Jazz under Apartheid – The background to Darius Brubeck’s harmony course

Darius Brubeck created the first degree course in Jazz in South Africa in 1983.

This might seem commendable but innocuous, but think about the political context in South Africa at the time. Apartheid still reigned, Nelson Mandela would not be released for another seven years.

To establish a course that celebrated the music of African Americans, was a brave act and in some ways a political act.

Darius’ experience in KwaZulu-Natal University in Durban forms the background to his Harmony 101 Course on MusicGurus. In South Africa he found musicians of great promise, but many had not learnt formally. Darius had to develop a way to get everyone speaking a common musical language quickly.

His response was a version of the Harmony 101 course now available on Musicgurus. It’s a fast-track to understanding music harmony aimed at musicians who know their instrument but might have missed some of the formal theory classes.

If you think you could benefit from a better understanding of scale, chord and key, chord functions, voicings and common progressions. Then check it out:


Here’s a video of Darius explaining his journey to this course concept himself, accompanied by the township grooves of Darius’ tune District Five – featuring Mike Rossi on Tenor Sax, Matt Ridley on Bass and Wesley Giddens on drums.

By | 2017-10-19T11:51:22+00:00 April 27th, 2017|Uncategorised|0 Comments

About the Author:

Liam is part of the team at MusicGurus. He is a music journalist and keen amateur jazz musician.

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