Modern Jazz Standards: Music with Culturally Converging Melodies, Harmonies and Riffs

Badass Miles Davis in Concert; he originated "cool jazz", " jazz rock fusion", and hard bop.
Badass Miles Davis in Concert; he originated "cool jazz", " jazz rock fusion", and hard bop.
Thelonious Monk's music in this album revels in the angular and odd meters.
Thelonious Monk's music in this album revels in the angular and odd meters.
Dizy Gillespie was talented trumpet player popular for his bebop style of paying. He played in the stratosphere, high notes many trumpet players today don't even dream of playing. He began his jazz career playing in swing bands and was one of the pio
Dizy Gillespie was talented trumpet player popular for his bebop style of paying. He played in the stratosphere, high notes many trumpet players today don't even dream of playing. He began his jazz career playing in swing bands and was one of the pio
John Coltrane's anguished tone and multi-noted, rhythmically complex solos quickly elevated him to the front ranks of jazz. The incredible technical and harmonic content of his playing at that time led to a style described as "sheets of sound," that,
John Coltrane's anguished tone and multi-noted, rhythmically complex solos quickly elevated him to the front ranks of jazz. The incredible technical and harmonic content of his playing at that time led to a style described as "sheets of sound," that,
Charles Mingus and his innovations have set standards for the current Avant-garde scene and was known for his towering forceful presence, virtuoso bass playing and intimidating rants at the audience; he would in no way tolerate an unfocused audience
Charles Mingus and his innovations have set standards for the current Avant-garde scene and was known for his towering forceful presence, virtuoso bass playing and intimidating rants at the audience; he would in no way tolerate an unfocused audience
Max Roach innovated drum playing that instead of keeping time, he made music with the drum
Max Roach innovated drum playing that instead of keeping time, he made music with the drum
Rhasaan Roland Kirk used multiple horns to play true chords, and functioned as a one man saxophone section.
Rhasaan Roland Kirk used multiple horns to play true chords, and functioned as a one man saxophone section.
Herbie Hancock was the first jazz artist to embrace electronic musical instruments fully-  and he has played music in the following genres: Jazz, post bop, Modal Jazz, Jazz Standards, Jazz Fusion, Hard Bop, Jazz-Funk, funk. R&B, Acid Jazz and Electro
Herbie Hancock was the first jazz artist to embrace electronic musical instruments fully- and he has played music in the following genres: Jazz, post bop, Modal Jazz, Jazz Standards, Jazz Fusion, Hard Bop, Jazz-Funk, funk. R&B, Acid Jazz and Electro
To know the Wayne Shorter of this moment, the one about to turn 80 years old, is to know the Wayne Shorter of our memories. He is still the innovator
To know the Wayne Shorter of this moment, the one about to turn 80 years old, is to know the Wayne Shorter of our memories. He is still the innovator

*Jazz Is Syncretized Cultures in Melodious Riffs

SIDE B

Slave music was an especially distinctive cultural form. Africans did not draw a clear line between secular and sacred music and , like many of their ancestors in Africa, sang a a great variety of work songs and spirituals. Their lyrics, intonations, and singing style were marked by poetic beauty, emotional intensity and rich imagery.

This was infused into the music we call today Jazz Stadards, which is a warm and round sound consistently maintained throughout all the full range of instruments. This enabled the modern jazz musicians to be able to articulate every note, high tempos with no difficulties, and this served to enhance their impression of speed of execution. In another way, their sense of harmony was developed to a very high level, and this enabled them to deliver bold statements through complex harmonic progressions(chord changes), and in the process embodying the linear, "Algebraic" terms of bebop harmony.

Jazz music combined element from African call and response patterns into its instrumentation and riffs. As a budding art form, white people looked at this form of music as the 'savage's crash and bang' and that the performers of Ragtime and Jazz were not "innovators, but incompetents". Jazz's expressive and and pulsating style in the beginning served to buttress racial stereotypes, and was received with some skepticism and rejection.. There was animosity towards the emergence and rise of this Black Cultural signification. This prompted an American writer, Lawrence to to interpret the role of jazz as a catalyst of a shifting national consciousness as follows:

"Culturally, we remained to a much larger extent than we have yet recognized, a colonized people attempting to define itself in the shadow of the former imperial power. Jazz was an expression of that other side of ourselves that strove to recognize the positive aspects of our newness and our heterogeneity; and we learned to be comfortable with the fact that a significant part of our heritage derived from Africa and other non-European sources; and that we recognize in the various syncretized cultures, that became so characteristic of the United States an embarrassing weakness', was instead a dynamic source of strength."

