Jazz legend Hotep Galeta is no more!
By SYDNEY MORWENG
South Africa has lost yet another jazz icon. One of the world’s greatest pianists Professor Hotep Idris Galeta, passed away on November 3 after he succumbed to a severe asthma attack at his Johannesburg home.
Hotep Idris Galeta, pianist, was born in Crawford, Cape Town on the 7th of June 1941. He grew up exposed to the rich musical culture of the Cape.
His first piano lessons came from his Father at the age of 7. As a teenager in the 1950’s he became interested in Jazz after listening to a short wave radio Jazz program on the “Voice of America”.
After meeting Abdullah Ibrahim, then known as Dollar Brand at a high school Jazz concert, the two became close friends and Abdullah became his mentor. In the 1950’s Hotep (then known as) went on to establish himself as one of the young emerging pianist on the Cape Town Jazz scene playing in such legendary clubs as the Naz, Zambezi and the Vortex alongside other legendary South African artists such as Dudu Pukawna, Chris McGregor, Christopher Mra Ngcukana, Cups N’ Saucers, Johnny Gertze, George Kussel, Sammy Moritz, Henry Makone, Makaya Ntsoshoko, Anthony Schilder, and Monty Weber.
All of these individuals had an influence on his musical development. In 1961, because of Apartheid, Hotep was forced to leave South Africa for London, then on to New York, where he remained in exile for thirty years.
In the early 1960’s he obtained a scholarship to study with noted Jazz piano instructor John Mehegan. He earned a Master’s Degree with Distinction in Jazz, Jazz Education and Performance.
Galeta who was known as Cecil Barnard, lived his life definitely having had composed jazz music alongside world’s greatest such as Hugh Masekela, Herb Alpert, John Handy, Letter Mule, Jackie McLean / Rene McLean, Joshua Redman, Archie Shep, Elvin Jones, Bobby Hutchison, Woody Shaw, and David Cosby.
All in all, he produced over 18 albums and CD’s were recorded with a number of American and South African artists, respectively.
He is survived by his wife, Angela, and five children – Shawn, Ghairunisa, Harold, Nefertari and Jazz.
Funeral and memorial arrangements are still being finalized at this time. The family will announce details once confirmed.
Rest in Peace, the showbiz industry is poorer without you!