School of Arts

UKZN Jazz Lecturer launches new album

Jazz Lecturer Mr Neil Gonsalves
Jazz Lecturer Mr Neil Gonsalves

Jazz Lecturer in the School of Arts and Durban-based composer, pianist and educator, Mr Neil Gonsalves has released a new record, Blessings and Blues. The album is available on all digital platforms and already has two singles Southern Migration and Let’s Do It Again. 

Blessings and Blues was recorded in December 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic and is a celebratory album reflecting the concomitant social engagements. It is a colourful depiction of a slice of South African life and now serves as a timely reminder and beacon of hope for a more engaged and fulfilled life.

Blessings and Blues follows his 2020 solo piano recording, Concert for One. Reunited with bassist Mr Ildo Nandja, now resident in the Netherlands, and young drum virtuoso Mr Riley Giandhari, the album features 12 original compositions by Gonsalves.

‘I love playing alongside Ildo and Riley. They are both composers, and even though all the tunes are mine, they bring a compositional aesthetic to their performance that gives our collective efforts an added dimension,’ said Gonsalves. ‘I recorded and released Concert for One under lockdown in April last year. It’s an introspective album where I try to reflect on and make sense of the pandemic and consequent social distancing regime, as opposed to this more celebratory album.’

Gonsalves is a Jazz/World Beat pianist, composer, bandleader and educator. His music takes its influence from the rich diversity of cultural life that characterises his home town, Durban.

He has participated in the National Arts Festival many times, primarily as a performer and teacher at the National Youth Jazz Festival. Over the years, Gonsalves has released four albums and featured on many more recordings. He currently serves as the director for the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music (CJPM) at UKZN.

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