In the balmy late-afternoon they knocked together a makeshift stage and canopy on Place Charles Cros, the square below the apartment.  At seven the musicians arrived – two on sax, two drummers, two guitarists and a keyboard player.

The audience, about 100 strong, sat at tables, on the grass around the flower patches and, like me, on sidepaving.  I imagine this concert was sponsored by the municipality, to lure the crowds back to public performances, especially that of the world-famous jazz fest at Juan Les Pins, the sister city of Antibes.

The musicians got themselves ready, tested the sound system and tuned their instruments.  A singer drew near.  She made me think of a black-satin praying mantis, thin enough to blow away, but when they hit their opener “Summertime” she rocked us with a surprising whisky-and-cigars voice.  Then, “Autumn Leaves”, an upbeat version where the instruments – the saxes, the guitars, the keyboard – each in turn “gossiped” around the well-loved melody. It’s interesting that the French word jaser, to gossip, is often seen as the origin of the word jazz.

The audience clapped and shouted and, like jazz lovers, lost themselves in the jungles of improvisation.  Latino-rhythms, rock rhythms, syncopated rhythms – this tumbled from the mainly elderly musicians and their youthful energy.  The traditional 12-bar blues numbers were beautifully done, music which, I believe, astounded those who listened on the quays of Cape Town harbour from the late-19th-century.  Engaging because the basic form is always there and lends a satisfying inevitability to the chords.  Ah, Dionysus, you would have envied us.

And ten o’clock when the moon appeared over the few cyprus trees, the thin singer, sang the closing song with loving irony, to the great joy of the crowd − “Bad Moon Rising.”

© Will van der Walt


Les Semboules, Antibes

12th July, 2017




My heart and soul

Refer too:  Die Blues en die Wes-Kaap, www.loertoer.wordpress.com


A stolen poster






  1. … below OUR apartment ?

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