Back to the golden era of jazz in the Bay

Brett Adkins

THERE was a time when Sundays were all about laid-back jazz in Port Elizabeth – from the Grand Gardens in Central to the old Walmer Gardens Hotel.

Those gigs might have faded over time, but there’s one bay jazz artist and his outfit who are determined to see live Sunday jazz revived.

Well-known jazz stalwart Denzil Africa and the Vusa Band have begun resuscitating that laid back genre of weekend entertainment by performing every Sunday at the Golden Curtain in Newton Park.

“The Golden Curtain?” I hear you ask. “Isn’t that an upmarket strip joint?”

Well, that’s exactly what Africa is determined to change people’s perceptions about. “People know it as a strip club but on Sundays it will now be a top jazz spot,” he said.

“It’s such a beautiful venue with a great stage and lighting, and is ideal for what we’re trying to do – create Sunday jazz shows that will appeal to everybody. With no dancing, but where people can simply sit back and relax – where doctors and lawyers can bring their wives – and just soak in good jazz and fusion.”

Africa said the turn-out for the first session last Sunday was not huge, but those who went along had thoroughly enjoyed it.

“Now we want to spread the news through word of mouth and via Facebook invitations so everyone will get to know about it.”

Africa said that once the weekly shows attracted greater crowds they would look at inviting guest artists from Johannesburg and other centres to appear.

Denzil Africa and the Vuso Band is known as one of the region’s top drawer jazz groups. Their repertoire includes a wide range of jazz genres including African jazz and they have shared the stage with the likes of PJ Powers, Jimmy Dludlu, Winston Mankunku, Robbie Jansen, Mafikizolo, Mandoza, Dr Victor, Kurt Darren and the late Sipho Gumede.

You can catch the show at the Golden Curtain in Cape Road this Sunday from 6pm, with entrance at R30.

Leave a Reply

Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment moderation policy. Your email address is required but will not be published.