“Playing The Changes” Book Launch

“Playing The Changes” Book Launch

FROM THE DEPTH OF THE CENTRE FOR JAZZ AND POPULAR MUSIC

Durban 20th of May 2023 – “Playing The Changes” Book Launch at The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at the University of Natal, Durban – the full and detailed “Durban” Story

Cathy and Darius Brubeck wrote this personal note to make me aware of my contribution to their work in South Africa . I was chuffed to learn that in some small ways the crossing of our paths aided their project.

There would be no South African chapter in the untold MELT 2000 story without Cathy and Darius Brubeck – as simple as that !

We had a most enjoyable evening at their book launch which was held at the very centre of their decades long work in Durban – The Centre of Jazz and Popular Music at the UKZN. What follows below is an imaginary conversation with Cathy and Darius and some background leading up to events.

Thank you both – we love you dearly !

“You made a big difference, you’ll see! Darius Brubeck”

Sorry to interrupt…..

MONTREUX JAZZ FESTIVAL

Darius – to be perfectly honest when talking about a big difference, we should also say :

“ Cher Claude Nobs – Merci for introducing us at the Montreux Jazz Festival.”

RIP cher ami …..

Excuse me again, Darius – slight correction in the leading up section……….

B&W LOUDSPEAKERS PRESENTS THE PLATINUM MUSIC FESTIVAL was a fully sponsored and organised by myself, event within the Montreux Jazz Festival for a period of 3 years.

John Bowers (founder of B&W Loudspeaker or simply Bowers & Wilkins) and I enjoyed an excellent friendship with Claude Nobs and we talked and shared our views during many stays at Chalet Picotin in Haut de Caux above Montreux.

The story of the PLATINUM sponsorship was me trying to convince Claude of my ideas – it was a long standing argument and bickering with Claude Nobs who was similarly strong minded.

Set the clock back to my teens, I can’t remember how many times we hitch-hiked and later drove from Lucerne to Montreux to get a glimpse of our heroes. By 1987 the Montreux Jazz Festival had grown into a hugely successful international event with all the finest artists from every corner of the globe covering many genres of music – not just Jazz. There were all the most famous acts of many genres from BB King to Miles Davis with regular Brazilian or African nights.

UNFORTUNATELY by 1987 there was still only one venue and simply no more space for lesser known acts. We must credit Claude for featuring hundreds of acts like Sade for which their Montreux live performances were an important step to stardom.

Sade’s Smooth Operator live at 1984 Montreux Jazz Festival is just one that comes up as stellar gigs I was fortunate enough to enjoy..

During many evenings with host Claude’s finest meals and bottles of red wine I did manage to get my views heard and was given the freedom of artistic choice for the Platinum venue, a Discotheque and Bar in the old Montreux Casio. The event was entirely sponsored by B&W Loudspeakers.

Setbacks with my health brought an end to the PLATINUM event after 3 years. By then the success of the side festival convinced Claude to carry on. The PLATINUM became the grand Q (for Quincy Jones) and after Quincy left and the new splendid Casino opened its door, the venue became the MILES.

Proudly named after my hero Miles Davis – pictured below with the author at Claude’s Chalet Picotin.

MONTREUX JAZZ FESTIVAL, THE PLATINUM B&W LOUDSPEAKERS MUSIC FESTIVAL IS…

…WHERE DARIUS AND I FIRST MET

I quote Darius: “We decided to take Sandile Shange with us to Montreux. Sandy had been a regular member of my quintet for around three years and we had often played as a duo at the Hermit.”

… me too Darius – I was thrilled to present you guys, it was the second time to be part of presenting a South African artist in my country of birth, Switzerland.

A good 10 years earlier a couple of mates and I organised a gig with Dollar Brand (later known as Abdullah Ibrahim) in Baden, the German speaking part of Switzerland.

NINA RICCI AND AIRTO MOREIRA’S FIRST TRIP TO AFRICA

1993 Gathering Forces II with Darius Brubeck and Deepak Ram

Before getting on stage with Fourth World at the Playhouse in Durban, Airto Moreira sat down with Dan Chiorboli for an interview expressing his feelings of coming to Africa for the first time.

MEET BANSURI FLUTE MASTER DEEPAK RAM

My first meeting with Deepak Ram goes back to 1993 when Airto Moreira joined Darius Brubeck’s Durban team for the recording of their album Gathering Forces II at The Centre of Jazz and Popular Music at the UKZN Durban.

