The jazz band signed and dated 'G Sekoto 65' (lower right) oil on board 54.4 x 64.8cm (21 7/16 x 25 1/2in).
Gerard Sekoto's passion for music was kindled at a young age. Given a harmonium by his father, Sekoto taught himself to read music and enjoyed composing his own tunes.
When he arrived in Paris in 1947, Sekoto spoke no French but managed to find work as a pianist in a bar-restaurant on rue du Sommerard playing, as he recalls, "mainly Negro spiritual, South African melodies and improvisations of jazz music". Paris was a dynamic centre for jazz and its evocative strains find their way into the current work. The composition registers as a series of syncopations sonic interruptions in the visual field that produce a rhythmic effect. This effect echoes the jaunty knees and elbows of the jazz band's dancing patrons, caught up in a rich arrangement of red, orange and yellow hues.
Several of Sekoto's own compositions were published between 1956 and 1960 by Les Editions Musicales. Among the 29 songs featuring his piano-playing and voice, most maintain a poignancy which bespeaks the loneliness of exile, even as they demonstrate Sekoto's ongoing creativity.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Lindop, Gerard Sekoto, (Randburg, 1988), p.27