Sunday, 22 July 2012

Dotsax - Tenor Saxophonist Dotun Bankole

Dotun "Dotsax" Bankole
Currently featured in the tenor sax spot in Femi Kuti's Positive Force band is 36-year-old hornman Dotun Bankole, aka Dotsax. The band just returned from its summer tour of England, France, and Spain and I had the chance to catch up with Dotsax at the Africa Shrine in Lagos last Thursday during Femi's rehearsal.

We spent a couple of hours jamming on Saturday afternoon and in between the music I was able to explore Dotun's musical interests and background, on top of jamming on one of his original tunes, Coltrane's Africa, some blues and some free explorations.
The Silver Mark VI

Dotsax started on trumpet rather late in life, at age 19 or 20, and played until his trumpet was stolen at age 24. He switched to sax because he had access to one, and learned it by practicing 12 hours a day for six months. His interests started with highlife but he found himself fascinated by jazz after fellow musicians introduced him to the sounds of Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and Sonny Rollins. He's played with Nigerian masters like Peter King and attributes his current sound to the music he heard in his village growing up plus his fascination with jazz improvisation. Over the past decade he fronted his own band with his brother on keys, although the jazz scene in Nigeria is rather limited. Around nine years ago word was that Femi Kuti was looking for him, and four years ago he finally joined Femi's band full time. He's been touring and recording with Femi ever since and you can catch him and his silver Mark VI on stage at the Shrine on Thursdays and Sundays. 

In addition to his regular gigs backing Femi, Dotsax wants to develop his own original music with a group of his own that offers more room for improvisation. At our jam Saturday he showed easy fluency on tenor and instinctive harmonic knowledge, no problem ripping off interesting and coherent unaccompanied solos. He and I discussed a shared idea of recording a further fusion of jazz and afrobeat and I hope that can come to fruition in the next year. Listen to Dotsax perform a couple of his original compositions here on his MySpace site, which also contains a detailed bio.


  1. it's nice seeing you, i ve heard about you on several ocassionS.i wish one day WE meet in person.I'm st.Emmy.(saxophonist).GOOD BYE.

  2. Nice playing.......guess ds is one of the best we have around Nigeria here.
    Looking forward to seeing u perform in your own frequent gig! One Love bro

  3. Dotsax my brother my friend sky is just d beginning.keep it up bro