With a career spanning over thirty years, Robert Edward Jansen became a legendary fixture of the Cape Town music scene. The virtuoso alto saxophonist, flute player, arranger and composer was proficient on several instruments and in a variety of genres, and played with many of South Africa’s most illustrious bands, including Pacific Express, Sabenza, and Juluka.. His status as a guru and forerunner of the unique brand of port music known as Cape Jazz cements him as one of the greatest life-long contributors to South African culture.
Born in Cape Town in 1949, the self-taught musician’s first instruments were the concertina and mouth organ. He entered the music business as a guitarist, playing clubs with bands such as The Rockets to satisfy the demand for music in the style of the British pop that had taken the world by storm, in the early sixties. A trip to London introduced him to the latest black music from the United States, particularly the bold and imaginative use of brass sections that was emerging in jazz and jazz-influenced music of the era.