Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
The Cool Crooners the grandads of Jazz music in Zimbabwe are having trouble recording their third album because of incessant powers cuts that have engulfed the country.
The Cool Crooners revealed this after performing their mellow music at a Be Jazzled A Winter Warming Jazz Night show at New Alabama on Thursday night. The trio on stage were Lucky Thodlana, Timothy Mnkandla and George Salimu.
Their performance was short and sweet but they used backtracks instead of a live band which was expected by the crowd.
In the audience, men and women of similar standing mimicked the Cool Crooners rickety but enchanting dance moves, reminiscing of the good old days in the sixties and seventies when the city was gripped with Jazz fever.
After performing some tracks from their 2001 album Blue Sky, they went acapella and performed a new track, Lizzy. After singing the song the group’s spokesperson Salimu announced that it was from an album they are working on.
This will be the Cool Crooners’ third album after Blue Sky (2001) and Isitilo (2007).
Salimu said they started recording the album four weeks ago but the stumbling block was the incessant power cuts being experienced in the country.
“We’ve been trying to record this third album but Zesa has been letting us down. It’s been difficult to record as we’ve been in studio for the past four weeks but not much progress has been made.
“We’re now waiting for someone who has a generator to try and help us have power during load shedding,” said Salimu.
He said because of the power cuts, they were not sure when the album would be complete.
“Now that we’re way behind schedule with regards to the album recording, we don’t know when we’ll finish it. We’d hoped to have been done in the next couple of months but we aren’t sure now.”
Salimu said the new album will have eight tracks.
Turning to their performance on Thursday night, Salimu said the reason why they used backtracks was because they were informed of the show on short notice.
“We couldn’t assemble a band to back us at such short notice. If it was maybe at least five days before, we’d have had time to rehearse with a band. We didn’t want to risk making mistakes on stage hence we decided to use backtracks,” said Salimu.
He said rehearsing for them was important as they do so three times a week at Stanley Hall in Makokoba, Bulawayo.
“We are very serious about our craft as we don’t want to short-change people when we’re on stage. That’s why we rehearse three times a week. Also when we do so, ideas pop up on how to fine tune our performance and singing.”
Their performance was organised by Bulawayo Jazz and Whiskey Club, an organisation set up to revive the jazz music scene in the city.
Salimu said although the initiative was noble, as artistes they needed to take their art seriously.
“This is a brilliant idea from these people but as artistes we should give people what they want in terms of entertainment.
“We are too engrossed in pleasing ourselves with the music we produce, leaving out the audience. They should enjoy our music and we should make music for them,” he said.