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ARTE VIVA MUSIC  |  Bänz Oester & The Rainmakers


Image: Nikki Froneman


Switzerland / South Africa / Spain  |  Afro-Euro-Jazz


The Rainmakers continue a tradition that relatively few formations claim today. We immediately think of the so-called spiritual jazz, whose heyday stretched from the mid-1960s to the middle of the following decade. They give us this ‚old religion‘, not as superstitious bigotry, but in terms of what binds us back, a precious sense of human belonging, brotherhood and sisterhood. 

Most jazz musicians today focus their research on complex and elaborate structures, be it rhythmic, harmonic or melodic. Many current productions can therefore be perceived as a demonstration of discipline and work to which body and mind can be subjected in order to achieve a result: speed, precision, control, etc. The Rainmakers‘ music breaks this trend. Of course, individual virtuosity and creativity are in the foreground (the four members of the quartet are all masters of improvisation and have a phenomenal power of expression), but this music also tells of the pursuit of freedom, revolt and rebellion against systems of control and against oppression in the world general, as well as the need for transcendence and humanity.

Through their interplay, the musicians tirelessly affirm their spiritual aspirations and their need to free themselves from all forms of constraints. In doing so they continue a tradition that relatively few formations can claim today (except perhaps in South Africa, and so the presence of Afrika Mkhize and Ayanda Sikade in the quartet is undoubtedly crucial). One immediately thinks of John Coltrane’s 4tet, but also of the other apostles of so-called spiritual jazz, whose heyday stretched from the mid-1960s to the middle of the following decade.

This music is strikingly relevant today. At a time when control algorithms are becoming more efficient and machines are reaching and even surpassing the physical and mental capabilities of humans, the offer of Bänz Oester, Javier Vercher, Afrika Mkhize and Ayanda Sikade is undoubtedly what we need most: you give us this ancient religion, not as superstitious bigotry, but as what binds us back together, a precious sense of human belonging, brotherhood and sisterhood. The musicians not only play their instrument, they ARE the instrument itself; they are the sound, fully present in the now, generating pure joy and together they create a sound that seems to influence the universe. The Rainmakers make everything bloom.

The band leader Bänz Oester and Javier Vercher (tenor sax) come from Europe, the pianist Afrika Mkhize and the drummer Ayanda Sikade are among the high-flyers from South Africa. The four of them form a sworn unit that cannot be divided by anything or anyone. In other words, we are dealing with a formation in which the individual class of all participants is not displayed in an egocentric manner, but is transformed into collective energy. Oester, who has had a long-standing fascination with the extremely rich musical culture of Africa, puts it this way: “I want to communicate with the other musicians on an equal footing. This requires a certain attitude that does not tolerate hierarchical thinking. I’m all about breaking boundaries. I don’t dictate anything to anyone – the music is developed together.“ Namely along a high-voltage line between north and south.


"Jazz at it's best - Danke!!!"
Concerto (Austria)

Jaipur (Cyril Bugnon)

Jaipur (Cyril Bugnon)
Jaipur (Cyril Bugnon)

Jaipur (Cyril Bugnon)

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Gaba (Ayanda Sikade)

Gaba (Ayanda Sikade)

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Merry Go Round (Afrika Mkhize)

Merry Go Round (Afrika Mkhize)

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Bänz Oester is one of the 2023 winners of the "Musikpreis des Kantons Bern".

Performances at top Jazz Festivals & Clubs including:

  • The Bird's Eye

  • Moods

  • The Orbit

  • National Jazz Festival (South Africa)

  • Cape Town International Jazz Festival

For full list see here.


  • Gratitude (2023)

  • Ukuzinikela (2016)

  • Playing at the Bird’s Eye (2014)


  • Belgium, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Mauritius, Mozambique, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, 


  • Quartet: Piano, Double Bass, Drums, Tenor Sax

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