From the website afribeat.com comes an open source platform of open minded and open hearted South African Jazz commentaries, tributes, photographs, articles, interviews, views and opinions from South African jazz musicians together with running commentary of a life lived and learned through the lens of heart centred South African jazz musical vibrations:
“Our Story of Southern African Jazz’ is a story that IS because it is a story that has become its writer. I was awakened by the patience, understanding, tolerance and forgiveness of many jazz professors, jazz ambassadors and jazz warriors. There is truth, acceptance, warmth, generosity and transformation in this music. As much as my life has been formed and shaped by SA Jazz, SA Jazz has been formed and shaped by different lives lived in every multi coloured shade of human experience.”
The Story of South African Jazz is open at both ends:
Quoting from the book : The Story of South African Jazz Volume One …
“Jazz is becoming world music. The way I understand it is “just music”. Hey man it is jazz music we are jusst talking about music. Wherever it comes from it doesn’t really matter, it is jussst music. Wherever it comes from it doesn’t really matter it is jussst music. So when the Americans say jazzz music, it is jussst music.” Robbie Jansen
“I feel African jazz is African jazz, South African jazz is South African jazz because our jazz is slightly different. I can’t explain it in technical terms. When I can hear it, I can know it. Jazz from Ghana or Angola is very different. South African jazz has something of its own. To say Cape jazz is different to Joburg jazz or Durban jazz I would be overstepping my mark. If there is a difference it is in the air.”ROBBIE JANSEN
“You got to give everybody their due because everybody would contribute whether it was language, food or music. This is how I see the development of anything. Of course when you go to the big factory towns where motorcars are made or where there are railway junctions and forestry’s, you have motor town ‘Motown’ music. Philadelphia. And it would have a certain rhythm. And if you go to Port Elizabeth where they also make motorcars, you go to Johannesburg where there are mines. It resonates. This is why it becomes a global kind of culture and it is not about language. It is about sound.” Vince Colbe
Jazz and freedom go hand in hand, if you are jazz orientated you are free from apartheid you know what I mean. It’s music and it’s all about truth. It’s quality. You have to come on to me to listen to Jazz. I am more like a doctor. You go to a doctor for an injection. In other words we are doctors to the spiritual world. Monk, the late, he said, ‘We got people who are defining this jazz. That is total shit man, freedom and jazz go hand in hand. If you can explain it, beyond that, then you are confusing yourselves. You just have to dig it or don’t dig it, that’s all. That’s the bottom line about jazz. You as a jazz musician, Cecil Taylor said, you are your own academy that’s it what more do you want.” Ezra Ngukana
“A society premised on sharing is the essence of jazz. Jazz is love, jazz is ‘love thy neighbour.’ Jazz is a unifying language. It brings people together and provides the vocabulary to have a great musical dialogue. SA jazz is a transformative shift to sharing. It is uBuntu in action.” the story of SA Jazz Volume One
When Madiba left Robben Island, the crowds had gathered to meet him on the foreshore. He looked over the mass of people very slowly and shouted “I love you.” It is love and that is at the core and the heart of our jazz music. It is love. I love you and without you, we are nothing. So, if it is love, then it is uBuntu too.
South African Jazz music blossomed out of an era of insecurity, where it is said that “the now is all there is.” So many musicians have died at an early an age or even before there time. When the dedication orchestra lead by Louis Moholo closed their set at the Cape Town Jazz fest in 2005, Louis Moholo spoke out the names of so many late greats and a young songstress named Octavia sung out the response : “We Love you.”
The story of South African jazz is built on a succinct timeline that traces the evolution and involution of SA jazz through five distinct ‘rays’ of jazz from the early days, through exile and inxile to the current days… and beyond …
Jazz is a modern music born out of expressive necessity. The pure skill, determination, discipline and ability of brilliant pioneering virtuoso musicians, created a musical form that lives on. Jazz virtuosos could play like orchestras and express the complete emotional palette of music. Jazz virtuosos are emotional alchemists, turning sadness into happiness. And thus South African jazz forged a path to freedom of the self and a direct line to transformation of the soul. This collection of insights, anecdotes and guidance is a handbook to ‘playing through the changes of life’.
Written by a full-time jazz journalist and musician, the Story of South African Jazz places tremendous emphasis on decoding the language of jazz making it accessible to as many markets as possible. Quoting from Volume One, “Jazz is a unifying language. It brings people together and provides the vocabulary to have a great musical dialogue. SA jazz is a transformative shift to sharing. It is uBuntu in action.”
Volume One of this three volume series was successfully released in 2014 and has filled a demand for the book at independent book stores, festivals, universities and libraries. If the theme of Volume One was the integration of the legendary polar opposites of the music industry, “good and evil,” the theme of Volume Two will be the integration of male and female in the Story of South African Jazz.
From the emergence of songstress SiyaMakhuzeni, to a discussion with ZimNgqawana’s widow, Sarah Davids and the sharing of previously unpublished writings of Miriam Makeba, Volume Two aims to expose the powerful role women have played in South African Jazz.
Volume Two continues to connect the dots of the rich history of SA Jazz and continues to disclose the profound history of the Drum era by offering more information on Sophiatown and a particular focus on Tshwana Jazz and the early township sounds of Marabastad.
The definition provided in this book series is that jazz is “Jusst” music. The book series is broad minded, including the pioneering initiatives of jazz musicians all of the region, such as Maputo, and incorporates the jazz style of virtuosity and improvisation as it is prevalent in other genres such as rock, blues and ‘cross-over’ music.
The power of this book series is in the accurate retelling of our history through the voices of the older generation musicians and the promotion of the new generation of South African jazz.