Thursday, November 02, 2006

Neptune Band of Zimbabwe

The Neptune Band of Zimbabwe in 1981 in Breda (The Netherlands)

On 2 November 1984 an exotic group of traditional jazz players performed at a jazz club in Hannover (Germany). This concert was recorded. Last night I listened to an old teel-to-reel tape of this concert. The traditional jazz band plays in a old primitive New Orleans style using ancient chords and melodies as if they were transfered directly from the borders of the Mississippi.

But something seems anachronical ...... the musicians are not from the USA, they are inhabitants of Zimbabwe (Africa) and their leader is Papa Cesar Fratantoni, an Argentine dentists, who lives and works in Salisbury, Zimbabwe.

Fratantoni has been one of the founders of the well known Portena Jazz Band, then one of the leading jazz bands in Argentina and a purist if he is playing jazz. He used the time that he was working as a dentist in Africa to study the primitive music cultures to find out about the roots of the jazz. He uses, if possible, authentic instruments - Cesar jr. plays on a card board trumpet, a primitive trumpet from the 19th century. And he tried to find unspoiled musicians, to get the most basic New Orleans sound he could make. The results of this was the Neptune Band of Zimbabwe.

I was so lucky to hear it play at the 1981 Oude Stijl Jazz Festival in Breda (The Nerherlands) and I remember that we were sitting right in front of the stage. I still felt that same thrill last night when I heard the music on the tape; that primitive new orleans sound.

The musicians are: Dr. Cesar Josy Fratantoni dir, cl, Junio Siankope b, Sabina Violett Siankope banj vo, Daniel Siankope tb, Trijwell Joseph Siankope co and Japhet Siancope dm

I hope to find these recordings on LP ones. A track has been released on a Feel The Jazz compilation CD.

Nederlands ( To the English translation )

The Neptune Band of Zimbabwe tijdens het Oude Stijl Jazz Festival in Breda ( 1981)

Op 2 november 1984 trad een exotische groep traditionele jazz spelers op tijdens een concert in een club in Hannover (Duitsland). Hiervan werden opnamen gemaakt. Gisteren beluisterde ik ze weer eens op een oude band !! De traditionele jazz band speelt op een ouderwetse manier heel primitieve new orleans muziek, gebruikmakend van oude harmonieën en melodielijnen, schijnbaar rechtstreeks afkomstig van de oevers van de Mississippi.

Maar niets is minder waar ........ er klopt iets niet !! De musici komen niet uit Amerika, maar zijn inwoners uit Zimbabwe (Het voormalige Rhodesië) (Afrika) en hun leider is de Argentijnse tandarts Papa Cesar Fratantoni, die in Salisbury een praktijk heeft.

Fratantoni is één van de oprichters van de toen belangrijke Argentijnse Portena Jazz Band en een purist als het om oude jazz gaat. Hij gebruikte de tijd dat hij als tandarts in Afrika werkte, om de wortels van de muziek te ontdekken.
Hij gebruikte zoveel mogelijk authentieke instrumenten. Zo gebruikt hij een kartonnen trompet uit de negentiende eeuw. Ook probeerde hij, met behulp van onbedorven musici de oude klank te doen herleven. Het reselutaat is de
Neptune Band of Zimbabwe.

Ik was zo gelukkig deze band te kunnen horen tijdens het Oude Stijl Jazz Festival in Breda in 1981 en ik herinner me dat we vooraan bij het podium zaten. Ik voelde gisterenavond weer hetzelfde kippenvel over mijn rug toen ik de ruim twintig jaar oude opnamen op band hoorde.

De musici zijn: Dr. Cesar Josy Fratantoni dir, cl, Junio Siankope b, Sabina Violett Siankope banj vo, Daniel Siankope tb, Trijwell Joseph Siankope co en Japhet Siancope dm

Ik hoop de opnamen van deze band nog eens op LP te vinden. De band is te beluisteren op een verzamel CD van Feel The Jazz.


Blogger wip-event said...

dear friend of neptune's band music.
I did read your wonderfull impressions about this band. I have brought the band to germany and produced the LP at the jazzclub hannover. when you like to contact me, send a mail to

9:47 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

March 31, 2009

Pardon me for correcting the above post.

My name is Sergio Tamburri, one of the five founders of the Porteña Jazz Band. I recorded the first five albums with the Porteña Jazz Band and I quit the band in 1970 because reasons that I will perhaps write sometimes in the future if someone is interested to know more.

The founders, besides myself (trombone) were Norberto Gandini (cornet), Tito Romero (piano), Alfredo Espinosa (alto and soprano sax), and Carlos Balmaceda (tuba).

We did get together for the first time (late 1963) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Our first encounter was at the Bar Callao, on Callao Street. It was a place that many bands used to rehearse, for few pesos by the hour. There were several soundproof rooms for rent under the bar.

Usually we would be rehearsing two or three times a week for a couple of hours each time. Today the Bar Callao does not exist anymore.

Here the false data: I know Cesar Fratantoni personally. I can say that he did not even put a foot one single time into the band. Ever.

I am reading here and there that other musicians are taking advantage and profiting from our Band. After we became worldwide famous everybody wants to be the founder (or played with the original authentic band) now.

I just wanted to clarify this false data.

Thank you,
Sergio Tamburri (trombone)

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Hans said...

Dear Sergio,

Thanks for your extensive commend. Please contact me at


9:37 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home