Late musician’s name and works remembered

2016-11-09 06:00
Late jazz giant Dudley Tito. Photo: supplied

Late jazz giant Dudley Tito. Photo: supplied

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THE Eastern Cape government makes the mistake of putting people in charge of the Arts and Culture Department who know little about the arts.

These were the words of ANC stalwart and trade unionist Government Zini during the memorial service for late jazz giant Dudely Tito at Cecil Kapi Hall in New Brighton last Thursday.

“The only thing they know is about culture, imigidi and imitshato,” charged Zini, speaking to about 200 people who included Zini’s family, band members and Nelson Mandela Bay musicians, some of whom he taught music, including those from the Northern Areas.

Tito, who was fondly referred to as “Bra Dades”, died last week after a short illness.

New Brighton-born Tito (75) picked up his first instrument, the penny whistle, in the 1950s. He later played the clarinet but fell in love with the saxophone later.

Zini said there was nothing that Tito has not done. This included joining in late 1960s a band backing Ben Nomoyi’s musical plays Zenzile and Born to Lose.

“Dudley joined the already famous Soul Jazzmen Band comprising such greats like Pysche “Big T” Ntsele, Vuyelwa Qwesha, Whitey Kulumani and others.

“In 1974 they won first prize at the Michelangelo National Jazz Festival at Jabulani Amphitheatre, Soweto,” said Zini.

He said the Soul Jazzmen had beaten the Jazz Ministers led by the inimitable Victor Ndlazilwana in the competition. They were, however, robbed of a chance to go to America as part of the prize.

Another band went in their place.

Musician Wela Matomela recalled how during the unrest in 1976 the Soul Jazzmen had played at fund-raising events at the Rio Cinema in New Brighton, helping Ford Motor company workers who were on strike and supporting schoolchildren who were boycotting classes.

With his long-time jazz colleagues, the late Errol Cuddembey and Pat Pasha in 1990s, Tito offered saxophone lessons at the Dower College of Education. He also taught recorder at the Mendi Arts Centre.

His son, Thamsanqa Tito (42) remembered his father as a humble soul who loved his family and music.

“He taught me to play piano. He was patient with his students,” he said.

Tito was an embodiment of the soul and spirit of jazz music and culture in Nelson Mandela Bay. Tito enabled the rise of musicians who went on to dominate the jazz scene in the world.

His products include Lulu Gontsana, Lex Futshane, Feya Faku, Zim Ngqawana, Bongani Tulwana, Barlo Luzipho, Siya Mdebele, Sinethemba Ncethani, Sakhile Mambrukwe, Sakhi Nompozolo, and many others.

Tito who, leaves behind four children and three grandchildren, was laid to rest at the Motherwell Cemetery after a funeral service attended by hundreds of people at Nangoza Jebe Great hall on Sunday.

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