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Bheki Mseleku

Bheki Mseleku

Bheki Mseleku @ the 606 Club
13 November 2006
(Photography 8 January 2007 & 13 November 2006)

Click an image to enlarge.

Biography

9 September 2008, Bheki Mseleku died at the age of 53. He had been suffering from diabetes and other health issues.

Appropriate recognition for Bheki Mseleku is still to come. This deeply spiritual, multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger has mesmerised many fortunate patrons with his colourful and captivating live performances.

In 1975 Bheki Mseleku could be found playing electric organ for an R&B group in Johannesburg. By the late 1970’s he had left South Africa’s oppressive boundaries to take up residence in London.

Mseleku toured Europe, and the U.K before his successful debut at London’s Ronnie Scott’s in 1987. Here he would impress the many visiting jazz luminaries that have passed through its doors.

Mseleku’s debut album “Celebration” (released in 1991, recorded at the Jazz Café in London) features the likes of Courtney Pine & Steve Williamson (soprano saxophones) Eddie Parker (flutes), Jean Toussaint (tenor saxophone) and Marvin “Smitty” Smith (drums). ”Celebration” brought Mseleku many new fans, as well as the British Mercury Prize nomination for Album Of The Year.

Mseleku continued his successful live performance dates throughout the U.K before releasing “Meditations” in 1992. This two-track recording would capture the essence of Mseleku live at the Bath International Music Festival.

“Timelessness” was released towards the end of 1993 after Mseleku signed to the Verve/Polygram label. This time Mseleku would collaborate with American heavyweights such as Pharoah Sanders, Abbey Lincoln, Elvin Jones and Joe Henderson.

Each subsequent release celebrated Mseleku’s respect and love for life. Mseleku was a humble, self-confessed “Citizen of the World” who relentlessly forged his spiritual road. His warm musical paintings always left you feeling free open hearted and cleansed.

Mseleku was due to return to South Africa to perform at Johannesburg’s Bassline club just before his death. He is survived by a wide extended family including his brother Langa, his sister Millicent, and seven children.


Robin Francis
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.

Gareth Lockrane

Bheki Mseleku Bheki Mseleku

Bheki Mseleku & band

 

Bheki Mseleku

Bheki Mseleku & Gareth Lockrane

Bheki Mseleku & band

Bheki Mseleku

Bheki Mseleku

Bheki Mseleku


Recommended
Listening

 

Home At Last Meditations Celebration
Star Seeding Beauty of Sunrise Timelessness

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