Last Updated on September 8, 2018 by mybiohub
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Jeremiah “Kippie” Morolong Moeketsi was born on 27 July, 1925. He was a South African jazz musician, notable as an alto saxophonist. He is sometimes referred to as “the father of South African jazz” and as “South Africa’s Charlie Parker“. He played with and influenced some of South Africa’s great musicians, including Jonas Gwangwa, Abdullah Ibrahim, Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela.
At 20 he started playing clarinet, but would soon move on to the saxophone. Influenced by his pianist brother Jacob Moeketsi, Kippie’s career began playing in shebeens with his group, known as the Band in Blue. Over the years he played with several bands, including Shantytown Sextet, the Harlem Swingsters and famously the Jazz Epistles that brought fame to him, Abdullah Ibrahim (or Dollar Brand as he was known then), Jonas Gwangwa, and Hugh Masekela. Moeketsi claimed that he taught Ibrahim everything he knew about music. Ibrahim has credited Moeketsi with introducing him to the music of his greatest influence, Thelonious Monk.
Moeketsi at age 58 while he was living life of alcohol, died penniless and disgruntled 27 April, 1983.