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Schilder, Tony (South Africa)  
Tony Schilder at the Cape Town Int Jazz Festival  © Eugene Arries

Pianist, composer and bandleader, Tony Schilder is Cape Town's Gentleman of Jazz. He is soft spoken and polite and always smartly dressed, with the same neat and stylish attitude to his work. He had a hard start in some of the clubs on the Cape Flats and shady nightspots in the old Cape Town docks area in his early days. But Tony pretty soon found his way to the best township clubs, and later to the top 5 Star hotels of southern Africa, notably the Palace Hotel in Sun City.

More recently he has made his living, as a solo pianist, but is best known as the leader of his jazz trio. The members of the Tony Schilder Trio have not varied very much over the years. Bass player Gary Kriel is perhaps the most regular member. The drummers include Monty Weber, Richard Pickett, Cecil Ricca and Ivan Bell. But the list of guest soloists, who Tony has invited on stage, reads like a who's who of Cape Jazz.

After a stimulating trip to Brazil he wrote most of the music for his debut album, Introducing Tony Schilder, which was produced by a one-time soloist in his band, Jonathan Butler. It was an instant success on the local jazz circuit when it appeared in the early 1980s. He had seen the similarity in the danceable Latin rhythms he heard in Rio and the traditional jazz sounds of the Cape. The LP was re-issued on CD with several additions and omissions, some years later as, Tony Schilder Trio

Genre: jazz
Tony was then resident bandleader at the Club Montreal in Manenberg, where a Jazz Scene was the thing to attend, at least once a week, if the budget permitted. During the week he performed music for the dancefloor and on Sunday nights his group backed artists in cabaret. Tony has always been a performer rather than a recording artist, although he contributed substantially to a Morris Goldberg LP and to a few jazz compilations.

In 2000 he made a solo recording for Jack van Poll's jazz label. Almost 20 years after his debut for Mountain Records he agreed to record for the label again. His decision to make a new album came when his son Hilton invited him into the studio to perform on Hilton's solo release. Tony decided to record a straight-ahead jazz album, launched in 2005. All but two tracks on the new release will be his compositions.

Tony Schilder is a member of the perhaps the Cape's most prolific musical family. His mother was an accomplished musician, and an inspiration to all her children. His father made a living as a musician. His brothers, Richard, Jackie, Philip and Chris are all prominent musicians, as is his son Hilton.

-Biography courtesy Mountain Records

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Mountain Records

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