Cape Town Swing Cats

Location: Based in Cape Town



The Cape Town Swing Cats are a collection of inspired jazz musicians specializing in swing-era tunes that will have your feet tapping and your booty shaking like its 1940! Group members have between them performed at the highest levels of the South African music industry (National Arts Festival, Cape Town International Jazz Festival), participated in popular bands (Grassy Spark, The Rudimentals, Nomadic Orchestra) and classical ensembles (Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra), and enjoyed licensing deals from record labels in France and Germany.

If ever there were an unlikely group of candidates for a revival of classic American and European swing, it would be just such a community on the southern tip of Africa. Perhaps it is South Africa’s historic jazz heritage having produced the likes of Hugh Masekhela, Miriam Makeba and Abdullah Ibrahim that has led to the formation of The Cape Town Swing Cats. What is it about Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, the Lindy Hop, Charleston and the Blues that simply defies extinction? The answer, put simply? “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!”

Gareth Harvey is a multi-instrumentalist (saxophones, clarinet, trombone) who has performed with The Johnny Cooper Orchestra, Crimson House, Mike Perry, Frank Paco, Hemel Besem, PRAVDA and McCoy Mrubata. Active in the 5-star hotel industry with residencies at One & Only and the Cullinan Hotel, Gareth has also led his own jazz fusion  saxophone quartet SAXIT! to the National Arts Festival and Joy of Jazz festival in Johannesburg. He currently teaches woodwinds at the Jazz Workshop school of Music.

Trombonist Matt Willis has played on local and international stages as both as resident band member and session musician. His jazz background has brought him into ensembles alongside Brian Thusi and the SA National Youth Jazz Band, Jannie van Tonder's Biggish Band. Along with time spent performing around Alaska and New Orleans with cruise liner show bands, he has also kept active locally with ska and punk bands Captain Stu, The Rudimentals, Hog Hoggidy Hog and Grassy Spark.

Before even completing his studies, UCT Jazz Performance trumpeter Jono Prest had performed in established artists Grassy Spark, Nomadic Orchestra, Mathew Gold, Al Bairre, Marc de Kock and with the UCT and Edujazz Big Bands. He currently performs and teaches around Cape Town.

Passion, versatility, positivity and enthusiasm. These are some of the attributes we’ve come to expect from all-round performer John Bartmann, whose energetic work as a guitarist and band member over the past 15 years has often left audiences (and bandmates) smiling and roaring for more. Equally happy performing in large groups as a front or sideman, Bartmann’s mysteriously abundant energy for all things musical is enchanting.

Double Bassist and tenor Jacques Louw began his career at the Drakensberg Boys Choir. He received his BMus in Classical Performance from the University of Stellenbosch, and is a former member of the the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. He occasionally performs with jazz and other bands in Cape Town.

Drawing on the giants of swing: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington,Count Basie, Benny Goodman as well as inspiration from the South African swing bands of the time like the Manhattan Brothers, the energy is undeniable, matched only by the dancing it inspires.

Noteworthy Performances

  • Mother City Hop (with visiting international instructors)
  • Taj Hotel (5-Star) - residency

Photo Gallery

Sound Clips


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Budget Range for Cape Town Swing Cats is

R8000 - R30000


Submit a booking enquiry directly with Cape Town Swing Cats, and the Artist or their manager / representative will be in touch with you soon!


Should you be unsure about which acts to enquire with, you can choose to SEND GIGSTER YOUR EVENT DETAILS and we will forward your enquiry to up to 5 suitable acts.

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