The nature of jazz is to strive for cultural convergence between Africans and whites and according to saxophonist Sonny Rollins, "Jazz has always been a music of integration." In the 1920s and 1930s, jazz gained in popularity and there was growing interest in young whites who were attracted to the artistic, personal as well as cultural freedom of expression jazz had to offer.

There were well-known white musicians such as Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Milton Mezzrow, Mugsy Spanier or Joe Sullivan, who were inspired by Afro-American icons and jazz masters like Louis Armstrong and his contemporaries. The acceptance of jazz spread across the Atlantic and by the mid 20th century, and this made it to become international. Today, Jazz music is regarded as an integral and vibrant part of American culture, the music that is unique and native to America, and a world-wide representative of African American culture.

Jazz is distinctly modern in sound and manner. According to Lawrence Levine: "Jazz was, or seemed to be the product of a new age... raucous, discordant.... accessible, spontaneous... openly and interactive and participatory music." Daniel Gregory Mason stated that jazz "is so perfectly adapted to robots that one could be deduced from the other.

Jazz is thus the exact musical reflection of modernist industrial capitalism," and jazz has also been likened to the sound of of the past and resent, and Irving Berlin called jazz the "music of the machine age." Players drew influences from everyday street talk in Harlem , as well as from French Impressionist paintings. The Improvised nature begs the player to dismantle and examine pre-existing structure within music. As tribute to the modernity of jazz, one needs to examine various media that drew influences from the jazz.

It is very hard to define Jazz and as has already been pointed-out in the Article on Dig-A-Jazz and briefly in this article, it is music that comes from a black experience of life in slavery, from prison songs, work songs and religious music in the black churches. Berendt says that "Jazz is a form of art music which originated in the United States through the confrontation of Africans with European music, and jazz has a special relationship to time, defined as "swing", "a spontaneity and vitality of musical production in which improvisation plays a role""; and "sonority and manner of phrasing which mirror the individuality of the performing jazz musician".

Travis Jackson offered his own definition of Jazz by stating that" "Jazz is music that includes qualities such as "swinging', improvising, group interaction,developing an 'individual voice'[signature], and being 'open' to different possibilities. Krin Gabbard claims that "jazz is a construct or category that , while artificial, still is useful to designate "a number of musics with enough in common to be understood as part of a coherent tradition." Ja, is the pithy depth of the human soul in swing.

Jazz standards are musical compositions that are widely known, performed and recorded by jazz artists as part of their jazz musical repertoire These are tunes written in or after the 1950s that are considered standards by at least one major "fake book" or reference book. A fake book is a collection of musical lead sheets intended to help a performer quickly learn new songs.

Each song in a fake book contains the melody line, basic chords, and lyrics - the minimal information needed by a musician to make an impromptu arrangement of a song, or "fake it'. The fake book is a central part of the culture of playing music in public, particularly in jazz, where improvisation is especially valued.

Fake books are not intended for novices: the reader must follow and interpret the scant notation, and is expected to have thorough familiarity with cords and sheet music. However, fake books can be an avenue to playing songs quickly; a few chords and a one-note melody line can allow an amateur to play a passable version of any song with relative ease.(Wiki)

This issue will be appreciating and digging into the artists who evolved the Jazz standards form the 1950s onwards. In order or us to understand jazz, it is important to have a clearer appreciation of what made the music of the 1950s be called the Jazz standards or Modal jazz. To understand modal jazz requires knowledge of musical modes. In bebop as swell as in hard bop, musicians use chords to provide the background solos. A song starts with a theme that introduces the chords for the solos. These chords are repeated throughout the whole song, while the soloist play new, improvised themes over the repeated chord progression. By the 1950s, improvising over chords had become such a dominant part of jazz, that sidemen at recording dates were sometimes given nothing more than a list of chords to play from. Creating innovative solos became exceedingly difficult.

In the later 1950s, spurred by the experiments of composer and bandleader George Russel, musicians began using a modal approach. They chose not to write their songs using chords, but instead used modal scales. This means that the bassist, for instance, does not have to 'walk' from one important note of a chord to that of another, as long as they stay in the scale and accentuate the right notes.

