[JPL] Bheki Mseleku Dies

Arturo Gomez arturo at kuvo.org
Fri Sep 12 13:07:45 EDT 2008

>From All About Jazz

Jazz Maestro Bheki Mseleku Dies

RENOWNED jazz musician Bheki Mseleku has died at the age of 53 after a long
battle with diabetes.
“He was a supremely talented creative visionary," Arts and Culture Minister
Pallo Jordan said.

Jordan said the KwaZulu-Natal-born “piano maestro" died in the U K on

Jordan said Mseleku had been living in the UK and seemed to have disappeared
from the live- music scene in South Africa.

Born in Lamontville, KwaZulu- Natal, Mseleku was from an artistic family,
which took charge when he taught himself to play various instruments.

In 1975, he moved to Johannesburg, where he joined Spirits Rejoice and
established himself as a remarkable organist.

Though Mseleku was a versatile instrumentalist, he was greatly attracted to

He exploded into the jazz mainstream when he made his debut at the acclaimed
Ronnie Scott's in London.

“Mseleku was able to put African genius that had defied man-made structural
constraints when it was easy to blame apartheid," said Jordan.

“We offer our condolences to his wife, family, relatives, friends and the
jazz fraternity."

I remember sometime in the mid-90s when Bheki first recorded for Verve, it
was either a Gavin or perhaps a Jazz Times convention when former Verve
radio rep, Rachel Lewis? invited some of the radio panel to a performance by
Bheki at a small cellar club in the Village and there was Mseleku playing
the piano with a sax strapped on over his back, several times while comping
he would bring the sax around to the front and start playing


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