Neil Gonsalves


Neil Gonsalves is a South African Jazz/World Beat pianist, composer, band leader & educator. His music takes it's influence from the rich diversity of cultural life that characterizes his homeland, the beautiful seaside city of Durban, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal on the east coast of Africa. His formal jazz training under Prof Darius Brubeck at the University of Natal, gave him the opportunity to be mentored by fellow students, Feya Faku and Lex Futshane among others and created opportunities for apprenticeship with local jazz stalwarts Sandile Shange, Gerald Sloan and George Mari. There was also opportunity for intercultural music making with groups like Indo-Fusion outfit, Mosaic, with whom Neil performed at the National Arts festival in Grahamstown for the 1st time. He has participated at the National Arts Festival many times subsequently, primarily as a performer and teacher at the National Youth Jazz festival.

Neil has long been the first-call piano player in Durban for visiting jazz musicians such as the late, great Winston Mankunku Ngozi and Robbie Jansen. He is still called upon as a sideman, most recently by McCoy Mrubata, Khaya Mahlangu, Salim Washington and Ernest Dawkins, with whom he performed at the Chicago Jazz festival in 2014 in Dawkins’s Mandela tribute.

Neil’s recording debut as a band leader came in the year 2000 with his band, Tonk. The music on the album features mainly compositions from his Masters recital the year before. By this time, Neil had become a full-time lecturer in the music program at Technikon Natal, which had become a real hotspot for a music education that embraced local popular music, as well as jazz. Bheki Mseleku, Busi Mhlongo, the Cameroonian drummer, Brice Wassy were part of this scene as well and and Neil had the benefit of further apprenticeship in their bands. It is at this time that Neil was recruited to join the Johnny Clegg band, a seminal experience that would see Neil travel the globe for the next 4 years, performing Johnny’s unique brand of Zulu pop music. So it is that African music, especially Zulu and Xhosa music is central to Neil’s concept of music making.

It is ironic then that his debut album as a solo artist in 2006 titled North Facing is recorded with young Swedish jazz musicians in Gothenburg., North Facing delivered “a distinct home-town township feel, extrapolations from local dance tunes and shebeen specials given an edge by the introduction of sophisticated Euro techniques and Gonsalves' sense of humour.”( Jazz Eye, 23/04/08); a feeling true to his artistry as expressed by Blue Note’s first South African jazz artist, Nduduzo Makhathini and colleague Jonathon Eato;

“Gonsalves brings a beautiful continuation to a lot of jazz music developed in South Africa.”, in many, ways invoking “the spirit of home and its histories, whilst also allowing the listener space to think about what tomorrow might look like.”
South African jazz cultures and the archive: the playlist
by Jonathan Eato and Nduduzo Makhathini
20 June 2018...


When the backup fails
African Time ( Live @Headroom)
7 The Man, the Berg and Me
Neil Gonsalves Live Stream


When the backup fails
African Time ( Live @Headroom)
7 The Man, the Berg and Me
Xolo(Boy with Wings)
My Birthday Song
1 Diva
Woza Christmas
Away in a manger
Neil Gonsalves Trio Travelogue no. 1
Neil Gonsalves Live Stream
2 score and 10
Neil in Space
Mr Ranglin
After Tears
Ashes in the Wind
African Time Lapse
Whence Forth
Love and Money
Blessings and Blues album launch concert
Till we can
The Coast is Clear
Take the A Train
Keep on
Satisfied remix
Rm 122 remix
Bright Blues
O Come, O Come Emanuel
Trane to Manenberg
Bhangra Blues
Voetsek 'Rona
Piano Dancing
A Night in Diztopia
Pata Pat(h)a
Geometric Living
African Astronaut
Little Giants
Shange Jazz
Rise and Shine
Joy Spring
Cape Town Cutie
Southern Skies and Lavender Blue
Take 5(Mzansi remix)
Bouncin’ with Bheki
Billie’s Bounce
I Remember
My Heart is your home
The Creeper
Her Face, When She Dances
The Divine Peacock
Mr Peter’s Son
Rainbow’s End
Jan Pierewiet
Bushman's Bulerias
Drakensberg Samba
Giant’s Castle
A Thousand Hills
Pajama Party
My little Latin number
Someday thy Prince will come
Monday morning melody
Push up, bra
Miss Jones, I presume
Autumn Leaves, and Darkness Falls
Stella by Candlelight
Don’t get around much anymore
The things you are, and all
2 score and 10
Blues for a Hip Queen by Neil Gonsalves
The Crossing
NEIL GONSALVES Fast on your feet
Demi Fernandez and Neil Gonsalves-Manha de Carnaval
Demi Fernandez and Neil Gonsalves- Her Face, when She dances


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Neil Gonsalves

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