SWEET SOUNDS: Stix Hojeng. © Unknown.
SWEET SOUNDS: Stix Hojeng. © Unknown.

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

The audience was unmistakably your BEE-type, and the music from keyboardist Stix Hojeng was just too good to resist for the lovers.

They resisted most of the night, but when he played his last and third set, one couple could not resist Hojeng's magic.

The couple were propelled to the dance floor, and it was a marvel to watch them do their thing at the Jazz Maniacs Restaurant.

Housed in the flamboyant Holiday Inn in Soweto, yes Soweto, Kliptown specifically, Jazz Maniacs is the place to be if you are into jazz.

Hojeng was performing on Valentine's Day. But according to the hotel management, the jazz programme will now be extended to every last Saturday of the month.

This is quite significant because in Johannesburg, jazz venues are few and far in between.

Those who have been following jazz closely for years will tell you that since Bassline relocated from Melville to Newtown a few years ago, and recreated itself as a popular music venue, it is a different animal altogether. It plays anything from kwaito, hip hop, Afro pop, and sometimes jazz.

Kippies was also a few years ago relocated from its prime spot opposite the Market Theatre in Newtown, in for what appears to be dubious and unconvincing reasons to some scary, dark alley in the same area.

Established jazz musicians, Afro pop musicians and emerging artists perform there often, but it is not the same Kippies that we came to love and respect.

The official reason given for the surprise closure of Kippies was that the building where it was originally housed was dangerous as it was said to be dolomatic.

But can someone tell me why the old Kippies building has not been destroyed since it is a life-threatening architectural nightmare.

The point is jazz has been robbed blind once again.

The Blue Note near Cresta in northern Johannesburg, opened briefly about five years ago, raising hopes within jazz circles. But hopes were dashed when it also closed down, reportedly for financial reasons.

Spiced Jazz in Melville, on Main Street, promised to be yet another attempt to revive live jazz venues when it opened about two years ago. Sadly, it too has just closed its doors.

The point is initiatives like the new jazz venue, Jazz Maniacs, must be supported, at least for the sake of jazz.