The pianist does not have to play the same cords or variations of the chords, but can play anything within the scale being used. The way a soloist creates a solo changed dramatically with the advent of modal jazz. Before, a soloist played a solo that fit into a set of chords. However, with modal jazz, a soloist creates a melody in one scale(typically). Therefore, the goal of the musician in modal jazz is to make the melody interesting as possible. Modal Jazz is, in a sense, a return to Melody.

Musicians in the Beat Of Modern Jazz

Miles Davis

Miles Davis III, was born on May 26, 1926 and passed on in September 28, 1991 and was known as an American Jazz Trumpeter, bandleader and composer. Miles was born into an affluent family in Alton,Illinois. His father was a dentist and in 1927 he moved the family to East St. Louis. Miles' father owned a big ranch in northern Arkansas, and that is where he learned to ride horses. His mother, Cleota Mae(henry) Davis, encouraged her son to play piano.

She was a jazz pianist herself, and tried to hide that from Miles. He started his lessons at age 13, and his father gave him a trumpet and hired Elwood Buchanan, a local musician, to teach Miles blowing the trumpet. Buchanan taught Miles to play without vibrato, and this eventually became Miles' signature throughout his career. Ashley Kahn quotes that Miles said: "I prefer a round sound with no attitude in it, like a round voice with not too much tremolo and not too much Baseline bass. Just right in the middle. If I can't get that sound, I can't play anything." Miles was also influenced by Clark Terry earlier on in his life.

By the age of 16, Miles belonged to the music society and worked professionally when he was not in school. When he was 17, he spent a year playing the Blue Devils, which was bandleader's Eddie Randle's band. Sonny Stitt tried to cajole him to join the tiny Bradshaw's which was passing through town, but Miles's mother refused and wanted him to finnish his high school first.

In 1944, Billy Eckstine's band visited East St. Louis, and at that time Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parer were members of the Band, and Miles was taken on as the third trumpet because Buddy Anderson was sick on that gig. When Eckstine's band left, they did so without Miles because his parents wanted him to complete his formal education. In the Fall of 1944, Following his high school graduation, he moved to New York City and took up his studies at the Julliard School of Music.

When he arrived in New York, Miles spent his few weeks in town trying to locate Charlie Parker, and a lot of people discouraged him form meeting with him, including Coleman Hawkins (Davis/Troupe). After he located his idol, Miles became part of the jazz musicians became part of the jam sessions that were kept in Minton's Playhouse and Monroe's in Harlem.

Miles met a lot of young and budding musicians like Fats Navarro, Freddie Webster, J.J. Johnson, Thelonious Monk and Kenny Clarke, regular attendees of these sessions, just to name a few. Miles dropped out of Julliard, but he asked for permission first, from his father to do so. Miles criticized the Julliard that it centered too much on the classical European and "white' repertoire. But Miles also acknowledged that Julliard contributed to the theoretical background that he could rely greatly upon in later years.

Miles played and performed in several 52nd Street clubs with Coleman Hawkings and Eddie "lockjaw" Davis. In 1955 he recorded in the studio with the group of Harry Fields, and as a sideman. In 1946, formed his group as a leader of the Miles Dais Sextet and by this time was a member of the Charlie Parker quintet. In 1945, Dizzy Gillespie parted ways with Charlie Parker. With Parker's quintet, Miles recorded "Now's The Time", wherein he takes a melodic solo.

The toured the USA, and whilst in Los Angeles, Parker had a nervous breakdown, which left Miles stranded and he collaborated at that time with Charles Mingus, and finally got a job with Bill Eckstine, and this brought Miles to New York again. Eventually Miles had a confrontation and left an this time in his life he freelanced as a sideman in many important combos of the New York scene.

In 1948 he connected with composer and arranger, Gil Evans. At Evans house he met with Gerry Mulligan, Max Roach and John Lewis. Evans formed a group out of the sounds of Duke Ellington and Claude Thornhill and, Miles became associated with Evans' nonet. From this combo Miles made his objective was to achieve a sound similar to a human voice over carefully arranged compositions and giving preeminence to a relaxed and melodic approach in the improvised parts.(Miles)

The Nonet was active up to the end of 1949 and its personnel included Gerry Mulligan, Bill Barber(tuba), Lee Konitz(Alto), was preferred to Sonny Stitt, who was too bop orientated; Al Haigh(Piano); Mike Zwerin and Kai Winding(Trombones); Junior Collins, Sandy Siegelstein and Gunther Schuller(French Horn); Al McKibbon and Joe Shulman(Bass). Kenny Haggood, a singer, was added for one track recording played in the Nonet.