“Philosophically speaking, my breath which sustains my life is going through a piece of bamboo which is purely organic, and something beautiful comes up.”  – Deepak Ram

“…this blends hypnotic ambient themes, shifting-sand rhythms and solo traditional pieces for a gently seductive listen that begs repeated plays.” – Jazzwise

Deepak’s solo work with MELT resulted in the recording of two magnificent solo albums. Flute for Thought is a therapeutic and meditative album, which mixes his phenomenal flute playing, tabla, djembe and kora with modern basslines and beats. Although primarily Indian in character this featured a series of pieces that hinted at a ‘Fourth World’ synthesis, and earned him a nomination for two SAMA awards.

Excerpt from an early discography – please Google Deepak Ram for more detailed info.

The full concert of the recording of Gathering Forces II with Airto Moreira as special guest can be viewed by clicking the link below. The historic video material is not of best quality and should be viewed with this in mind.

NU JAZZ CONNECTION TRAVELS TO GERMANY

DR SAZI DLAMINI

Sazi’s LinkedIn Profile says: Lecturer – South African musicology & ethnomusicology at University of KwaZulu-Natal. Obviously it’s just the usual minimum information this expert and guitar player with his very own style would give away.

Please read the extract below to understand why I’m so passionate about Sazi’s work and teaching.

I feel privileged to have known this quiet man who joins the long line of creative people who tried their very best and hardest to educate me.

Siyabonga
.

MEET SANDY WITH THE BRAZILIAN PERCUSSIONIST

1995 Airto Moreira returned one last time to South Africa with the B&W Music (MELT2000) label.
His mate Madala Kunene asked for the opportunity to take Airto on a “discover local artists and traditions” tour of Durban. They were accompanied by Dick Jewell who filmed and Chris Lewis who did the field- and studio recordings.

Sandile Shange was filmed by Dick while Chris Lewis recorded a song with Sandile and Airto in a local studio. View this footage I recently unearthed in honour of the late Sandy.

FIN DE SIECLE FESTIVAL NANTES, FRANCE 1997

By the 17th of October 1997 artists and performers from across South Africa joined a week-long Festival in Nantes on the Atlantic coast of France.

The idea of the Nantes Festival was a French initiative, inviting cultural representatives from three of the world’s great cities to Nantes to document the creativity of each of these places near the close of the second millennium. Around 380 artists were selected from every creative field. Most of MELT 2000 artists who performed during that week were made with a Dutch mobile studio called The Van. Richard Edwards recorded events like Deepak Ram’s recital or Shiyani Ngcobo with the NAGRA D and Chris Lewis did front of house for Busi Mhlongo, Moses Taiwa Molelekwa, Amampondo & Madala Kunene.

The Nantes Festival was the European launch pad for Busi Mhlongo’s sensational album Urbanzulu. The Nantes and Roskilde gigs were filmed by Dick Jewell and released as DVD and CD.

Cameras: Dick Jewell & Marcus Conway
Sound Chris Lewis

Other acts from MELT 2000 included Pops Mohamed & Zena Edwards feat. The Ngqoko Cultural Group

Cameras: Dick Jewell & Marcus Conway.

Amampondo and Dizu Plaatjies Trio with Mangaliso Maxanjana and Mantombi Matotiyana.

Madala Kunene with Bernard Mndaweni

Cameras: Dick Jewell & Marcus Conway. Sound by Chris Lewis

Photo: Pete Williams

Shiyani Ngcobo

Moses Taiwa Molelekwa

Gathering Forces meet up with Deepak Ram in Nantes. Deepak had moved to the UK by 1997 and it was good to see them again united in one place.

Darius performed with his group Gathering Forces in a disused and converted biscuit factory.

Photo; Pete Williams

Deepak and his wife Kirtida Ram (Tanpura) were joined by tabla player Manjeet Rasia for an intimate classical recital of ragas at Eglise St. Georges des Batignoles.
Cameras: Dick Jewell & Marcus Conway.
Recorded by Richard Edwards on Nagra D. Mixed and mastered by Chris Lewis
Deepak Ram you find by clicking this link.

Master of bansuri, DeepakRam received classes from flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and the late Shri Suryakant Limaye.

Photos by Pete Williams and Dick Jewell

THE WRITTEN WORDS BY DARIUS BRUBECK AND CATHERINE BRUBECK

Published in 2023 by University of KwaZulu-Natal Press
Private Bag X01
Scottsville, 3201
Pietermaritzburg
South Africa
Email: books@ukzn.ac.za
Website: www.ukznpress.co.za

© 2023 Darius Brubeck and Catherine Brubeck

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprod electrical or mechanical means, including information storage permission in writing from the publishers.

ISBN: 978 1 86914 528 6 eISBN: 978 1 86914 529 3

Happy Trails to you Darius – may Cathy and you find time to enjoy your retirement if such a word exists in your vocabulary.

Robert Trunz
APRIL 2024

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