Jazz Icons Darius and Catherine Brubeck: New Book, Album, and Documentary

Published March 21, 2024

In the musically charged atmosphere of the late 1980s, the Jazzanians emerged as a beacon of hope and talent amidst the oppressive era of apartheid in South Africa. This multi-racial band, consisting of students from the University of Natal, has recently celebrated the reissue of their inspiring work, 'We Have Waited Too Long.' Among the band's contributors is the formidable jazz duo, Darius and Catherine Brubeck. This couple, not just connected by marital bonds but also by their deep love for jazz, has etched a remarkable imprint on South Africa's jazz scene.

Life Beyond London

Retreating from the vibrant life of London to the quieter English town of Rye, Darius and Catherine Brubeck, both in their seventies, have not lost their humor despite the chill. They chat warmly, reminiscing about their transition to 'grownup' living and touching upon their interest in literary history, which brought them to Rye, once home to author Henry James.

A Family Legacy in Jazz

Darius Brubeck carries the legacy of his father, the American jazz legend Dave Brubeck. In a significant cultural contribution, he established Africa's first university jazz course and, with Catherine, spearheaded the Centre for Jazz & Popular Music in Durban, South Africa. The couple's journey and influence in South Africa is chronicled in their recently published memoir, 'Playing the Changes,' which accompanies the release of a documentary and the reissue of The Jazzanians' album.

Sharing a History of Musical Rebellion

During their years in South Africa, Darius served as a mentor to The Jazzanians, guiding them to express creativity under a repressive regime. The students in the band, including several who later became jazz icons themselves, faced apartheid's rigid barriers head-on. Their collective humor and camaraderie fostered a group dynamic that was unstoppable onstage and off.

Unveiling We Have Waited Too Long

The reissue of 'We Have Waited Too Long' isn't just a revival of historical recordings; it's a vibrant reminder of jazz's power to move and unite people. With a new cover featuring South Africa's democratic flag and a deep nostalgia for the times, the album encapsulates the spirit of an era that yearned for change and unity.

Legacy, Loss, and Laughter

Still united in their shared goals, trust, and friendship, Darius and Cathy's experiences with The Jazzanians define a poignant chapter in their lives and in the history of South African music. Whether recalling the heartaches or the humor of their travels, the couple demonstrates that the essence of jazz—a blend of creativity, resilience, and fulfillment—knows no bounds.

jazz, memoir, documentary