There have been stories of celebrities testing positive for the Coronavirus from Idris Elba to Tom Hanks. Most of the stories result in Instagram videos of how they are doing and updates on their family’s health. In this case Jazz Legend, Manu Dibango has passed due to the virus. Dibango fit into the category of those most effected by the virus due to his age. He turned 86 a few months ago, making him at a higher risk to die from the virus.
Dibango is Cameroon’s, and perhaps Africa’s, best-known jazz saxophonist. Starting in the 1950s, he became a globe-trotting musician, living and performing in France, Belgium, Jamaica, Zaire, and Cote d’Ivoire, as well as in Cameroon. In 1960, Dibango was one of the founding members of the Zairean band African Jazz, with whom he spent five years. World attention came to Dibango with the release in 1972 of Soul Makossa, a work that actually had precious little of the makossa sound in it, and scored later hits with Seventies and Ibida. Dibango‘s output has been prodigious and multi-faceted.
He has worked with musicians as diverse as Fela Kuti, Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Don Cherry, and the Fania All-Stars. In addition to being one of the leading jazz saxophonists of his generation, Dibango has also run nightclubs, directed orchestras, and started one of the first African musical journals.
He will be missed.