South Africans have always identified the improvised, interactive foundations of jazz with freedom.

So the fact that one of Johannesburg’s most iconic jazz venues, the Bassline, opened in 1994, the year of SA’s democratic birth, was not planned but not entirely coincidental.

Since the Bassline opened in Johannesburg’s demimonde suburb of Melville, music lovers have flocked to the venue to hear such greats as Vusi Mahlasela, Marcus Wyatt, and Tumi and the Volume.

When the Melville venue closed in 2003, later reopening in Newtown, support for the Bassline never waned.

Music historian Professor David Coplan tells the story of this music club in Last Night at the Bassline — a story which is also tied to the journey of its founders, Brad and Paige Holmes.

With more than 50 photographs by photojournalist Óscar Gutiérrez, this is more than a coffee table book: it is a slice of SA music history.

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