Carnegie Hall, New York, USA on the 30th of October 2014. The Kyle Shepherd Trio is billed to play at The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival, Sandton, on the 27th September 2014.

Copies of the new CD will be on sale at the launch concert. They are expected to be on sale from major retail stores in South Africa and downloadable via all major digital platforms worldwide by the end of July / August 2014.

A Cape Town launch concert date will be announced shortly.

Launch Concert Info:
Date: Saturday, 26 July 2014
Time: 20:30
Venue: Wits Great Hall, Wits University, 1 Jan Smuts Avenue, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, South Africa
Tickets: R50 (R60 at the door)

Wits 969 Festival Website:


- Wits 969 Festival Ticket Enquiries: Catherine Pisanti, E-mail

- Wits 969 Publicity Enquiries: Buz Publicity Tel. 011 482 3467/3489, E-mail

- Artist Enquiries e.g. biography, interview requests, high resolution images:

Theo. Lawrence (fineART Music): Mobile 072 351 5204, E-mail: or via

- CD Distribution / Retail enquiries:

Sheer Sound: Richard Woodin (Label Manager) E-mail: or Tel: 011 438 7000 or Kentridge Tlale, E-mail: Account:
Theodore Lawrence
fineART Music
072 351 5204
Kyle Shepherd / fineART Music
Related Event:
Wits 969 Festival
Dates: Thursday, 19th July 2018 - Sunday, 29th July 2018
Related Venue:
University of the Witwatersrand, Braamfontein Johannesburg Gauteng South Africa