Blake Hellaby

Jazz Ensembles, Jazz Piano


Blake Hellaby is a multi-instrumentalist whose career started in Cape Town, South Africa, but has gone onto perform across Africa and Europe.

His music journey started with classical piano lessons at the age of 7 and continued right throughout school. At the age of 14, Blake was introduced to jazz for the first time and was immediately drawn to everything about it. He then started saxophone lessons and was taught by the legendary South African saxophonist, Buddy Wells. The classical expectations of Blake’s school kept him very busy and jazz lessons only started when he finished high-school and started a degree in jazz at the University of Cape Town. Although he was not formally taught jazz at high school, he was still selected to be the pianist of the Standard Bank National School’s Big Band at the Grahamstown Jazz Festival (now the Makhanda Jazz Festival) in 2007.

It was at university that Blake was exposed to all sorts of new music that he had never been exposed to before, and there began his love for music production. He also had the privilege of touring during his studies; once with the Miagi Youth Orchestra which performed in Johannesburg and a tour of Berlin, Germany. On another occasion to the Oslo Jazz Festival, as well as a 2 week tour of Burgundy, France with the Delft Big Band.

Since completing his studies, he has had the privilege of performing with many of South Africa’s top musicians in both the jazz and commercial sectors. His experience in the studio is just as impressive, having worked with artists, DJs and songwriters as a session musician, producer, and mixing/mastering engineer.