Manu Dibango's diseaseIt was announced about a week ago that the jazz saxophonist and composer, born in Douala, Cameroon in 1933, has died in his adopted home of Paris as a result of the coronavirus infection. French media report this unanimously, citing Dibango's family and management. The Afro-Jazz pioneer is the first prominent artist to die of the consequences of the new virus infection.
Dibango, the son of a farmer and a fashion designer, came to France at the age of 15 and quickly established his groovy Afro-Jazz style in the Parisian clubs, a mixture of traditional Cameroonian Makossa rhythms and western bebop, later also funk. In the 1960s, Dibango worked closely with the musician Joseph Kabasélé and was eventually hired by stars like Dick Rivers and Nino Ferrer.
"Soul Makossa", released in 1972, made him world famous and became one of the most influential pieces in Afro-Jazz history. Traces of the moccasa groove can be found in the "Jungle Boogie" by Kool & The Gang. Dibango has accused stars like Michael Jackson and Rihanna of having used "Soul Makossa" several times – the significant line "Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa" came prominently in Jackson's hit "Wanna Be Startin ' Something "from the" Thriller "album (1982), the artists then agreed on a comparison.
"Soul Makossa" and the somewhat less well-known, especially popular in Great Britain disco hit "Big Blow" (1978) brought Dibango onto the world stage. He played with jazz greats like Herbie Hancock and Don Cherry and got involved in dub and bass music experiments with Bill Laswell or Sly and Robbie.
In 1998 he recorded the successful album "CubAfrica" with the Cuban guitarist and singer Eliades Ochoa, it was one of the countless albums and collaborations that Dibango recorded in his long and tirelessly creative career. His fans tenderly called him "Papy Groove". In 2004 he was awarded the title "Artist for Peace" by Unesco.
Now Dibango has died. He was 86 years old.