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Maurice Gawronsky - drummer. Jazz at Winchester Mansions

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Who is Morris

My late father was the first jazz pianist to record at the SABC and taught the legendary Rae Da Costa to play the piano. When he married my late mother he stopped playing professionally and opened up a pub in district six which he ran for well on 28 years.

It was a tradition that every Sunday evening my mothers and fathers brothers and sisters and their spouses used to come for supper and my dad would play all the popular songs of the day and everyone would congregate around the grand piano and sing along. My mom and dad had 9 brothers and sisters each so I was very fortunate to have 87 first cousins.

I started getting excited about jazz when, as a boy of 12 I was taken by a friends older brother to the “Navigators Den” where the best jazz musicians of the day played every Saturday night.The pianist turned around and looked at me and told me he had a gig for me the following week. I was 13 years old.

I told my dad that I wanted to play drums and he bought me a snare drum and brushes and told me that if I practice rudiments and sat and played whilst listening to records he’d buy me the rest of the kit.

I used to sneak out of my home on Saturdays and find anyone to give me a lift to the club and one night I was allowed inside (as I always stood at the window outside). The drummer was so drunk he fell off his stool and the band carried on playing. I stood behind the kit and just played cymbal. The pianist turned around and looked at me and told me he had a gig for me the following week.

I was 13 years old. I got a present of a full drum kit and did the gig and as they say, the rest is history.

Winchester Mansions

For the past 12 years Maurice has been involved mainly in organising quartets for the exciting Winchester Brunches. These take place on Sundays between the hours of 11am - 2pm in their famous courtyard. It has the most amazing reputation for good food and soft but finger snapping music ... the ambiance is perfect.


Jazz Brunch at Winchester Mansions CD

Volume 2 of Maurice's CD "Jazz Brunch at Winchester Mansions" is released.

In Short...

Maurice Gawronsky's involvement in the international jazz scene began in the early '60's when he was continuously touring Britain and Europe. During that time he was drummer for, among others, Ronnie Scott, Graham Bond, Peter Ind, and Dudley Moore. He then performed at Ronnie Scott's Downbeat and the Establishment in London, as well as Danish and German clubs. He also appeared in the UK film "Sparrows Can't Sing" during this time. Following his British and continental sucesses, he went on to Scandinavia where he played with Stan Getz, the highlight of his musical career. Since his return to South Africa he has performed with the top local talents, and continues as an established force on the Cape jazz scene.
I used to sit every Saturday with Dexter Gordon drinking coffee and just discussing how beautiful the women were in Scandinavia.