. . . It was Ntemi Piliso who nourished the group from their humble roots to their current international acclaim. In the early 50s, Piliso and his "Alexandra All Star" band hit the cutting edge of South Africa's music scene, blending American urban big band style with traditional Majuba tempos and Marabi music influences.
At the centre of this great musical movement was Sophiatown otherwise known as "Kofifi", a thrilling community of artists, musicians, gangsters, writers and political leaders making their mark on South Africa's growing urban culture. Despite pass laws, bannings and censorship, discriminatory practices by recording companies and state controlled radio, forced removals and the violent bulldozing of Sophiatown, the African Jazz Pioneers and other South African musicians survived apartheid and evolved their music.