Statement on passing on of piano maestro Pat Matshikiza

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30 Dec 2014

It is with profound sadness to have learned that Pat Matshikiza, the legendary piano maestro has died in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal at the age of 76.

He will be remembered as one of the earliest and greatest exponents of African jazz with a distinctive urban township vibe.

We wish to offer our condolences to the family, friends and, above all, the music fraternity, especially jazz.

His recording of Tshona featuring extraordinaire saxophonist Kippie Moeketsi established indigenous jazz music as the most distinctive sound outside of America.

Matshikiza was not the first in his family to leave an indelible impression. He was younger brother to Todd Matshikiza who wrote the music to King Kong - The Musical that toured the United Kingdom in the 1960s.

Significantly, the younger Matshikiza was part of a vibrant and competetive musical scene that gave birth to some of the most outstanding musical talent to come out of this country.

Born and raised in Queenstown,  he was a musical pioneer together with icons like Margaret Mcingana,  Stompi Mavi and Don Thomas,  to name a few,  who used music to express the soul of their people.

To his generation and to others born after his career began, Matshikiza was a piano wizard.

At a relatively young age he moved to Johannesburg to become part of Dorkay House where he joined MacKay Davashe's Jazz Dazzles.  It was in this group that he joined legends like Moeketsi, trumpetor Dennis Mpale and drummer Makhaya Ntshoko,  among others, who redefined and energized the local music scene, especially jazz.

It was his singular and distinctive piano sound that made Matshikiza to be envied and idolised by contemporaries and fans alike.

When artists took to exile in search of better opportunities in the 1960s,  Matshikiza stayed behind to serve as an intuitive connection between those who left and those who stayed.

That he never blossomed into his full potential is a serious indictment on the history of this country and how African artists, particularly were denied opportunities.

His resilience saw him integrate into the hotel scene where he was acknowledged and recognized by fellow artists and patrons for his skill and talent.

He may be widely remembered for Tshona,  his infectious and danceable collaboration with Kippie Moeketsi but he was much more.

May the soul of Pat Vuyisile Matshikiza rest in peace.

For details call Spokesperson Sandile Memela at 0828003750