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It was now late 1975 and we were shacked up at my mother's home in Pretoria wondering what to do next.  Then, a surprise phone call came from the legendary guitarist Johnny Fourie (imagine my excitement!) who had heard of my arrival back in the region, and he invited me to visit him in order to discuss the possibility of my joining his new band for a residency at the famous Branch Office jazz club.

 

I seized this opportunity and before long the new band called Sound Department including Johnny Boshoff (bass), Chris van der Schyff (drums) and Desi Ray (vocals) was attracting keen attention at this premier venue.  We played the fusion repertoire of the day - covering groups and artists such as the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Chick Corea, Weather Report, Miles Davis, Jan Hammer and Billy Cobham etc. as well as a smattering of our original pieces which were maturing into the styles of the day.  My exposure at this level opened doors into the recording industry and I was soon a member of the recording session fraternity playing at various engagements including albums, jingles, radio transcriptions and various TV music programs in the early days of South African television.

 

All of this activity stimulated my desired to compose and arrange for various line-ups and I was given many opportunities to have my compositions performed by a variety of high caliber musicians - the best on offer in Johannesburg at the time.

 

Other bands that I worked with included Cedric Samson's Scandal playing at Barbarella's disco, Sound Dept. Two, a duo featuring Johnny Fourie and myself, Profile, featuring a very powerful lineup including Lionel Kielly and Lofty Schultz (saxes and flutes), Eric Norgate (trumpet), Johnny Fourie (guitar), Johnny Boshoff (bass), Tony Moore (drums) and Rene Veldsman (vocals) at the Bela Napoli, and then another duo featuring George Wolfaardt (bass) and myself.  Original music continued to be a common theme within all of these groups, and I recall spending many daytime hours woodshedding with Johnny and George, always seeking perfection in precision.