Legendary Cape Town jazz musician, Robert Edward Jansen was born on 5 August 1949. The Cape Doctor, as he was popularly known, was one of South Africa’s most celebrated alto saxophonist, composer, arranger and flautist, with a career spanning three decades.
In the early 1970s, Jansen shot to fame as an original member of the Pacific Express band and later toured the United State and Europe with Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ebrahim). He then went on to join the Spirits Rejoice band.
Although Jansen was best known as a saxophonist, he was also an accomplished singer and composer. He performed with Johnny Clegg-led Juluka, the Genuines and The Roberts, and recorded the seminal Manenberg album with Ebrahim. In 1988, he collaborated on the anti-apartheid recording Sebenza. A committed anti-apartheid activist, Jansen was a performed at various gatherings and events in the 1980s.
Jensen’s last album, The Cape Doctor, was released in 2000.
In 2005, Jansen was admitted to hospital with chronic bronchitis with his lung capacity rapidly diminishing. Although on a ventilator and in a critical condition, he made a recovery and went on to continue performing.
Robbie Jansen passed away on 7 July 2010 at the Kuils River Hospital.
Staff Writer. (2010, 07 08). 'Legend leaves indelible mark as Cape jazz pioneer;. Cape Times , p. 10.|Zvomuya, P. (2010, 07 07). 'Robbie Jansen dead at 61'. Retrieved 09- 07-2010, from Mail & Guardian: http://www.mg.co.za/article/2010-07-07-robbie-jansen-dead-at-61