The Nonet did not become a commercial success, but became clearer years later to the critics and larger public. Miles invented "cool Jazz", and was unhappy that the accolades for that genre were attributed to Gerry Mulligan and Dave Brubeck for being the front-runner. Miles toured France and fell in-love with actress Juliette Greco. He also liked France because he saw that jazz musicians were respected much more than in the US.

Miles went back to New York after separation with Greco; he also was depressed by this critics who were not appreciating him, but his competitors did as noted above; also, his problems with Irene, a former schoolmate with whom she had two children were all these issues that led him to be hooked on heroin which affected him for the next four years. MIles went back to his father's home and tried to kick out the habit.

In Chicago he met with Amhmad Jamal whose elegant approach and use of space influenced Miles and he severed his stylistical play with bebop. Miles said: "Back in Bebop, everybody used to play real fast. But I didn't ever like playing a bunch of scales and shit. I always tried to play the most important notes in the chord, to break it up. I used to all them musicians playing all them scales and notes and never nothing you could remember."

Miles's most important recordings of this period were "Dig", "Blue Haze", "Bags' Groove", "Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants" and "Walkin'" All these were recorded after after his recovery from addiction in 1951 and 1954. Other important recordings are five Blue Note recordings collected in the Miles Davis Volume 1.

The critics said that the album Walkin' created 'hard bop', and that the music of hard bop distanced itself from using slower tempo and a less radical approach to harmony and melody, and distanced itself from cool jazz by virtue of its harder beat and constant reference to the blues both traditional form and in the form made popular by rhythm and blues. Miles is reported to have had confrontation with Thelonius Monk during the recording of Bags Groove. Miles, of course, denies that this ever happened

In 1955 he attended the Newport Festival and was in good health and came back to New York, and played a resounding solo in the tune "Around Midnight". Miles formed the "First Quintet with Miles(Trumpet), John Coltrane(tenor Saxophone), Red Garland(piano), Paul Chambers(bass) and Philly Joe Jones on drums. Their repertoire included many bebop mainstays, standards from the Great American Songbook, and some traditional tunes.

Davis played long, legato and essentially melodic lines; Coltrane, as a leading figure during those years of the musical scene, contrasted by playing high-energy solos. In 1956, Miles wanted to leave Prestige, but had to fulfill his obligations and made two days of recordings. Prestige released these recordings in the following years as four albums: "Relaxing with Miles Davis Quintet: "Steaming with the Miles Davis Quintet"; "Working with the Miles Davis Quintet" and "Cooking with the Miles Davis Quintet".

Miles, in 1958, recruited Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, Coltrane(who had weaned himself from drugs and revitalized from hanging and jamming with Thelonious Monk), Philly Joe Jones, and he fired Garland and replacing him with Bill Evans and drummer Jimmy Cobb, and had formed a sextet, toured extensively, and as Bill Evans burned out, he was replaced with Wynton Kelly, who brought to the band a swinging, bluesy approach in substitution to Evans' more delicate playing.

Miles recorded a series of albums with Gil Evans, often playing flugelhorn as well as trumpet and these are, "Miles Ahead"(1957); "Porgy and Bess"(1958); "Sketches of Spain"(1959-1960); Quiet Nights(1962) Miles then form what he called a seminal trio with Gill Evans. Miles and George Russel regarding modal blues, gave us the birth of the cool sessions, which generated an improvisational approach. While on break from the sessions, Miles was assaulted by the New York City Police, accused of being with a white woman and arrested. Later Miles dropped the proceedings in a plea bargain so that he could get his suspended Cabaret Card back.

In 1961, he recorded "Someday My Prince Will Come", this included Jimmy Heath, Sony Stitt and Hank Mobley. In 1963, along with Tony Williams and Herbie Hancock on piano, Davis and Coleman and the rhythm section recorded "Seven Steps to Heaven". In 1963, he recorded "My Funny Valentine" and he played the repertoire of bebop standards but tackled with increasing structural and rhythmic freedom and breakneck speed.

