CV: Jannie 'Hanepoot' van Tonder

Trombonist, Teacher, Musical Director, Composer, Arranger, Drummer

Overview / Performance & Recording History / Teaching Experience


Jannie van Tonder has been performing as a trombone player since he joined an inter-school wind band in 1977 at the age of 14.

From 1982 until 1997 he made a living as a professional trombonist & drummer, performing & recording, composing, arranging & teaching across Southern Africa and Europe. He is a seasoned trombonist, having worked in many musical genres from Classical to Reggae, but with the focus on Jazz, African, Rock & other contemporary styles, having made a name as an improvising soloist. Over the last 15 years he has used computer based tools for purposes of composition and arrangement, through which became involved in database programming for the Internet, which is now his main source of income, music becoming mostly a pursuit for pleasure.

Jannie has always taken an interest in the bigger picture and has often fulfilled the role of arranger & musical director for the projects & ensembles he has been involved in. Combining this vision with his abilities as music educator he excels in getting the best out performers and students alike.

Performance & Recording History

From 1979 for 3 consecutive years he was a member of the South African Youth Orchestra. During 1980, in his last year of high school, he started a professional music career playing in the pit for musicals in Durban's Alhambra Theatre. After 1 year of study for a B. Mus degree at the University of Port Elizabeth, he held the Principal Trombone position in Johannesburg based military band of the Light Horse Regiment (widely known as the best military band in South Africa at the time with musicians like Johnnie Fourie, Denni Lalouette, Ronnie Franchiti, Johnny Boshoff, Bez Martin), as an alternative to serving National Service in the SADF.

In 1984 he started his relationship with original music when he joined The Softies, a rock band which toured South Africa and released an album An Evening with the Softies. During this period he met James Phillips and played the album of his alter ego Bernoldus Niemand, Wie is Bernoldus Niemand? During 1985 Jannie was also featured on recordings by Wasamata, a Kenyan high-life band active in Johannesburg, the Springs-based Rock & Roll band Titus Groan, as well as an album by "People's Poet" Mzwake Mbuli, Change is Pain. In 1986 he joined The African Jazz Pioneers, and toured SA and Botswana.

During 1987 Jannie played in Johannesburg, Durban and Lesotho, with the Victor Ntoni Big Band, which included some of S.A.'s top jazz musicians like Barney Rachabane, Duke Makasi and Vusi Khumalo, and was featured as soloist on the 7"-single of popular dance band Zasha which sold 75000 copies in S.A.

Then came a 2-year stint as member of the Mbaqanga-Jive band of ex-Soul Brothers saxophonist Winston Nyaunda, Winston's Jive Mixup which performed in Johannesburg, Cape Town & Durban, and recorded an album released in 1988.

During this period he was a founder member of Die Gereformeerde Blues Band, backing band of controversial Afrikaans folk singer Johannes Kerkorrel, where he made his debut as drummer. This included a 3-week run with  Johannes Kerkorrel, Nataniël, Andre LeToit & Marthinus Basson of controversial musical theatre  Piekniek by Dingaan's at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town. The Gereformeerde Blues Band recorded the seminal album Eet Kreef, and then departed on the Voëlvry Tour, a 3-month major venue tour of S.A. and Namibia during which he played drums and trombone for the GBB as well as trombone with Bernoldus Niemand en Die Swart Gevaar.

For the next 3 years he also worked nationwide as the regular drummer in the cabaret shows of Nataniël, playing drums and trombone on Nataniël's 2nd album, as well as a stint as drummer touring with Koos Kombuis end die Kakkerlakke, the band formed to promote Andre le Toit's 2nd album Niemandsland (inc. James Phillips on guitar). He assisted with horn arrangements and played trombone on The Other White Album by  James Phillips and the Cherryfaced Lurchers, and played trombone on the 2nd album of and performed with Jonathan Handley's The Radio Rats

After the Gereformeerde Blues Band disbanded in 1990, he wrote horn arrangements and played trombone on Johannes Kerkorrel's solo album, Bloudruk, wrote live horn arrangements for Lucky Dube, top international reggae artist based in Jo'burg, and did horn arrangements and recorded on solo album of Ian Herman, later of Tananas.

