There were too many great things happening at once. The emotions were overwhelming. I cried a lot during this show.
There was Pebbles who, some 13 years after appearing on Live @ The Bassline‘s “’76”, showed up to give a vocal performance worthy of a standing ovation and a repeat showcase, plus all the props we owe her for that one time she released an album we all slept on.
There was Kenzhero and Tumi’s relationship, which stretches far back, before Tumi in his various incarnations as frontman and solo artist was getting booked at Party People events.
There was the unspoken, genuine connection between Thandi Ntuli and Benjamin Jephta, who’ve been playing together, in different outfits, for close to 10 years.
There was Marlon Witbooi who, besides gigging regularly with Benji, and banging drums like his arms are used to heavy-duty labour, blended in seamlessly with the rest of the outfit, and brought along with him a gang of drum patches which brought fidelity to Stogie T’s current sound direction (Sphelelo Mazibuko was unavailable for the night).
And there was the horn section H3, a hip collective of brothers intent on unsettling naysayers one gig at a time. They’re the mastermind of Nduduzo Makhathini, who pointed out to Linda Sikhakhane (horns), Senzo Ngcobo (trombone) and Sthembiso Bengu (trumpet) that Jozi doesn’t have many active horn sections, and that they should cease the opportunity.
Saturday night at the Lyric Theatre was more than an event organised by Kaya FM, the ‘home of the Afropolitan’ (we’ll leave out the confounding irony; ‘Afropolitan’, what?!)
It was dreams realised; it was affirmation that perseverance does indeed bear results. It was a moment to rejoice: For ‘jazz’, for hip hop, for music.
Saturday, was spiritual.
These images, made during soundcheck and the actual show, are but attempts to uncover the infinite awesomeness of fate; to celebrate the number of permutations that had to align through entire galaxies for these connections to be made manifest.
Mpho Sebina opened up the cipher with a thrill, and eased us into the Rebirth of Cool’s re-configurations of songs from the vaults; songs which connected Nas to Ahmed Jamal, Dilla to Gap Mangione, and more. Stogie T, up next with the band intact, brought the raps and a couple of guests: Pebbles, Samthing Soweto and Yanga. He ran through an oldie or two, then went for the angular jawdrop scoured from his current, self-titled album.
A phrase was also popularised on the night, courtesy of Stogie T: “It’s different!”
(We’ll leave out the fact that the MC didn’t know that Rebirth of Cool was a Miles Davis album reference, or that he kept referring to Stogie T as Tumi & the Volume)