b. 10 May 1958, Cape Town, South Africa. Deppa came from a musical family and first learned to play the drums. After relocating to the UK in 1974, however, he switched to trumpet. This was while he was attending secondary school in London. For a while he attended music school but decided that what he was being taught did not align with his own musical thoughts. He left the school but did not abandon his studies, opting instead for private tuition. Soon, his bright and forceful sound and his potent musical blending of South African traditions and contemporary European jazz were attracting attention. He began his professional career as a member of Dave Holdsworth’s quartet and also played with a band led by Johnny Mbizo Dyani.
Since then, Deppa has played trumpet and flügelhorn and sometimes recorded with a rich array of contemporary international jazz talent, including among many Brian Abrahams’ District Six, drummer Tom Bancroft, Harry Beckett, Art Blakey, Carla Bley’s big band, drummer Joe Gallivan, the Grand Union Orchestra, guitarist Billy Jenkins, vocalist Francine Luce, Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood Of Breath, Miriam Makeba, Louis Moholo, Evan Parker, Courtney Pine’s Jazz Warriors, Dudu Pukwana, Dewey Redman, Archie Shepp, Andy Sheppard’s Big Co-Motion and Short Cuts, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Gail Thompson (making a 13-country tour in 1995), and Steve Williamson. Deppa has formed and leads several bands, including the African Jazz Explosion, Horns Unlimited and Five Funky Fellas. His music, dizzyingly eclectic, incorporates African, world, Afro-Cuban, jazz, improvised, soul, funk and European chamber music, all of which he plays with a brilliant and pungent sound.