For many, Drum became synonymous with jazz. Jazz culture became an almost inescapable aspect of the urban black population in South Africa. Drum tracked down many jazz artists: King Force, Kippie Moeketsi, who was written to have “the ghost of Charlie Parker liv[ing] in him”, Dorothy Musuka, Dolly Rathebe, Gray Mbawu, Peter Rezant and his Famous Merry Blackbirds. Images of jazz icons and their escapades covered the pages, and were accompanied by reviews and reports written by Todd Matshikiza.
Todd lead the musical side of drum. A musician himself, he “attacked the typewriter like a piano”, and readers loved “Matshikese”: Todd’s natural rhythm, that flowed into his words, as it did his entire persona. All brisk staccato and cadence.
Music – like shabeens, sport, sex and scandal- offered a distraction and escape from the brutalities and turbulence of apartheid, and as Todd put it “where so much life is found, good jazz is found”: for him -and the vast majority of readers- jazz accompanied life.