Jazz sounds, with its drums, can echo the nation’s aching heartbeat. When inequality and poverty has morphed into excruciating pain which makes the heart flutter with rage, jazz, with its trumpets that wail and saxophones that shriek, delivers the voice of a people whose dreams have found residence in the graveyard of unfulfilled promises.

Jazz is my brother’s rhythmic posture and rhythmic shuffle against the imaginary and blood-soaked rainbow at whose end is a pot full of rage and hatred.

Jazz is the expression of our mothers, uncles, sisters, aunts, nieces, nephews, daughters and sons’ exchanges in those not-just-what-you-say-but-what-you-do-about-it inflections.

Jazz’s gesticulations and sighs speak about despondent peoples’ reservations.

The trombone roars with questions that seek honest answers as to what former President Thabo Mbeki meant in 2006 when he said: “I believe I know this as a matter of fact, that the great masses of our country everyday pray that the new South Africa that is being born will be a good, a moral, a humane and a caring South Africa, which, as it matures, will progressively guarantee the happiness of all its citizens.”

This music, that is misunderstood by those whose souls lack the love of unadulterated messaging, can unashamedly ask if the numbskulls that drag their knuckles along the corridors of power understand what the late Professor Es’kia Mphahlele portended in 1998 when he said: “We should stop showing off to the world as a unique democracy fashioned out of incomparable racial harmony and reconciliation.  This posturing from a high moral ground can easily make us overlook the domestic task ahead of us.”

To the uninitiated, jazz might not be The Holy Grail of music, but it knows all the movements of our frustration and despondency in the most intimate ways.

It knows when a political dunderhead speaks about the elusive Utopia, just to gain access to power, money and influence. A jazz musician is able to sum up the lie of a power-greedy blabbermouth, with the soul-stirring timbre of a piano and give it right back to the bubblehead because jazz is a mirror of life made of awe-inspiring music.

It possesses the power to make you see through the falsehoods of the alleged rainbowism which declared a sloppy unity in diversity. When you listen carefully, jazz cleans the cataract of your soul’s eyes so that you can see that the practice of cataloguing, side-lining, or regarding according to race and identity politics in South Africa have certainly not advanced much from apartheid’s design.

The contradictions can be spotted on debates around the issue of land and the rampant racial inequalities.

Jazz is the initiator of high awareness that can make you burst out in rage or laugh at the outrageous manifestos of political parties as they compete for the coveted X to be placed on their chosen candidates during election time on the ballot paper. There is always that unfulfillable promise made by political parties, that municipalities will provide free water and electricity to indigent households. The EFF went as far as promising that its municipalities would submit a list of indigent households within its jurisdiction to Eskom, so that these households can receive free electricity by November 2022.

The music of truth that has survived many assaults, even from Kenny G, got me laughing uncontrollably when Malema promised that the EEF was going to bring hope to ordinary South Africans and strengthen the programme of reviving councils as a significant part of government.

The double bass, that beautifully strong instrument, which gives jazz a unique and distinct sound rose a few notes louder in my head when I heard the President of the governing party tell the nation: “Our key task is to create jobs and reduce poverty as a matter of urgency. Creating jobs and sustainable economic opportunities for the youth is especially urgent.

“Over the last year, we have undertaken the implementation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan to speed up social and economic change, including the eradication of the legacy of colonialism and apartheid.”

Holy jazzy mother of rage and joy, we have heard this drivel many times before.

He did not stop there, Ramaphosa, did what all musicians who are not steeped in the culture of improvisation, do, admit faults even if you know chances are thin on the ground of seeing any fixing happen.

“As the ANC, we admit that progress has not been sufficient. Many  municipalities have not delivered as they should. There is corruption, waste and under-spending. We are getting rid of corrupt and self-serving councillors. We have introduced the ‘step aside’ rule for those in the ANC that have been charged with corruption or other serious crimes.”

You see, the thing is I am tired of staid, severely organised speeches that carry a pitifully useless promise.

The DA also loaded us with a list of promises that are unlikely to see the light of day.

Their leader, John Steenhuisen, promised that hud party will:

• Ensure there is clean water and a sanitary environment for every community.

• Provide a hygienic environment to live and play.

• Give residents their power back.

• Create and maintain public spaces for all to enjoy.

Yeah right, I’d rather sit in a smoky bar gazing into a whisky glass, listening to a hot songstress singing the blues than listen to vote-seeking hypocrites.

I would rather lock myself up in a place where I can listen to jazz. If you did not know, jazz has for many years stood, with its mystifying tones, against subjugation, bondage and all things authoritarian.

The rising notes, the undulating tunes, the whirlwind key changes underneath enchanting fingers have ignited the hopes, dreams, courage and convictions of a people who revolted against being eternally browbeaten.

It is jazz’s invisible swagger, I believe, that inspired Stanley Crouch to write the sermon, Premature Autopsies which was eloquently delivered by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, on Wynton Marsalis’s 1989 album, The Majesty of the Blues: “… that truth passes through time in the very same way an irresistible force passes through an immovable object.

“That’s what I said: this truth is so irresistible that it passes through immoveable objects. It is the truth of a desire for a refined and impassioned portrait of the presence and the power and the possibilities of the human spirit. Can you imagine that? I said: a desire for the refined and impassioned depiction in music of the presence and the power and the possibilities of the human spirit. That is the desire that lights the candle in the darkness. That is the desire that confounds dragons who think themselves so grand. We have heard the striking of the match and have felt ourselves made whole in the glow of the candle for a long time.”

In further describing the power of jazz, and what it means to humanity, Stanley Crouch further wrote: “Deep down in the soul of it all, where the notes themselves provide the levels of revelation we can only expect of great art, it formed a bridge. That’s right, a bridge. A bridge that stretched from the realm of dreams to the highways and byways and thoroughfares and back roads of action.

“To be even more precise, let me say that this sound was itself an action. Like a knight wrapped in the glistening armour of invention, of creativity of integrity of grace, of sophistication, of soul, this sound took the field. It arrived when the heart was like a percussively throbbing community suffering the despair imposed by dragons. Now, if a dragon thinks it is grand enough, that dragon will try to make you believe that what you need to carry you through the inevitable turmoil that visits human life is beyond your grasp.

“If that dragon thinks it is grand enough, it will try to convince you that there is no escape, no release, no salvation from its wicked dominion. It will tell you that you are destined to live your life in the dark.

“But when a majestic sound takes the field, when it parts the waters of silence and noise with the power of song, when this majestic concatenation of rhythm, harmony, and melody assembles itself in the invisible world of music, ears begin to change and lives begin to change and those who were musically lame begin to walk with a charismatic sophistication to their steps. “You see, when something is pure, when it has the noblest reasons as its fundamental purpose, then it will become a candle of sound in the dark cave of silence.”

So, our frustration and despondency with local government, where the proverbial tyre hits the road, is pure.

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