In 1991 Jannie travelled to Europe and settled in Amsterdam, from where he worked as trombonist in Holland, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland for the next 4 years. He performed with the well-known Sean Bergin's MOB,  a 12-piece band playing South African inspired jazz, Franky Douglas' Sunchild (a 15-piece Surinam Jazz band), The Herbie White Orchestra & De Boventoon, both 20-piece Big Bands playing original compositions, the big band of the Amsterdam Sweelinck Conservatorium, the Amstel Big Band, the Soto Koto Band of Paps Touray (well-known Mandingu vocalist from Gambia), the Delicious Monsters, a band started by South African exiles based in Amsterdam, Son Latino (Cuban Salsa band), Dingri-I (Reggae),Traffic Jam (Funk). He recorded with The Delicious Monsters, Traffic Jam, Dgyena Djibouti, and with Studio Yens & Yens created & performed the soundtrack for Pieter de Ruyter's dance production based on the fable of The Ugly Duckling, De Zilveren Zwaan, which premiered at the Meervaart in Amsterdam in March 1993, in which the trombone played the role of the Swan.

In Dec 1992 he became full-time member of top Dutch soul act The Bob Color, and proceeded to play just short of 300 concerts over the next 2 years in Holland, Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland, including some of the biggest festivals in Europe, and featured on the The Bob Color's albums Extra Fresh and Live at Paradiso. While on a visit to S.A. in January 1994, wrote brass arrangements for and played on Vusi Mahlasela's 2nd album, Wisdom of Forgiveness, forming a horn section together with the late Ntemi Piliso (of the African Jazz Pioneers) & Bruce Cassidy.

In late 1994 he returned to SA and settled in Cape Town where he joined The Blues Broers, touring SA and featuring on their album Sharp Street. He directed and arranged music for The Breakfast Brothers, a 4-piece horn section which recorded Been Around with the Blues Broers, performed regularly with the UCT Big Band including at the Cape Town City Hall in concert with Abdullah Ibrahim, recorded with Ezra Ngukana & Stompie Manana on Zim Nqawana's debut album, and performed and recorded with Boereqanga with the late Basil Coetzee and Nico Carstens. He featured on Jimmy Dludlu's first album, wrote arrangements for & recorded on Vusi Mahlasela's 3rd album Silang Mabele (whcih won Album of the Year award at the 1998 SAMA awards) and performed in Cape Town & Namibia with Tina Schouw,Nico Carstens, as well as featuring on Tina Schouw's debut cd "Bleed".

in 2001 he started Jazz Workshop Biggish Band, now known as The Hanepoot Big Band, which plays original compositions and his arrangements of South African music. During 2003 he performed with the District 6 Band, a group connected to the District 6 Museum in Cape Town, toegether with Wille Jales, Robert Sithole, Hilton Schilder, Mac McKenzie, and performed on and wrote brass arrangements for Robin Auld's cd "Luxury". He also performs regularly with Nick le Roux's original jazz group Reënboog (with Errol Dyers, Eddie Jooste, Mark Fransman, Clement Benny and Lee Thomson), as well as with the Errol Dyers Band, playing Errol's compositions.

Teaching Experience

Jannie started giving private music lessons while a student at University of Port Elizabeth during 1981, and has continued to do so ever since. He has also been a regular teacher/lecturer at various institutions.

Dorkay House, Johannesburg:

During 1986 - 1988 gave trumpet, trombone and music theory classes at Dorkay House, downtown Johannesburg, which has been a meeting place and rehearsal venue for black musicians ever since the 1950's. During the 1980's it was the rehearsal venue for The African Jazz Pioneers, and several other band members also taught there.

Alexandra Arts Centre, Johannesburg:

From 1989 to 1991 was in charge of trumpet and trombone studies at the Alexandra Arts Centre, the only music education facility in Alexandra Township, under the auspices of Ntemi Piliso, the leader of the African Jazz Pioneers.

Muziekpakhuis, Amsterdam:

From August 1993 until returning to S.A. in November 1994, worked as the only trombone & tuba lecturer at the Muziekpakhuis, one of Amsterdam's best-known private music schools. Also continued private trombone tuition during entire 3-year period based in Europe, some of which based at CREA (Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam)

Jazz Workshop, Cape Town:

Started teaching trumpet & trombone at the Jazz Workshop in 1995, and has been there ever since, successfully building up a selection of loyal students, some of whom have achieved remarkable progress under his tuition. In May 2001 he started the Jazz Workshop Biggish Band.

Diocesan College, Cape Town:

2002/3 trombone teacher at the Diocesan College (Bishops), Cape Town