Volume Two

Backpage text: In South African jazz, the barriers that separate composers, performers, musicians from writers, promoters or technicians are very quickly eroding. A knowledge of all aspects of the music world is an advantage that is creating longevity, legacy and change in a style of music that fought oppression and won.

Economic, racial, personal and self-inflicted oppression are the new fascist enemy that jazz must address. Because what is jazz, but freedom?

Jazz is freedom to be yourself whether it is archiving, improvisation and jamming, composing, playing covers, copywriting, photographing or promoting. As the classical music of the 20th Century it is a holistic music.

From a network of spoken words, interviews, articles, commentaries and lived experience, Volume Two of the three part Story of SA Jazz series opens up to the source of this music so as to inspire the power of the past into the present moment.

Every jazz musician learns from elders and thus the musical development follows cycles of time – referred to as “rays.” The golden age of the 50s, District six, Sophiatown and Umkhumbane, and the 60s age of exiles and inxiles is what this jazz is all about. The Liberation era of the 70s and 80s and the Freedom era of the late 90s and 00s took the music to new levels. This passing of time is culminating NOW in a fifth distinctive ray of South African Jazz.

What is the fifth ray of South African Jazz? Confidence, know how and sharing:

South African Jazz is one of the most profound musical languages to ever come out of this country. Many different people,  flavours and visitors meet on a plane of experience, expressing a spiritual longing, a healing and a discovery in the tolerance and self relience required for unity in diversity. It is a journey in self discovery, underscored by the narrative of learning to play.


The Story of SA Jazz is written by Struan Douglas. Struan is the founding director of music portal, http://www.afribeat.com online since 01/04/2000. Struan has contributed on South African Jazz for a variety of publications since being a columnist for Big Issue magazine 1999 – 2000, Downbeat magazine 1999 and Sawubona 2003. He wrote regularly for Independent newspapers and Times Media nation wide. He is the author of several books and a trumpet player.