JAZZING it up in the Bay is his forte and Port Elizabeth based musician Creshwell October will be launching his debut album, titled Introducing Creshwell October, at the Opera House next week.
October, who is from Arcadia, says his passion for music started in church when he was very young.
Over the years he developed an interest in different musical genres. He moved away from his roots in gospel towards R&B and finally on to jazz.
While he still explores different genres, his speciality is jazz, and he is passionate about it.
“The term jazz itself is basically playing what you feel, it’s an expression of what you as a person have been going through.
“When I play jazz it gives me the opportunity to express myself. Especially when you improvise, your soul actually speaks to people.”
October has worked with the likes of jazz legends such as Gloria Bosman, Hugh Masekela and George Benson, who he regards as one of today’s greatest living legends.
October says his style of jazz was influenced by a number of musicians. Of all the guitar players he admires, Jonathan Butler has been his greatest musical influence, followed by Ernie Smith and Jimmy Dludlu.
“They brought this afro-jazz feel, they taught me how to play a more South African style of jazz.”
His style encompasses a fusion of contemporary jazz with elements of gospel and R&B.
One of his greatest mentors was the late Errol Cuddumbey.
Cuddumbey introduced him to jazz while he was at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and also performed with him at his first concert at the Northern Arts Festival in 2007.
“What I liked about Errol was his passion for music and how he struggled to uplift our community in Port Elizabeth to sustain the culture of jazz.
“Looking at an old guy who was passionate jazz about has inspired me … I want to be like Errol and play music till an old age.”
The 11-track album ties together all of October’s influences and brings some elements of R&B and gospel into the mix.
It has something for everyone, says October.
“This album is a reflection of my personal life, of what I have been through as an artist.
“All the songs on the album speak about my personal experiences, my failures and success, so people will get a glimpse of my life and how I have persevered.”
The line-up for the evening of the launch will include a range of local talent. Titi Luzipo, Leon Japhta, Chapter Three, Gino Lee and Brenton Goldman will be performing.
Tickets for the album launch can be bought from Computicket at R100 and members of the audience will receive an album.
More information is available from Quintess Julies on 079-352-6098.