After four generations of apartheid and crippling political oppression, the true story about South Africa, its people and its culture, is at last being re-written by the men and women whom it so tragically trapped. The African Jazz Pioneers are uniquely placed to document and relate the music and experiences of that time. Their influence and impact on both people and culture is unqualified - from playing styles and musical hybrids to fashioning trends, they are remembered not because of apartheid, but in spite of it!
The African Jazz Pioneers come from an era where the urban jazz big bands (American) first fused with traditional and Marabi music styles. Together with contemporary rivals 'The Jazz Maniacs', Edmund Ntemi Piliso, a founder member of the African Jazz Pioneers, and his 'Alexandra All-Star Band' put the new bop, grind and jive into early 50's South African jazz. Their majuba tempo and swing became essential ingredients for having a good time, whilst politically, it became more difficult to do just that.
With the easing of a cultural boycott at the UN's 1988 Athens meeting, South African artists found it easier to perform internationally. The African Jazz Pioneers were among the first to travel abroad and have subsequently become one of the most travelled and toured bands in South Africa - with headlines at leading jazz venues, festivals and cultural concerts across Europe, Australia, Japan and Africa.