If infatuation with the United States provided the inspiration and the examples, it also set the standards and furnished a means by which local artists could be deemed to have succeeded. Favourable comparison with an individual, group or style in the US was the ultimate stamp of approval. For the top performers, such accolades were common. Peter Rezant, leader of what many considered to be the country's most prestigious dance band, the Merry Blackbirds, remembers that he used to feel immense pride when audiences confirmed that they could dtect 'no difference' between his band's performance of a number and the way that number sounded on an imported record. Though their greatest rivals, the Jazz Maniacs, were less accomplished readers that the Merry Blackbirds and therefore often learnt pieces directly from recordings, that did not prevent then from achieving the same standards or receiving similar compliments.
-Christopher Ballantine, Marabi Nights: Early South African Jazz and Vaudeville, Ravan Press, 1993.