In 1964 he enlisted the composition services of Wayne Shorter with tunes like "Footprints" and "Nefertiti" In a two night Chicago gig in late 1965 in a live engagement performance, Miles band was still playing standards and bebop songs. In 1966 he did a series of studio recordings, "Miles Smiles" being one, "Sorcerer"(1967), "Nefertiti"(1967), "Miles in the Sky"(1968) and "Filles de Kilimanjaro"(1968). Miles' approach to improvisation became known as "Time no Changes" or "Freebop" because he abandoned the chord-change- based approach of bebop for a modal approach.

In 1967, the band began playing continuously, with each tune flowing into the next and only the melody indicating any sort of demarcation. Miles's band continued to play like this until his retirement in 1975, Miles davis influences included Acid rock, funk, with artists like Sly and family Stone, James Brown and Jimmy Hendrix, and he met all these people through Betty Mabry, whom he married and divorced a year later. This musical transition required Miles and his band adapt to electric instruments.

By the time he recorded "In A Silent Way", he had used players like Hancock, Chic Corea, Joe Zawinul, John McLaughlin, Jack DeJohnette, Airito Moreira and Bennie Maupin to record "Bitches Brew", which hit Gold status by 1976. "In A Silent Way" was the first fusion of Rock and Jazz, which came to be known as Jazz-Rock-Fusion. Starting with "Bitches Brew", Miles began to feature cover art more in line with psychedelic art or black power art than in his past albums. Miles took pay cut to open for groups like the Grateful Dead, Santana and the Steve Miller Band. In the 1970s he recorded such performances: "Live at the Filmore East", March 7, (1970); "It's About That time"(March 1970); "Black Beauty"(April 1970) and "Miles Davis at Filmore"; "Live at the Filmore East"(June 1970). By the time of "Live-Evil" in December 1970. Davis's band transformed into a much funk-orientated, experimenting with the wah-wah effects on his horn. . He incorporated Gerry Batz, Keith Jarrett and Michael Henderson and called the band "Cellar Door Band", which never recorded in a studio, but is documented in the six CD Box Set "The Cellar Door Session", recorded over four nights in 1970. In 1971 he dedicated an album and called it "A Tribute to Jack Johnson" featuring John McLaughlin Sonny Sharrock, Herbie Hancock on Farfisa organ and Bill Cobham(Drummer). Miles Made the Album, "On the Corner" in 1972 for the young African American audience, and in it he blended funk elements with the traditional jazz styles he has played his entire career. In 1972, he recorded in the Philharmonic Hall the album "In Concert"(1972). In 1974 he recorded "Big Fun", an album containing four long jams, and he also recorded "Get Up With It", and these were his recordings for those past four years. In 1976 he suffered from osteoarthritis, sickle-cell anemia,depression,bursitis, ulcers and alcoholism, and he was teetering on a physical breakdown and required vast amounts of vodka and narcotics to complete his engagements.

In 1979 he hooked-up with Cecily Tyson, he was able to overcome his cocaine addiction and and recorded "The Man With the Horn" between 1979 and 1981. In 1981 he recorded "We Want Miles". In 1984 he released "Decoy"; in 1985 he recorded "You're Under Arrest", also Cindy Lauper's "Time After Time" and "Human Nature" from Michael Jackson. In 1986 he reunited with Marcus Miller and produced "Tutu". Miles Davis died on September 28, 1991 from stroke, pneumonia and respiratory failure in santa Monica, California at the age of 65. He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, in the Bronx. There is so much that still can be written about Miles, but I think this should suffice.

Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk was born October 10, 1917 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and was the son of Thelonious and Barbara Monk. In 1922 his family moved to 243 West 63rd street in Manhattan, New York. He started playing at age six, he had some formal training and eavesdropped on his sister's piano lessons, but mainly he was self-taught. He attended Stuyvesant Hight School, and in his teens he toured with an evangelists, and played the church organ and in his late teens found work playing jazz. Monk is believed to be playing the piano on the recordings by Joe Newman around 1941 at the Minton's Playhouse.

His style was described as "hard swinging" with a touch of Art Tatum's running style. Monk was influenced by Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson, and other stride pianists. The Minton's stint and scene was important in the formulation of Bebop, and it brought Monk in close contact and collaboration with other bebop's giants like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Christian, Kenny Clarke, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis..

