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All that jazz: Interfacing with Jonathan Butler

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Jazz superstar Jonathan Butler is an internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer.

A unique talent, his music is rich in content, joyous in emotion and fresh.

Butler is a versatile musician known for achieving chart-topping success with several accolades.

He has recorded contemporary jazz, quiet storm, smooth jazz, R&B, adult contemporary pop and gospel music. Butler can easily migrate from being a soulful jazz instrumentalist to a passionate R&B singer with a jazz guitar.

Jonathan’s style is predominantly an intense fusion of powerful vocals combined with lively and soulful musical arrangements indicative of his roots.

His ability to blend his roots in African music with Western trends is the trademark of his albums.

With a colourful career spanning four decades, Butler has 18 albums including Introducing Jonathan Butler (1985), Jonathan Butler (1987), Inspirations (1987), 7th Avenue (1988), More Than Friends (1988), Deliverance (1990), Heal Our Land (1990), Best Of Jonathan Butler (1993), Head To Head (1994), Do You Love Me?

(1997), Story Of Life (1999), The Source (2000), Surrender (2002), Ultimate Butler (2002), Worship Project (2004), Jonathan (2005), Gospel Goes Classical (2006) (with Juanita Bynum), Brand New Day (2007) and So Strong (2010).

The major influences on Butler’s early career were George Benson and Stevie Wonder. He got his first break when he was signed to Jive Records in 1977.

His first single won him a Sarie Award in South Africa.

The instrumentalist burst onto the international scene with his self-titled album in 1987, containing the cover version of the Staple Singers hit If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me) (a duet with Ruby Turner).

His 1988 album, More than Friends was a big commercial success and it scored a Grammy nomination for the pop hit Lies.

The instrumental Going Home, also earned him a Grammy nomination while the mid-tempo ballad, Sarah, Sarah, confirmed Butler’s place on the international jazz and popular music scene.

Butler’s music has an international appeal and great commercial success. He is southern Africa’s most famous artist, but resides with his family in the luxuriant hills of Southern California. At one point he had taken to drugs but was saved and has been a devoted Christian for over two decades.

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, in October 1961, Butler is the youngest of 17 children.

He began singing publicly in many of the South African townships when he was still a child. He first joined his brother Danny’s group, The Golden City Dixies, when he was seven years old and travelled with them for three years

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