Photos by Siphiwe Mhlambi
"Compositions, playing and the consistency of Dyer’s voice and vision make Emancipate the Story one of my top albums of the year. " – Gwen Ansell, Business Day
"Bokani Dyer’s debut may come to be remembered as sparks that played a role in bringing about a sea of change in the way London and the world view jazz from Africa." - African Jazz Reviews 2014
Bokani Dyer is a leader of the new wave of contemporary young jazz artists from South Africa. A pianist and composer, his music is appreciated for its creativity and emotional depth, with “soulful notes, spiritual tones, sophisticated concepts, and simply presented notions”. His repertoire reflects both a strong sense of cultural identity as well as his philosophy of musical egalitarianism, a celebration of all music with no borders.
Dyer is a winner of multiple awards including the 2011 Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Jazz and the SAMRO Foundation’s Overseas Scholarship Competition.
Recent career highlights include playing at the extremely prestigious Musiques en Eté festival in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Safaricom festival in Kenya. Other notable performances have included: the opening of the London Jazz Festival (2015), Jazzahead in Bremen, Germany (2016), headlining the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (2015), an artistic residency at the Bird’s Eye jazz club in Basel, Switzerland (2014) and performing at the launch of the SA/Russia Seasons in Moscow & St Petersburg (2016). His sold out shows at the Vortex in London (2014) were described as “thrilling” and “superlative” (jazzwisemagazine.com).
Dyer has recorded three jazz albums under his own name. His debut album, Mirrors, was released in 2010, and provides a strong indication of the style and artistic trajectory he continues to pursue. Emancipate the Story (2011), was recorded during his time as Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year, as part of the award, and continued his musical journey, exploring the tradition and furthering the contemporary landscape of SA jazz through his compositions.
His most recent offering, World Music (2015), was received with much respect and acclaim from both the SA and international music worlds, and nominated for Best Jazz Album at the 2016 South African Music Awards.
Bokani most often plays with his Trio, including Romy Brauteseth on double bass and Sphelelo Mazibuko on drums.