Mary Lou Williams talked about Monk's inventiveness and that this was vital for fellow musicians and they incorporated his musical ideas without giving due credit. Mary Lou Williams stated that: "The boppers worked out a music that was hard to steal. I'll say this for the 'leeches', though: they tried. I've seen them at Minton's busily writing on their shirt cuffs or scribbling on the tablecloth, and even our own guys, I'm afraid, did not give Monk the credit he had coming. Why, they even stole his idea of the beret and bop glasses."

In 1944 Monk made his first recordings with, and he later joined Hawkings with Coltrane in the 1957 session. Monk made his debut as a bandleader for Blue Note in 1947, and was later anthologized on Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1, which showcased his talents as a composer of original melodies for improvisation. According to The Penguin Guide to Jazz, Monk was one of the giants of American music. Monk had a unique improvisational style and made many contributions to the standard jazz repertoire , and these included tunes were, "Epistrophy," "Round Midnight," "Blue Monk," "Straight, No Chaser" and "Well, You Needn't."

He was regarded as the founder of bop, and Monk's playing style later evolved away from that style, because his compositions and improvisations were full of dissonant harmonies and angular melodic twists, and are inseparable from Monk's unorthodox approach, combining a highly percussive attack with abrupt, dramatic use of silences and hesitations.

His manner, to the observers, was idiosyncratic, and he had his 'hip' style of suits hats and sunglasses. He would suddenly stop stand up from the piano and dance a few moments and went back to his piano. He had one dance where he would spin counterclockwise and was termed "ring-shout" and "Sufi Whirling". Along with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck, he appeared on the cover of Time Magazine.

Monk married Nellie Smith and had a son, T.S. Monk,now a drummer and a daughter, Barbara, in 1953. After his contract ended with Blue Note, he signed-up with Prestige records, where he ended up collaborating with Art Blakey and Sonny Rollins. In 1954 he produced "Bags Groove" and "Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants" by Miles. Miles and Monk had a raucous relation since Miles found Monk's idiosyncratic accompaniment style difficult to improvise on, and Miles wanted him to lay out and not accompany, this evidently nearly led them to blows. Miles has since dismissed such an altercation as rumors and misunderstanding.

In 1954, Monk went to Paris and met Baroness Pannonica "Nica" de Koenigswarter a member of the Rothschild banking family of England and a patroness of several New York Jazz musicians. She and Monk remained friends until Monk Passed away. Monk was not making enough money, and he signed up with Riverside, who bought his contract from Prestige for a mere pittance.

This convinced Monk to record two albums of his interpretations of jazz standards. Along with Oscar Pettiford he recorded a selection of well-known pieces by Duke Ellington, namely, "Caravan" and "It Don't Mean a Thing(If It Ain't Got That Swing")" and this resulted into an album, "Thelonious Monk Plays the Music of Duke Ellington", and this was an effort to to pave way for for broader acceptance and audience for Monk's unique style.

In 1957, he got his Cabaret and his six month residency was lifter, and he led a quartet with John Coltrane(Tenor) with Wilbur Ware on Bass and Shadow Wilson(Drums), and one short studio session was made by Riverside and released in 1961. In 1957, Monk left Five Spots to join Miles Sextet, which was disbanded. On his second stint with Five Spots, he played with Griffin and later Charlie Rouse on tenor and Ahmed Abdul-Malik on Bass and Roy Hanes on Drums. On October 16, 1958, Monk and de Koenigswarter were found with narcotics in the Baroness's car, and the cops beat up on Monk.

In court his case was dismissed for an unlawful search, detention and assault on the part of the police. By 1962 Monk had signed up with Columbia Records, and had not recorded in a studio since "5 By Monk By 5" in 1959. During his 'Free Jazz' years by Ornette Coleman and modal jazz by Miles Davis in his landmark LP on Columbia 'Kind Of Blue', he ran out his contract with Riverside with a series of live Albums working with Teo Macero on is debut label. For two years he had a stable line-up of Charlie Rouse on Tenor Saxophone, from 1959-1970), Bassist John Ore and Drummer Frankie Dunlop, and in 1963 Columbia debuted "Monk's Dream"

Monk's Dream remains the best-selling LP of Monk in his lifetime. Monk continued to record a number of well-reviewed studio recordings, "Criss Cross" in 1963 and "Underground", in !968. In 1963 he recorded live albums, "Miles and Monk at Newport"(1963); "Live at the It Club" and "Live At The Jazz Workshop both in 1964, and the latter being released in 1982. Monk disappeared from the scene in the 1970s. and his last recordings as a band leader was with the English Black Lion label in November 1971, along with Dizzy Gillespie, Kai Winding,Sonny Stitt, Al McKibbon and Art Blakey.

