Cape Town Jazz Legends

© Eric Miller
The Delta Bluestars is a local jazz band from Franschhoek, known for their toe-tapping brand of Cape vernacular music.
Cape Town has a vibrant, tumultuous history of music. During the apartheid years, Cape-coloured musicians were relentlessly oppressed and barred from sharing their music with the country and the world. However, their fearless perseverance to keep making authentic, beautiful music in the face of adversity is now legendary. In Cape townships and rural communities, jazz music is a thriving genre that is defined by its colourful, lively sound, pioneered by Cape Jazz Legends of the 20th century.

On the Cape Flats, local jazz was created as a particular 'township' style mix with energetic sounds by musicians like the legendary saxmen Robbie Jansen, Basil Coetzee, Winston Mankunku Ngozi, McCoy Mrubata and the brothers Duke and Ezra Ngcukana. Added to this fine collection is the returned exile and pioneer musician Abdullah Ibrahim, famous for the composition ‘Manenberg’ - Where It's Happening.

Today, Cape Jazz is a dynamic genre of music with a strong local following. SouthAfrica.co.za invites you to learn more about the pioneers of Cape Jazz, and the musicians who are leading the way for a new generation of Cape Jazz musicians.

By Carla Lottering

Basil Coetzee

One of the greatest jazzmen to come out of South Africa is none other than Basil Coetzee. His distinctive tenor sound and commitment to his Cape roots made him one of the most well-known musicians from the Cape Jazz scene....more

Langa Jazz Legends

The vibrant township of Langa in Cape Town, South Africa is home to various prominent jazz musicians, spanning from the 1940’s into the early decades of the 21st century....more

Robbie Jansen

The late Robbie Jansen was an alto-saxophonist and flautist who expertly overlayed jazz instrumentals with funky sounds. This South African jazz musician, composer and arranger was known for his unique mix of Cape Malay goema...more