"Jazz for the struggle, the struggle for Jazz"
2 March 2014
Pinetown: at the Rainbow Restaurant, in my endeavor to reason with my conscious whether I should celebrate my 20 years’ experience since I voted for a New South Afrika Entsha. I went with Bra John Ramaota to witness a unique collaboration, a Jazz exhibition, Andile Yenana Quintet featuring Sazi Dlamini on Guitar, Paki Peloeole on Drums, Prince Bulo on Bass and Leon Scharnick on Tenor Sax and Yenana on Piano.
I really wish to state on record that this is how I start to celebrate. Susanne Thomas and her friend Helga sharing a table with us, asked 'how long have you been coming to this Jazz venue?' "We grew up here, remember we were not allowed to sit like this. So this was the only venue in the City. Where the immorality and the group areas Act was really challenged successfully." I responded. I recall a protest march by musicians just across the street in 1980's with the banner. "Jazz for the struggle, the struggle for Jazz" The power that was, a racist regime with Draconian laws, was defeated.
Back to the ritual on stage, at the Rainbow or under a shade of the Rainbow. Sazi Dlamini invoked Idlozi lase Rainbow, playing uMakhweyane. As I struggle to follow a delicate sound from this one string sacred instrument, my eyes wondered the walls. I saw an image of Sisi Busi Mhlongo. Elegantly dressed to kill. I had a flashback of private moments at her flat, a bowl of fruits, Jabu Khanyile and Sisi Busi video at the Market, a surgical glove and an unwelcome flowers delivery. Sisi Busi was a real joy to share time with. Bhuti John shown me a Victor Ntoni and Baba Mokoena photo. My memories flew back into the 1980's at the front of Durban City Hall. Victor Ntoni and the Castle Milk Stout Big Band. He was leading that big band which made a note, not only a note, but a major impact on me to follow and collect this unique music. In time Sazi Dlamini invited the band to the stage - THE RAINBOW!
The Rainbow Jazz Restaurant: A stage that has sustained the energy of our Jazz Revolution. Yes it was a struggle. 20 years thereafter, arts is still in a perpetual struggle to sustain creativity inside this sacred platform. Neil Comfort introduced their International seasonal performances. The lineup includes Lex Futshane Quartet, Oliver Mtukudzi, Shabalala Rhythms, Feya Faku and many more.
Live music is the best meal to nourish my soul. As the band was playing my pen danced on this page to write this article. Yes I can say with no doubt this band do epitomize a positive future for 'our kind of jazz' so said Bra Zakes Nkosi, what Bra Ntemi Piliso called South African Township Jazz.
Music performance is about relations. Andile Yenana and Sazi Dlamini depict such, at its best. Sazi on guitar presented his well-rounded skills. That one cannot compare with anyone. As he was playing his beautiful solos and accompanied by a very good band, I had a flashback again to the same stage when Baba Mokoena, Sandile Shange and Allen Kwela would be doing it with their guitars on the same stage. Yes, I salute them all beyond the grave, your music will always live with us.
I must also thank Concerts SA for hosting such a noble idea. I do commit to add all your shows on my endeavor to commemorate my 20 year old vote. Rainbow Jazz Restaurant really defeated the immoral old SA.
We had a great time.
Written by: Ntuthuko Khuzwayo (at the Rainbow Restaurant)