As his health declined, Monk spent most of his time as a guest on the New Jersey home of his long-standing patron, Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter**, who had also nursed Charlie Parker during his final illness. Monk, although he had a piano in his room, never played it and spoke to a few visitors. Monk died of a stroke on February 17, 1982 and was buried in Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. In 1993 he was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement, and in 2006, was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Price Special Citation.

John "Dizzy" Gillespie

John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was born on October 21, 1917 and was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, singer and composer. He was born in Cheraw, South Carolina, and was the youngest of nine children of James and Lottie Gillespie. His father was a local bandleader and many instruments were available to Dizzy. He started playing piano at age four, and his father died when Dizzy was only 10 years of age. He taught himself trombone and trumpet by the time he was 12 years. From the time he heard his idol, Roy Eldridge, he dreamed of becoming a jazz musician, and got a scholarship to the Laurinburg Institute in Laurinburg, North Carolina but turned it down to start his music career.(Brian Priestly)

In 1935 he got his first professional job with the Frank Fairfax Orchestra, and joined respective orchestras of Edgar Hayes and Teddy Hill. He was in fact replacing Roy Eldridge as the first trumpet in 1937. When he was with Teddy Hill he had his first recording "King Potter Stomp". At the Apollo he met a lady named Lorraine whom he married in 1940 until his passing away in 1993. In 1939 he Dizzy joined with Cab Calloway's Orchestra and in 1940 recorded an instrumental "Pickin' the Cabbage" In 1941 Dizzy left Calloway's band because of an infraction which in the end Dizzy pulled out a knife on Calloway. Dizzy wrote music for Billy Eckstine and his unusual harmonies and in the end he reunited with Charlie Parker. In 1945 he left Eckstines band to start a combo which comprised no more than five musicians paying trumpet, saxophone, piano, bass and drums.

Along with Charlie Parker, Dizzy was a major figure in the development of 'bebop' and 'modern jazz'. He instructed and taught many other musicians including trumpeter Miles Davis, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, Arturo Sandoval, Lee Morgan and John Faddis.(jazz-music-history.com). He was instrumental in the founding of Afro-Cuban jazz, what Jelly Roll Morton referred to as "Spanish Tinge", and Dizzy was a gifted improvisor building up on the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge, but adding layers of harmonic complexity previously unknown in Jazz. His beret and horn-rimmed spectacles, his scat singing, his bent horn, pouched cheeks and his light-hearted personality were essential in popularizing bebop.

Bebop was known as the first modern jazz style, and yet those who were playing swing saw it as not being a positive outgrowth of swing. Swing introduced a diversity of new musicians into the bebop era such as Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powel, Kenny Clarke, Oscar Peterson and Gillespie. These new musicians created a new musical vocabulary of musical phrases. Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie jammed at the famous club house like Minton's Playhouse and Monroe's Uptown House, where they planted the first seeds of bebop.

Charlie Parker's system added chords to chord progressions and implying additional chords with the improvised lines.(Lisa Kato) in 1942 Dizzy had compositions like "Groovin' High", "Woody n' You" and "A Night In Tunisia"(composed by Monk and given to Dizzy as a gift). The song presents and displays Cuban Rhythms. After his work with Parker, Gillespie led other small combos including one with Milt Jackson, John Coltrane, Lalo Schifrin, Ray Brown, Kenny Clarke, James Moody, J.J. Johnson and Yusef Lateef, and Dizzy had finally put together his first successful gig bands.

He occasionally appeared as a frequent guest as a soloist in the Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic. In 1946 he headlined in an independently-produced musical revue film "Jivin' in be-Bop". In 1948 he got into an accident and found out that he could no more hit the B-flat above high. He was awarded $1,000, after they considered his high earnings up to that point.

In the late 1940s Gillespie was involved in the movement called Afro-Cuban music and he incorporated Latin and African elements to greater prominence in Jazz, pop music and particularly Salsa. Afro-Cuban music is based on traditional Cuban Rhythms, and Mario Bauza introduced Dizzy to Chano Pozo in 1947. dizzy worked with Bauza in New York Clubs on 52nd street and famous dance clubs such as Palladium and Apollo theater in Harlem. Dizzy helped develop and mature the Afro-Cuban style.(Scott Yanow).

