Mavundla, band really impress

THE mood and day were perfect.

It was a cool Thursday that marked the beginning of a long Easter weekend.

Those gathered were a perfect selection for the occasion - the lucky kind of folk with a bit of cash to spare and the conviction that they have decent or progressive opinions to air.

Well, the music was equally well pitched for the moment, with the plus factor being that it was performed live.

Bassist Musa Manzini had sent out a call to associates, the media and friends to show up at La Passant Restaurant on Maude Street, opposite the Convention Centre in Sandton, where they were to take a sip of music from his latest and fifth solo recording titled Trust in Love.

Nothing less could be expected. After all Manzini's list of sidemen included able musicians such as trumpeter Sydney Mavundla and Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner pianist Afrika Mkhize.

Pity about the fact that they had to make do with a tiny corner since the platform for their performance, which saw the sizable band squeezed together with hardly any space to make any acrobatic moves if the spirit and the music so desired.

But then again the venue's core business is food and drink, with music relegated to the background to a certain degree.

Dedicated live music audience will at least take comfort in the knowledge that La Passant tries to cater for their needs every Thursday and Friday.

Manzini and his band's performance was really impressive, with mind-blowing solos by Mavundla.

The live presentation was a notch or two above the recorded offering that is Trust in Love.

Featured on the album are a number of lead vocalists, including Siya Makuzeni, Monde Msutwana, Nongoma Ndlovu and Thokozani Nzima, whose presence is clearly meant to help Manzini project the album's theme of love in words.

Ndlovu and Msutwana had joined Manzini at the album launch. Msutwana sounded better live. In fact he was more impressive than on the recording.

The lead vocal presentation by Ndlovu on the song You Give Me Love feels rushed and unnecessarily high-pitched on the album, something that showed at the launch because she came across as trying too hard to please instead of just flowing and letting the seamlessness and effortlessness of her sweet voice to do the work.

While the music in Manzini's album is not too bad, it's aim to persuade us to trust in love is not efficiently executed.

This is owing to the fact that calculations were not properly done so that the meaning, intenseness and impact of the words are allowed the space and luxury to sink into our consciousness and convince us to indeed believe and trust in love, it's power and wonderfulness.

Overall Trust in Love is a light pop presentation in the sense that it rests much on the side of R&B and what is commonly termed lounge music.

Previous Manzini solo albums include New Reflections (2000), Tributes and Memories (2002), My Bass (2004) and Simply Life (2006).