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TRIBUTE TO BASIL METAXAS (article first published : 2000-08-19)

Durban jazzman Des Kerdachi pays tribute to his late friend and colleague Basil Metaxas. The legendary Durban jazz saxophonist died recently.

Basil Metaxas, my dear cherished friend, became an integral part of my music life ever since we played together as part of the Johnny Williams Group at the Caister Hotel in 1980. He always listened and although he stopped playing about 14 months ago, he was never out of touch with the music scene which included the latest on the pop/ rock /funk market.

Basil acted in a fatherly manner towards many of the relatively younger musicians by providing encouragement and guidance, particularly when he noticed talent. I remember about eight years ago during the course of the evening when I had finished my improvised solo on Moonglow he shook his head and said that my improvisation during the middle of the tune was the best he had ever heard, including the top guys in the world over the years.

Now, when Basil paid you a compliment like that he was genuine because he did not as a norm say very much about fellow musicians. Basil in essence was the epitome of simplicity. His lifestyle was simple and his music uncomplicated.

He possessed an uncanny ability to play jazz in a manner that communicated with the listener and was from the heart. He will be sorely missed as a close friend, as a fellow jazz musician and as an all round musician of top quality. Rest in peace and renew your acquaintance with some of your buddies from the past.




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