Re-birth of live jazz in Africa’s music capital as The Orbit club opens in Johannesburg

  • Braamfontein venue offers a new home for musicians and lovers of the life of jazz
  • Feya Faku Quintet to headline Friday 14th March launch, programme highlights to include Uhadi with Sibongile Khumalo Estelle Kokott and Concorde Nkabinde

JOHANNESBURG [February 28th 2014]: On Friday 14th March, new Jazz Club and Bistro The Orbit opens it’s doors at 81 De Korte Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, marking a new chapter in the life of the South African jazz movement.

Despite a rich jazz heritage, Joburg has seen much-loved clubs shutting down across the city over the last decade. Musicians, aficionados and visitors to Joburg have spent years searching for one-off performances and relying on annual festivals.

Now, finally, The Orbit offers a permanent space where Joburg’s jazz community can be sure of the highest quality live music, warm hospitality, fresh bistro food (and free Wi-fi), Tuesday to Sunday from 11.30 am each day until the music ends. The club will provide a stage for South Africa’s established and up-coming musicians as well as visiting international stars, to jam, collaborate and play special one–off shows.

Aymeric Péguillan Manager and MD of The Orbit says the ethos is simple, “the music and the vibe are everything and the musicians are the real VIPs, so we’ve spent a lot of time listening to what they think makes a great jazz club. The vision is to fuse the spirit of legendary Jozi clubs like Kippie’s and Bassline, with places like the New Morning in Paris, the Blue Note in New York and the Jazz Café and Ronnie Scott’s in London.

“The name comes from a 1958 Clark Terry album ‘In Orbit’,” explains Péguillan, “because it’s the creative high of live jazz that will make the atmosphere in an intimate spot like The Orbit absolutely electric. We humbly invite lovers of the life of jazz to help create a new home, where the art form is respected and legendary nights can happen”.

The March / April 2014 launch programme features among others the Feya Faku Quintet, Estelle Kokott and the Uhadi project lead by Sibongile Khumalo, as well as live Salsa, blues, Afrobeat and the all new Orbit Big Band.

With two stages split over a two level converted warehouse in the Braamfontein District, the club is part of the next wave of the city’s creative revival, surrounded by a daytime scene of coffee shops, record stores and start-up businesses web and by a bustling nightlife of hotels, restaurants and other clubs.

Back to Péguillan. “The Orbit will be 100% behind talented young South African musicians”, he enthuses, “the next generation of South African jazz greats will have a stage to hone their craft and learn from the stage veterans.”

Lunchtime gigs for up to 100 guests will be hosted downstairs with students from jazz schools invited to play. The project has been worked in conjunction with the Wits Jazz studies department.

Evening performances will play to up to 200 seated guests on the main stage upstairs which has a permanent grand piano (Yamaha C3) and back line, part of the club’s meticulous approach to sound design to ensure the best live and recorded sound. Toms Music is the main partner of The Orbit and has secured a quality backline and sound system for the club.

Péguillan had long dreamed of creating a home for jazz in the city, having run Peg’s Cosy Corner, a tight little jazz club in Troyeville between 2000 and 2002. Together with fellow owners Dan Sermand and Kevin Naidoo, the team has considered every detail, to ensure that musicians have the perfect space to perform in and guests can relax and enjoy the hospitality, with the freshest bistro food and the finest wines and liquors served by attentive staff.

Sermand, who splits his time between Joburg and another great jazz capital, Stockholm in Sweden, is Executive Producer for musicians including Nils Landgren and Magnus Lindgren and worked with Quincy Jones to stage the ‘Quincy Jones Celebration’ at the annual Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival in 2012.

Sermand says, “We’re jazz fanatics who’ve lived in Joburg and hung out in some of the world’s great clubs, so we are passionate about creating a home the South African jazz movement deserves”.

Memberships will soon be available offering a range of benefits to loyal lovers of jazz.

Click here to download the Press Release