In the early 1950’s Bra Ntemi and his Alexandra All Star band hit the cutting edge of South Africa’s music scene, blending American big band sound with traditional Majuba tempo’s and Marabi influences. They enjoyed enormous success and had a huge following in those days. Sadly, all this came to an end in the late sixties with the demolition of Sophiatown, when big bands went out of fashion.
However, in June 1981, Bra Ntemi decided it was time to re-unite old musicians and get them back on stage. African Jazz Pioneers was formed and on the road, their first performance was at a church in Alexandra. Despite the pass laws, discriminatory practices and censorship, African Jazz Pioneers survived apartheid and evolved their music.
There are few bands in South Africa that do the big band sound more infectiously and with more accomplishment and just plain love for the genre than the African Jazz Pioneers. With their wonderful happy music that celebrates life, the African Jazz Pioneers will make your head spin with joy.