Jazz Evenings, the Bloemfontein Jazz movement hosted at Coco C by Lesley Jennings and Andile Qongqo, two jazz musicians in their own right, is really starting to show its mettle.
From humble beginnings in 2014, the movement has grown at such an impressive rate that it is able to bring to local jazz lovers an artist of the calibre of Mlungisi Gegana. Gegana will be performing at Coco C on Thursday 14 September from 19:00 as part of his national tour.
As a jazz artist Gegana needs little introduction. Starting in 1972 at the age of 11 years old, he picked up a three-string guitar made from a five litre oil can in his home town, Queenstown, in the Eastern Cape.
In 1986 he realised his passion for jazz was starting to form in his heart. He then packed up his bag and headed for Cape Town. It was here where he started performing with his own music and led his own band.
When Gegana eventually came to Johannesburg, it didn’t take him long to become part of the mainstream jazz society. Playing at Kippie’s Jazz Club, he was spotted by a record company’s executive, and the rest is history. Some of the highlights of his career include:
• His first international stage appearance in Sweden with a band called Tau ea Mastekga who’s leader wrote a song for Paul Simon “Boy In The Bubble” from the album Graceland.
• A visit to the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland with Zim Ngqawana where he did numerous recording session with various artists.
Jennings and Qongqo started to host the Jazz Evenings at Windmill Casino three years ago. They then moved it to the Pacofs Downstage, and later to Coco C. During this period the Jazz Evenings has had feature artists of note performing, such as Bokani Dyer and Feya Faku.
“The growth in the local jazz community is no less than humbling, we are ecstatic to be able to share amazing homegrown jazz with our local audience and community,” said Jennings.
Early bird tickets to the Gegana concert are R100 and R120 at the door. For tickets and more information call 073-300-9967 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Pieter Delport