Africa brings jazz to Gugulethu

2016-03-31 06:00
Mervyn Africa is ready to mesmerise jazz lovers.

Mervyn Africa is ready to mesmerise jazz lovers.

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Mervyn Africa, Cape Town’s legendary pianist will perform in Gugulethu on Sunday 3 April from 4pm at kwa Sec, NY 138 Number 52.

Africa has a strong reputation both as a solo performer and band leader.

He creates sumptuous piano improvisations and compositions, drawing from his rich cultural and musical background.

He draws on influences ranging from classics or carnival songs through township jazz to a Malay musical heritage.

A co-founder of the Afro/jazz group District Six, Africa toured with his co-band members Brian Abrahams and Russel Herman and recorded two albums before finally leaving the group in 1987.

He later toured with singer Carmel, contributing compositions and arrangements to her album Set Me Free.

Africa established a strong reputation both as a solo performer and band leader.

In 1981 he left his homeland to settle in the U.K searching out work in bands of fellow exiles, the likes of trumpeter Hugh Masekela, percussionist Julian Bahula and saxophonist Dudu Pukwana.

At 66, he returns to an old turf in the native yards of Gugulethu where his compatriots, Ezra Ngcukana and Winston Mankunku Ngozi hail from, to perform with bass player Spencer Mbadu and the visiting British saxophonist Alvin Davis. Mbadu’s early collaboration with Africa was in the pioneering Afro-jazz band called Spirits Rejoice in the 1980s.

There he played alongside drummer Gilbert Matthews, guitarist Paul Petersen, Mervyn Africa on piano and the wind section consisted of Robbie Jansen on alto sax and flute, Duke Makasi on tenor and soprano saxophone Thabo Mashishi and George Tyefumani on trumpets. Joining the two South African jazz gurus is Birmingham based saxophonist Alvin Davis, a recording musician, session player and music teacher, who has had a strong influence on Shabaka Hutchings. Davis has worked with the likes of Andy Hamilton and Edwin Starr, drawing jazz influences from the music of John Coltraine, Grover Washington, Marcus Miller, David Sanborn and Al Jarreau.

Tickets are R80 at the door.


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