A Kaleidoscopic Experience in Abundant Proportions

Art , Jazz , Music

A Kaleidoscopic Experience in Abundant Proportions

As appearing in the September issue of B’Jazz magazine.

Glenn and Michelle Robertson
Glenn and Michelle Robertson

Every weekend, a cultural explosion takes place at Kaleidoscope Café on the 2nd floor of a vibrant building in Claremont, Cape Town. Nestled between pounding industrial beats from the watering hole below and the grimy sex shop next door, this joint is both a church and a jazz spot that attracts art appreciators from all walks of life. Now stop, take a second to imagine yourself a patron of those questionable establishments, carelessly stumbling up the stairs and haphazardly entering the church to your left when your actual intent was to enter the alluring and dark door to your right. Firstly, forget what you think you know about church.

Pastors Glenn & Michelle Robertson run a tight ship that acts more like an arts community centre than your average neighbourhood place of worship – many have entered and exited the venue without the foggiest notion that they had just been to “church”. Best of all, you don’t get preached to if church is not your thing. If jazz or if music is your thing for that matter, then you’ve inadvertently found yourself in the right place.

For many years now, the colourful Friday evening jazz events presented by the Glenn Robertson Jazz Band (GRJB) at Kaleidoscope Café have played host to a range of formidable names like Melanie Scholtz, the late Robbie Jansen, Ibrahim Khalil Shihab and Tucan Tucan. The GRJB comprised of Glenn Robertson (vocals/percussion), Michelle Robertson (vocals), Tony Drake (keyboard/ synthesizer), Andre Henry (bass), Fabian Frantz (drums) and Donveno Prins (saxophone) is a latin-infused powerhouse of energy. Drawing influence from Al Jarreau, Nat King Cole, Earth Wind & Fire and Jonathan Butler, Glenn always ensures an eclectic and vibey stage performance – usually expressing an insatiable affinity for calling guest artists onto the stage for an impromptu and often hilarious rendition of the jazz standard Georgia.

The Glenn Robertson Jazz Band
The Glenn Robertson Jazz Band

For a bargain R100, audience members get a truly warm and colloquial South African experience, get to listen to two bands (the GRJB and the hosted band of the evening) and receive a hearty serving of Lamb Curry to boot.

What started as a bi-monthly jazz event, fuelled by the Robertson’s mutual love for the arts as medium for social reform – a method by which the jazz centric culture at Kaleidoscope Café has expanded to include the African Musician’s Trust (a fund headed up by Glenn, aimed at empowering South African musicians as a platform for marketing, PR, events management, training, networking, medical aid and pension fund procurement) Mountain Arts Promotions (a PR and music production company) and a Saturday morning music school.

Add Glenn’s experience as founding member of the band Airborne and former lead vocalist with the Tony Schilder Trio and Michelle’s love for the arts – a ferocious visual artist in her own right, you’re met with a kaleidoscopic experience in abundant proportions.

For bookings contact 021 674 5761 or glenn@kaleidoscope.org.za

Since publishing, Kaleidoscope have since changed premises to ground floor and further down Main Road.

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