Moses Molelekwa. Picture: Shadley Lombard
Moses Molelekwa. Picture: Shadley Lombard

A tribute to jazz pianist Moses Molelekwa will be held at Guga S’Thebe in Langa on Sunday 28 July 2019. The gig is conceived by percussionist-composer John Hassan of Afro-Latin band Hassan’adas.

“The object of this project is to celebrate Moses’ music. It is not a benefit concert, but rather a tribute to Moses Molelekwa”, says John.

Despite a soft demeanour, Moses touched the lives of everyone he engaged with. One such person is John Hassa,n his one-time flatmate. During their warm-ups and rehearsals at home, the two often joined in on each other’s songs.

In 1996, they composed and collaborated on the music score for a short film The Last Picture. John also featured in a few tracks on the Genes and Spirits album.

John Hassan. Picture: Siphiwe Mhlambi
John Hassan. Picture: Siphiwe Mhlambi

McCoy Mrubata’s Brotherhood

“I’ve been wanting to do this project for a while, but time was never on my side”, says John.

Moses, aka Taiwa, began playing music at 14, and was soon playing in saxophonist McCoy Mrubata’s Brotherhood. McCoy was the band leader and one of Molelekwa’s early mentors. Although influenced by the likes of Herbie Hancock and George Benson, Moses was always curious about African music and the roots of global sounds he heard growing up.

He matured into a genre-breaking jazz pianist, producer, composer and award-winning artist. His musical ingenuity established him as visionary well ahead of his time. Molelekwa’s music not only pushed the boundaries of South African jazz music, but also defined a sound for a generation of young musicians in the 1990s.

His first album Finding Oneself released in 1995 demonstrates a profound level of maturity, although he was only 22 years old at the time. The instrumentation and rich imagery points to a young man coming of age and finding his voice, as perhaps the title of the album suggest.

By the time he released his second album, Genes and Spirits in 1999, Moses had produced, collaborated and shared the stage with Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Chucho Valdes and Sibongile Khumalo.

The list of artists he collaborated with bears testament to his musical breadth.

The Guga S’Thebe Moses Molelekwa showcase includes John Hassan (percussion, guitar, and vocals) alongside Lucas Khumalo (bass), with Kevin Gibson (drums), Buddy Wells (saxophone), Trevino Isaacs (piano), and Nathan Carolus (guitar) – who will together nod to the genius of Moses Taiwa Molelekwa.

“We are starting with one show in Cape Town and hope to take the show to other provinces in time. The idea is to bring Moses’ son Zoe and musicians from the Moses Molelekwa Foundation to join us in future performances,” adds John.

More African jazz in Cape Town.

What: Tribute to Moses Molelekwa Jazz in The Native Yard gig
When: Sunday 28 July 2019
Where: Guga S’Thebe, Langa, Cape Town
Info: Luvuyo Kakaza 060 960 8935