A special Tribute to late jazz pianist Moses Molelekwa will be held at Guga S’Thebe in Langa on Sunday, July 28.
“The objective of this project is to celebrate Moses’ music. It is not a benefit concert, but rather a tribute to Moses Molelekwa,” says percussionist-composer John Hassan of South African Afro-Latin band Hassan’adas, who conceived the tribute.
Despite a soft demeanour, Molelekwa touched the lives of everyone he engaged with. One such person is Hassan, his one-time flatmate. During their warm-ups and rehearsals at home, the two often joined in on each other’s songs.
In 1996, they composed and collaborated on the music score for a short film ‘The Last Picture’. Hassan also featured in a few tracks on the ‘Genes and Spirits’ album.
“I’ve been wanting to do this project for a while, but time was never on my side”, says Hassan.
Molelekwa, commonly known as Taiwa to his fans and friends, began playing music at the tender age of 14, and was soon playing in the band McCoy’s Brotherhood. Saxophonist Mc Coy Mrubata was the band leader and one of Molelekwa’s early mentors. Although influenced by the likes of Herbie Hancock and George Benson, Molelekwa was always curious about African music and the roots of global sounds he heard growing up.
He matured into a genre-breaking jazz pianist, producer, composer and award-winning artist. His musical ingenuity established him as visionary well ahead of his time. Molelekwa’s music not only pushed the boundaries of South African jazz music, but also defined a sound for a generation of young musicians in the 1990s.
His first album, ‘Finding Oneself’ released in 1995, demonstrates a profound level of maturity, although he was only 22 years-old at the time. The instrumentation and rich imagery points to a young man coming of age and finding his voice, as perhaps the title of the album suggest.
By the time he released his second album, ‘Genes and Spirits’ in 1999, Molelekwa had produced, collaborated and shared the stage with legends such as Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Chucho Valdes, Sibongile Khumalo and just about every other big name on the South African music scene at the time.
The list of artists he’s collaborated with locally and abroad, bears testament to Moses Molelekwa’s inexhaustible musical breadth and varied sound.
On July 28 at Guga S’Thebe, Langa, Hassan (percussion, guitar and vocals) alongside Lucas Khumalo (bass guitar), with the cream of Cape Town’s jazz scene comprising Kevin Gibson (drums), Buddy Wells (saxophone), Trevino Isaacs (piano) and Nathan Carolus (guitar) will be paying tribute to the late genius, in partnership with Jazz in The Native Yard.
“We are starting with one show in Cape Town and hope to take the show to other provinces in time” says Hassan, who is overseeing the tribute project.
“The idea is to bring Moses’ son Zoe and musicians from the Moses Molelekwa Foundation to join us in future performances” he says.
* For more information, SMS/WhatsApp Luvuyo Kakaza on 060 960 8935.
Guga S’Thebe is at Cnr Washington and Church Sts, 7455, Langa.