The Best of Musa Manzini

Manzini as I prefer to call him is a perfect gentleman and a musician! That seems like a trite point to make, yet it is a rarity to find the two qualifications in one human being in the music industry.

His self-effacing, mild and calm manner subsumes an admirable character of an individual with high work ethic, steely determination, a sense of purpose and a hard nosed businessman and a leader of, and amongst his equals.

I met him when I introduced live jazz to Emperors Palace (then Caesars Gauteng Casino), Musa had just released his debut album New Reflections, on that one Sunday afternoon in 2000, he blew the music fans away – a discerning crowd, it has to be said. He played with controlled passion from an album which in my view still rates as my favourite. It is ageless and I am happy that this compilation will bring back the music that introduced him to the music public.

His subsequent albums, were of Manzini beginning to be adventurous about his sound and ability, creative capacity, almost intending to defy being pigeon-holed as if to claim the space and right to be simply called a musician who can use his instrument and musicality to express himself in any way he feels will captivate the music lovers. As a result he has diversified his fan base from the jazz types who appreciate his treatment of a Miles Davis tune to the X generation that have recently heard his music on such hip radio stations as Radio Metro, appealing to their beat.

So what you have is a versatile musician – a musician with very long shelf life, I predict with confidence.

I am a lover of this guy’s music and what is more an admirer of his character – Musa has undergone two brain operations, lost a bit of the strength and control of his left hand – went through the trauma stoically, to build his own house, directly supervising the workforce (with a bandage around his head, “nogal”), built his own recording studio, produced other musicians, got himself through a physical rehabilitation programme and he is now ready to go back to live performances.

He did all of this with all the calmness and quiet determination that is a hallmark of this man – Musa Manzini – a master musician and a great human being in gestation!!

 by Monde Tabata

Musa is one of the most dedicated and talented musicians I know, and like my departed friend, Sipho Gumede, uses the bass, an otherwise traditional backing instrument as a lead instrument. He still manages to fuse fresh harmonies with diverse rhythms, from African funk to Latin, deep bass grooves, and vocals. He was hampered by a brain tumor, but instead of an obstruction, he saw it as a stepping stone, and today he is still creating music, composing, producing and playing his beloved bass. Check out www.manzinientertainment.co.za where you can also find out about his studio facilities. These operations have simply become part of his life, and the a way he has handled it and managed to still stay positive and create good music is a testament to his character and the positive outlook as a person I am priviledged to know him and to have worked with him on this collection, and his last two studio albums.

Here are 13 of his best works. Enjoy