Pictures of Franco & TPOK Jazz in the 1950s and 60s
Browse History
Genesis of TPOK Jazz
The 1960s
The Early 1970s
The Late 1970s
The Early 1980s
The Mid 1980s
The Late 1980s
After Franco
Profiles of Ok Jazz alumni

Browse Photo Galleries
1960s Gallery
1970s Gallery
Early 1980s Gallery
Late 1980s Gallery
1990s Gallery

    Young Franco

    Franco made his professional debut at age 12 with a group known as Watam that was led by Paul Ebengo Dewayon. By his late teens, Franco was already a sensation in Zairean music circles

    Jean Serge Essous and Rossignol
    When TPOK Jazz was formed in 1956, the band leader was not Franco. It was Jean Serge Essous who is pictured here on the left. Essous played the Clarinet. On the right is another founder member of TPOK Jazz Rossignol who was the bassist
    After leaving TPOK Jazz, Essous went on to found influential bands such as Les Bantous dela Capitale and Ry-Co Jazz

    Edo Nganga, Dessouin, Roitelet, Rossignol
    Original TPOK Jazz members:
  • Nicolas Bosuma  aka "Dessoin", originally a rythm guitarist and later played conga drums
  • Daniel Loubelo, popularly known as "De La Lune" (Of the Moon)
  • Singer Vicky Longomba who was lead vocalist and seen by many as the leader when Essous left
  • Edo Nganga was a vocalist
  • Singer Celestin Kouka who also played the Maracas
  • Far right is Franco who at this time had not assumed leadership of the band

  • TPOK Jazz in 1963 early 1960s
    By 1963 the band had grown to over twenty members and Franco had taken over as band leader.


  • Verkys

    Lutumba Simaro in the 1960s
    Lutumba Simaro pictured on the far left, first joined TPOK Jazz in 1961, left in the same year and returned in 1963
  • Next to him is Hubert 'Djeskin' Dihunga, a singer who was recruited by Vicky Longomba

    Isaac Musekiwa
    One of the most prominent members of TPOK Jazz in the 1960s was the Zimbabwean saxophonist Musekiwa Isaac.  Musekiwa joined TPOK Jazz in 1957 and stayed on until Franco's passing in 1989 Next to him is Albino Kalombo, a multi-instrumentalist who mostly played saxophone. His stay at OK Jazz was brief.

    franco vicky longomba
    Vicky Longomba centre) was the nominal leader of TPOK Jazz until he abidated that role by accompanying Grand Kalle and Africa Jazz to the Ronde Table talks for independence in 1960. He returned to TPOK Jazz in 1962. He was for many years the Vice President of TPOK Jazz before he fell out with Franco again in 1970.

    Kwamy Munsi
    Vocalist Kwami Munsi was recruited to fill the gap left by the departure of Vicky Longomba in 1960. But Kwamy was a real troublemaker. Once during Franco's absence, he convinced 9 members of TPOK Jazz to leave and join a band aptly named Orchestre Revolution. A livid Franco then released a song called Chicotte which means "whip", Kwamy retaliated by releasing a song called Faux Millionaire in reference to Franco

    TPOK Jazz MPR
    In the late 1960s, TPOK Jazz like many other Zairean bands, were forcibly recruited to be the official band of the then ruling party led by Mobutu Sese Seko. The party was known as MPR (Mouvement populaire de la Révolution))
    In this picture, TPOK Jazz dressed in MPR uniforms, perform at a MPR pilitical rallyy
    From left: Dele Pedro, Musekiwa Isaac, Celi Bitschou, Lola Checain and Youlou Mabialaa