Born: March 25, 1983 Primary Instrument: Bass
My musical career started in late 1996 when I started teaching myself how to play piano and to read music notation. My development on the bass guitar started in 1999. My first ever musical performance on piano was at my high school’s music evening in 1997. I continued to perform at school where I led the singing of hymns at the morning assemblies. I also played extensively for my church at church services where I would play for the Sunday school and on occasion the normal congregation in the event that the organist was late or absent.
My first public performance outside of school was with my piano teacher George Werner and trumpeter Reginald ‘Blackie’ Tempi at the Cavendish Square Mall at some coffee bar in the centre. I went on to gig with George Werner at various weddings and restaurants to gain experience. In order to do some networking to spread my name around town, I would be George’s roadie and set up his equipment in order to just watch and meet some of the artists that he performed with. One artist that I struck up a relationship with was sax player Ezra Ncgukana. I was asked by George and Ezra to become a founder member of a township music group called the Little Giants. The band was established to showcase the talented young musicians that are abundant in the Cape Flats. I originally joined as the pianist but later became the bassist. The only problem was that I had only been playing bass for 3-6 months. My first big performance in my musical career was at the 1999 Jazzathon jazz festival that was held at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town. I was very nervous and to top it all off one of my newly formed blisters from practicing bust open and I started playing with bleeding fingers!
The Little Giants went on to perform at numerous gigs throughout Cape Town. In this time I honed my skills for arranging, composing and sound engineering in performances with this band. The Little Giants decided to attend the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown in 2001. I went through the rigorous audition process and was selected for the newly established South African National Youth Jazz Band (NYJB) which was established to showcase the best students between the ages of 18 and 26 who attended the festival. It was conducted by Marc Duby and we went on to perform at the most prestigious music festivals in South Africa like the Joy of Jazz (Johannesburg) and Awesome Africa (Durban).
While at the festival I made the acquaintances of Mike Rossi, Mike Campbell and Darryl Andrews who I later learnt were lecturers at the South African College of Music (SACM) situated at the University of Cape Town (UCT). I was enrolled at UCT that year to study towards a B Comm Financial Accounting degree. I approached the abovementioned lecturers about potentially defecting to the music department from the commerce department. During this time I spent minimal time at my studies for the B Comm degree and started to immerse myself in music and my future at the SACM. In 2002 I was accepted for the B Mus Jazz Studies (Composition & Arrangement) degree. I later discovered that I wasn’t getting what I wanted out of that course and changed curriculum to the Jazz Studies (Performance) stream. I went on to become on of the SACM’ most prestigious students and sought after performers. I performed in the college Big Band for three years and also for various other college ensembles. I played for many exams, recitals, college jazz festivals and for visiting artists. I completed my degree and attained distinctions in jazz ensemble, improvisation, bass guitar and overall for my degree. I was also awarded a position on the Dean’s Merit List for my academic achievements.
While studying at the university I continued to perform in and around South Africa. I went on to be selected for the NYJB (2002, 2004), the National Youth Big Band (2003) and returned in 2006 one of the youngest artists and lecturers to ever attend the festival. I performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival Cape Town in 2002 with the NYJB and Little Giants, and again in 2003 with the DA Band which was led by my one time lecturer Darryl Andrews. I started performing for the Mike Campbell Big Band (MCBB), Junction 021 (a.k.a. James Frank & the Sticky Triggers) and am currently still a member. In 2005 I was invited to attend and perform at the International Association for Jazz Education conference in Long Beach, California as part of a combined band consisting of performers from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the UCT. The band received a standing ovation after the performance and I was approached by many artists who commended me on my playing as part of a group but also as an individual.
I have been fortunate enough to work in the capacity of Musical Director and Arranger for Sarah Theron & Onkruid! as well as for the show ‘Sonjare’ that showcased the music of the great South African artist Sonja Heroldt. I was employed to rearrange some of her earlier work as part of her come-back to performing in South Africa. I have since been involved in collaborations with rhythm & blues, pop/rock gospel and jazz artists in capacities as both co-writer as well as producer. It has been a beautiful experience thus far and I am truly honoured to have been thought of to fulfill the abovementioned roles.
In my approximately seven years of being a professional musician, I have been honored and privileged enough to perform and collaborate with many brilliant musicians who have all, I feel, added to my musical knowledge and general musicianship. I am forever grateful for the gift of music and I will try to always honour those responsible for nurturing my talent and allowing me to grow.
Cape Town, WC
Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
Taught at The Jazz Workshop, The University of Cape Town, the University of Stellenbosch, Xulon Music Tech & privately. Rate of R200 for 50min lesson