Based: Cape Town
Hailing from Cape Town, CueCumber Jazz‘s core sound is deeply rooted in the rhythms and harmonies synonymous with Jazz. The band’s repertoire moves comfortably from Swing and R&B Pop, to Modern Jazz and Funk, with inspired improvisational playing throughout. CueCumber Jazz comfortable fuses the various stylistic influences brought to the band by its diverse and talented members. With Gemayel on drums, Josh on bass, Maya on vocals and Blake on piano, this Jazz quartet is guaranteed to get you swingin’ at any function!
The Band recently recorded a single call “SMILE” in aid of kids with cleft pallets. They are proud participants in raising funds for these life changing operations.
Josh Prinsloo (Bass)
Josh began his musical journey at a young age, studying classical piano and singing in his primary school choir. At the age of 16 he joined his first band as a vocalist. Around this time he began programming electronic music, taking art classes, and performing in school productions. In his final year at high school he achieved the highest mark for graphic art in the Western Cape scoring 100%. After finishing school, he went on to study drama at Stellenbosch University where he majored in Creative Writing and Cabaret. During this time he continued classical piano training, acted in plays, picked up the bass guitar as his main instrument, and started work as a presenter/producer/voice-over artist at the radio station MFM 92.6 Move to the Music.
After receiving musical tuition from notable jazz musicians Ramon Alexander and Shaun Johannes, Josh started playing jazz regularly with the Stellenbosch University Jazz Big Band. He has also played bass for different artists in a range of genres, played on a number of albums, and has shared stages with Die Antwoord, Prime Circle, Rocco de Villiers, The Plastics, Isochronous, New Holland, Jesse Jordan Band, and others.
In 2008, Josh won the Best Newcomer and Best Full-Time Show awards at MFM’s annual awards ceremony. A year later, he was promoted to Station Producer as part of MFM’s sub-management; where he produced advertisements and jingles for a range of corporate clients including ABSA, Black Label, BP, Coca-Cola, FHM, Groupon, Intercape, KFC, among many others.
As an actor Josh has performed in the plays Aladdin (as Aladdin), Cabaret the Musical, The Cape Town Show (where he performed to critical acclaim as the principle actor), and Deurbraak.
Josh currently plays bass for jazz pianist Ramon Alexander and ESP Band, and fronts the alternative rock band Brother & Brother as the principal songwriter, vocalist, and keyboardist. He also writes poetry, blogs, and produces electronic music in his spare time.
Since 2010, Josh has been teaching bass guitar at Stellenbosch University.
Maya Elizabeth Spector (Vocals)
Maya is a rising talent in the South African music and theatre world. She comes from a culturally diverse and musical family. She grew up in America, Swaziland, Japan and South Africa and graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal with a Bachelor of Music degree, majoring in jazz performance and music education in 2009. She also studied stage and screen acting at AFDA-Johannesburg.
Maya has appeared on stage around South Africa in international and South African musicals (My Fair Lady, Man of La Mancha, Jimbo, Silence of the Music) in Durban, Cape Town and Grahamstown. She has also been a lead vocalist and back-up singer with many different music groups. Maya has performed and recorded with leading South African artists.
Maya’s musical style is influenced by the attitude and the style of classic jazz and neo-classical soul greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Layla Hathaway, Jill Scott, Gretchen Parlato, Chet Baker, Kurt Elling, Bobby McFerrin, Erykah Badu, among many others.
Currently she is based in Cape Town where she is working on her own compositions as well as collaborations with local and international artists and she has started recording her compositions together with leading hip-hop and house music artists from throughout South Africa.
Blake Hellaby (Piano)
Blake started classical piano at the age of 6 and completed his grade 8 practical examination in 2008. He is currently studying jazz piano at UCT where is in his 3rd year. He played for the Grahamstown National Schools Big Band, the Miagi Youth Orchestra and Big Band which went to Germany for an Orchestral Festival, and many other smaller bands in Cape Town. Blake also plays saxophone and the bass guitar. His musical interests lie in the performance area, but also loves composing and arranging music as well recording and producing. Blake’s musical influences are Bill Evans, Brad Mehldau, Herbie Hancock, Jeff Lorber, Richard Bona to name a few. Blake enjoys taking simple songs and putting his own signature on them, with his distinctive jazz and classical influenced approach to music, this all melts together to create very original material which means that the band never stagnates and is constantly bringing new material into their repertoire, or otherwise taking old material and making it new.
Gemayel Kroukamp (Drums/Band Leader)
Gemayel started his music studies at the age of 4 playing classical guitar and piano. At age 12 he discovered the drums, which he fell in love with. At the age of sixteen he played drums for stage productions such as FAME and Grease. During this period he also played for numerous Gospel bands in and around the Overberg region. During 2005 he started playing Jazz with a number of Big Bands in Cape Town, Athlone Academy of music Big Band and Connolly Big Band to name but few, developing a new love for the genre. Some of the Jazz performances were with the Austrian Jazz quartet Six Tension on their Cape Town tour. He has also performed with various Cape Town musicians such as the late Jeff Weiner, Mike Laatz, Ed Kirkwood and Tyronne Appolis.
Currently he is a session musician for a number of musical and cabaret productions as well as small bands around the mother city.
He also currently is the head of percussion at the Athlone Acadamy of Music.