All you need to know about The Orbit jazz club

By Drum Digital
07 July 2014

French born restaurateur, Aymeric Péguillan, speaks to Drum about his popular new hangout, The Orbit, which was opened in March this year.

French born restaurateur, Aymeric Péguillan, speaks to DRUM about his popular new hangout, The Orbit, which was opened in March this year.

The venue is located in Braamfontein and brings live jazz and fine dining to the heart of the Johannesburg city centre.

Originally, Péguillan ran a small jazz social club called Pegs Cosy Corner in Troyeville in the early 2000’s.

Gallery: The Orbit

His musical pursuits have seen him travel across the globe absorbing the sophisticated sound of Jazz from countries such as North America, Russia, South East Asia and West Africa.

But it was in Bangladesh, where he was working as Head of missions for Doctors Without Borders, when he first heard Abdulla Ibrahim’s music, that he fell in love with SA jazz. His inquisitive ear then lead him to South Africa, which he believes is leading the musical genre because of its unique and mature style.

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Today, The Orbit, attracts visitors from across Johannesburg. The stylish venue provides a vibrant and creative space for professional jazz artists to share an intimate moment with connoisseurs of the craft.

The venue is open from Tuesdays to Sundays with live performances from 8.30pm.

Why did you open The Orbit?

I lived in South Africa from 1994 to 2004. When I returned to SA in 2012, I found a desolate music landscape. It was not like the Johannesburg of 1994 that had a vibrant music scene. I found that there are still musicians who are hungry to play and are greatly talented.

How did you design the space?

In 2001 I had received a call from a friend who wanted to introduce me to Brazilian pianist and vocalist, Tania Maria. When she asked if I had a piano for her to play, and I didn’t, she never arrived.

But I learnt my lesson, when I opened The Orbit, I wanted to create a venue that could host the highest calibre of performances.  We have state-of-the- arts equipment which includes two pianos.

Why did you make the club exclusive to jazz, without including other genres?

In South Africa, Gospel, RnB and Rock have a huge platform and those that like Hip Hop can find it at a night club. Jazz had no scene and there is a demand for it.

How do you find your artists?

I invite the artists I think people will enjoy, but some artists approach us and arrange to perform at the venue.

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Which performances have stood out for you?

Performances that stood out for me: quite a few but Feya Faku's opener, Carlio Mombelli Stories quartet, Herbie Tsoaeli's African Time quartet, Maria Joao and Mario Leginha and Artvark. I really enjoyed Thandi Ntuli's gig and Melanie Scholtz everytime she plays.

Name two things people don’t know about you?

I am a good cook. I achieve my “master chef moment” when I make a great ratatouille.

Do you have any musical talent?

I am a trained as a classical violinist but have not played in many years.

Find The Orbit on social media:

@JazzOrbit on Twitter

The Orbit-Home of Jazz on Facebook

The Orbit Jazz Club on google plus

The Orbit Jazz club on youtube

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