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Dave Brubeck Quartet and Bill Smith at the Earshot Jazz Festival

Ahmad Jamal gives James Moody a birthday cake at the 2002 North Sea Jazz Festival-Cape Town

The North Sea Jazz Festival is typically held in July each year in the Hague, but it’s no longer merely an event on the European jazz calendar; it’s an international brand that has placed its stamp on Cape Town in South Africa over the last three years. Thousands of miles away from its birthplace in Holland, the North Sea Jazz Festival-Cape Town drew thousands of revelers to the sweltering southern tip of Africa at the end of March.

North Sea Jazz Festival-Cape Town is the largest jazz event on the continent. But if the location was remote, the talent was still off the top-shelf. The bigger names, such as Erykah Badu, James Moody, George Duke, Toots Thielemans, Ahmad Jamal, Spyro Gyra and Tower of Power, all jostled for the attention of the 22,000-strong audience who frantically scrambled to catch as much of the action from the four stages as they could.

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