JAZZ lovers are in for a treat as international double bass and electric bass player Lex Futshane (pictured, below right) makes his way to our province and city for his KZN tour.

Futshane launches his tour tonight at the UKZN Jazz Centre.

He follows this with performances at the KZNSA Gallery on Friday, at the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday, and at the Rainbow Restaurant in Pinetown on Sunday.

Futshane was well-known as a tutor, grooming many of Durban’s aspiring musicians.

He is now managing the teacher training programme for the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company.

He has made a name for himself as a player, and has played with some of South Africa’s jazz greats, such as Bheki Mseleku, Winston “Mankunku” Ngozi, Ezra Ngcukana, Zim Ngqawana, Feya Faku and Tu Nokwe.

In an interview with Tonight, Futshane spoke about his tour and what audiences could expect.

The bass player is teaming up with a former colleague, pianist Neil Gonsalves, drummer Sidney Rash and singer Zoe “The Seed” Masuku.

For the Tatham Art Gallery gig in Maritzburg, Futshane and Masuku will be joined by ethno-musicologist, composer and guitarist Sazi Dlamini.

“I’ve worked with Neil before, when I was in Durban.

“I was in Durban for a long time, and when I finished studying I taught there.

“I stayed on for a couple of years and I was working with Neil and we had a band together.

“I worked with Sazi Dlamini and Sidney when I came to Durban to do some concerts, so I have played with them before.

“The only person I am meeting and will be performing with for the first time is Zoe Masuku.”

Music is his life, says Futshane.

“It’s what I do, it signifies my existence and who I am.”

With more than 20 years experience in the music industry, Futshane has performed exten-sively in southern Africa and in the US, Cuba, South Korea, the UK as well as Germany.

He laughs as he tells me that he continues to get nervous before a show.

He explains he is to visit Amatikulu Primary School as part of a community outreach programme and to support the development of jazz in KZN.

“We will be visiting schools to do workshops. I believe those schools have never been exposed to music and jazz, so I’ll be taking the band there to give the pupils a taste of live jazz.

“On Saturday, we will facilitate a workshop at Msunduzi Music School in Pietermaritzburg.”

Steering the conversation back to his KZN tour, Futshane says audiences can expect to hear fresh and vibrant music, including contemporary jazz, old-fashioned mbhaqanga sounds and interesting arrangements of jazz standards.

“Definitely, new compositions,” he added.

‘I’m also busy with my album, which should be out in May some time.”

• Don’t miss Lex Futshane tonight at the UKZN Jazz Centre. He plays at the KZNSA Gallery on Friday, at the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday, and at the Rainbow Restaurant on Sunday.

Visit his Facebook page: facebook.com/lexmonde