Everyone knows the rich and dynamic history of jazz music and Joburg. The city and its surrounds produced a variety of jazz legends whose compositions were in turn inspired by their hometown. Jazz was the soundtrack for Jozi's stories, struggles, hardships and freedoms.
Then something happened. Much loved jazz clubs closed their doors and live music venues across the city shut down. Lovers of the genre would have to wait for annual festivals or one-off performances to treat their ears to the sultry sounds of their favourite music.
Luckily for the city, however, the universe conspired to bring three jazz aficionados together. The result of this meeting is The Orbit.
Named after a 1958 Clark Terry album called 'In Orbit' and located on 81 De Korte Street in Braamfontein, The Orbit provides a magical space that the jazz community, both musicians and patrons, can finally call home.
Aymeric Péguillan, Dan Sermand and Kevin Naidoo are the three fans who are taking responsibility for bringing jazz back to the city. When they take to the stage to explain their vision on the opening night, the upper floor of the club is packed to capacity and the excitement of the audience is tangible. The club itself is beautifully laid out - a two level converted warehouse with the ground floor housing the smaller stage and the upper floor the main stage.
Péguillan had long dreamed of creating a home for jazz in the city, having run Peg's Cosy Corner, a jazz club in Troyeville between 2000 and 2002. All three men speak very passionately about their love for jazz and how the club will be utilized not only for hosting established acts but also as a springboard for younger musicians, who will have the opportunity to play live in front of an audience and learn from veteran musicians.
"The Orbit is the home so many of us have been waiting for," says trumpeter Feya Faku, when Péguillan invites his Quintet to the stage.
Then it begins. A slight smile from the man on the piano as his fingers run effortlessly across the keys, followed by the deep sounds from the man on the double bass at the back of the stage. Their sounds mingle fluently with the wild-haired man giving the drums some life.
And by the time Feya Faku brings his trumpet to his lips, the city of Joburg is well aware that jazz music has returned.
Where? 81 De Korte Street, Braamfontein, Johannesbur
by Ihsaan Haffejee