HomeEntertainmentHere's the Origin of the Greatest of All Times Rhumba Band TPOK...

Here’s the Origin of the Greatest of All Times Rhumba Band TPOK Jazz

In June 1956, a band was formed by Franco, Jean Serge Essous, and De La Lune, who were all session musicians at the Loningisa Studios. They named the band Ok Jazz after the OK bar where they performed. The name also had a second meaning: Orchestra Kinois.

The original members of the band included Essous on the clarinet and saxophone, bassist Roitelet, percussionists La Monta LiBerlin and Pandy, guitarist Dessoin, and vocalist Rossignol.

Their fast-paced rhumba with a lot of improvisation soon caught the attention of the Zairean public, and it was apparent that they were destined for greater things.

The band played together on a daily basis at a studio owned by a Greek businessman and occasionally at events such as weddings.

Franco composed the band’s introductory album, titled On Entre OK on sort KO (you enter ok and leave knocked out), which became their motto. In 1957, Rossignol left the band, but he was replaced by Congolese singer Edo Nganga.

Later that year, Zimbabwean saxophonist Isaac Musekiwa joined the band and became one of Franco’s closest friends. At that time, the band’s leadership was shared equally among Vicky Longomba, Essous, and Franco.

When Vicky and Essous left to join Africa Jazz in the early 1960s, Franco took over the leadership of Ok Jazz for good.

Africa Jazz, led by Joseph Kabasselleh (Le Grande Kalle), was the most influential band in the Congo and had an array of talented musicians, including Tabu Ley and legendary guitarist Docteur Nico Kasanda.

When Vicky and Essous left Ok Jazz, Franco recruited vocalists Mujos (Mulamba Joseph), Kwamy Munsi, and guitarist Simaro. Saxophonist Verkys Kiamanguana replaced Essous.

Essous and other musicians from Congo Brazaville, such as De La Lune, Celestine Kouka, and Edo Nganga, later founded one of the most famous orchestras of the time, Les Bantous de la Capitale, based in Brazzaville. Les Bantous became a national institution in Congo-B and often exchanged musicians with Ok Jazz.

Papa Noel was among the musicians who played on both sides in the 1980s, while Tchico Tchicaya and Pamelo Mounka were prominent musicians who played for Les Bantous. The two bands also cooperated on an album called Pont Sur le Congo.

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