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09 August 2010


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What a fitting obituary for this very talented and modest man. You sent him of well: Hamba kahle indeed!
Clearly you are familiar with the ritual of "playing someone through" to the other side.


Thanks very much. I wish that I could have been in Cape Town to say good-bye in person -- to play him through, as his friends will certainly be doing.

One of my many memories of the affable Ngcukana is the graciousness and forbearing he displayed one night at the sometimes kitschy Mannenberg's when a young woman from Texas insisted on sitting in with the band and couldn't seem to find the right key. Ngcukana patiently followed her,covering up her considerable inadequacies with long vibrato rich phrases and eventually nudging the performance away from the trainwreck it could have become. It was a master lesson in how to deal with with less than adequate talent at a jam session.

Thanks for a beautiful tribute, John.

The gig with Tete's Big Sound band at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival at the end of March for me was memorable for two things in particular: Ezra's appropriate and beautiful embellishments of Tete's authentically African inspired jazz compositions (he's another of the unsung heroes of SA jazz and one of its major composers); and the fact that two junior members of the younger generation of musicians, trumpeter Lwanda Gogwana and trombonist Steven Roodt played along and stood next to an elder like Ezra on the bandstand at such a prestigious occasion.

Ezra's role as an educator is less well known, for instance the role he played in building and mentoring the Little Giants band with George Werner and others since 1999, which continues to spawn numerous graduates now operating in professional music and other disciplines in SA and internationally. He was my comrade in music education, and teacher (as is the wont with musical icons in South Africa) to many on different levels, mostly without having to try or do it knowingly!

He knew good style, his gentleness was without peer, and he knew music like few of his contemporaries.

Hamba Kahle, Bra Ezra!

Paul Sedres
Paris, France

Hamba Kahle Buthi Ezra.U hambo lakho lusothusile.

Hi John.

Seen him play countless times in Cape Town. Genius. RIP. Just linked to your tribute.

-- Sean

I remember Ezra stopping songs in band practice to sing out Bass lines for me to play(doom daaa doom daaa)...lol. He was an awesome teacher and a brilliant musician and i was just a "lil Giant."

It was truly an honor to have learned from the legend himself...RIP Ezra.

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