Dizzy remained true to his bebop style for the rest of his career. In 1960 he was inducted into the Downbeat Jazz Hall of Fame. In1964 he put himself forward as a Presidential candidate. He promised that if he was elected, he would rename the White House into "The Blues House" and cabinet composed of Duke Ellington(Secretary of State); Miles Davis, (Director of the CIA); Max Roach, Minister of Defense); Charles Mingus, (Secretary of Peace); Ray Charles,(Librarian of Congress); Louis Armstrong,(Secretary of Agriculture); Mary Lou Williams, (Ambassador to the Vatican); Thelonious Monk,(Traveling Ambassador); and Malcolm X,(Attorney General). He said his running mate would be Phyllis Diller.

In 1980s Dizzy led the United Nations Orchestra, and he toured with Flora Purim for three years. David Sanchez also toured with group and he says he too was influenced by Dizzy. Both of them were nominated for the Grammy Awards. Gillespie made an appearance on The Cosby show and Sesame Street as well as the Muppet Show. in 1982, Dizzy had a cameo on Stevie Wonder's hit "Do I Do". Dizzy's tone gradually faded in the last years of his life. In 1989 Gillespie gave 300 performances in 27 countries, appeared in 100 US cities in 31 states and the District of Columbia, he also headlined three television specials, performed with two symphonies, and received his fourteenth Honorary Degree and recorded four albums.

John William "Trane" Coltrane

John Coltrane was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Coltrane was born in Hamlet, North Carolina on September 23, 1926 and grew up in HIgh Point, NC, and he attended William Penn High School(Now Penn-Griffin School for the Arts) in High Point, NC. His aunt and grandmother all died within a few months of each other and he was raised by his mom and close cousin. In 1943 he moved to Philadelphia, enlisted in the Navy in 1945, and played in the Navy Jazz Band stationed in Hawaii.

He returned to civilian life in 1946 and began jazz theory studies with guitarist and composer Dennis Sandole and continued up to 1950s. He original played an alto, but when he played with the Eddie Vinson band, he switched to tenor sax. He was impressed by Hawk, Ben and Tab Smith who he felt that things they did he did not understand, but felt them emotionally.

In 1945 he saw Charlie Parker perform and Coltrane said that hearing Bird play for the first time hit him right between the eyes, and Parker became his early idol and they eventually played together in the late 1940s, and by this time he was known as "Trane", and the music he made in 1946 impressed Miles. His recording come from as early as 1945, but many of his peers did not recognize the genius in him, and up to till then, he had played for groups led by Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Bostic and Johnny Hodges in the early-to mid-1950s.

In 1955, while freelancing and studying with Dennis Sandole, hand had been absent from the jazz scene due to his struggles with heroin, then he received a call from Miles, and joined him in Davis band known as the "First Great Quintet", during which Mies released several influential recordings which showcased signs of Coltrane's growing ability. The First Quintet made two marathon recordings session on Prestige in 1956 and resulted in the albums like "Cookin', Relaxin' and Steamin', and afterward the band disbanded due to Coltrane's problems with heroin addiction.

In 1957 Coltrane worked with Thelonious Monk at the Five Spot club, and due to contractual conflicts, partook in only one official studio recordings. In 1957 he made a recording with Thelonious Monk which surfaced in 2005, recorded by Voice of America and the album was called "Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall" and has been widely acclaimed. On "Blue Train", Coltrane was debuting as a leader featuring Lee Morgan on trumpet, Paul Chambers on bass, and Curtis Fuller on Trombone, and this was his best album of this time period.

When Coltrane and Miles hooked-up in January 1958, Ira Gitler coined the term "sheets of sound" describing Coltrane's style during his stint with Miles group, now a sextet. Coltrane's playing was compressed, with rapid runs cascading in hundreds of notes per minute. Coltrane stays with Miles up to 1960, and during that time he worked with Cannonball Adderley(saxophonist), Pianist Red Garland. Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly; bassist Paul Chambers, and drummers Philly Joe Jones and Jimmy Cobb.

By this time he participated in Davis Sessions "Milestones" and "Kind of Blue", and live recordings of "Miles and Monk at Newport" and "Jazz at the Plaza". Coltrane recorded his first album comprising his own compositions called "Giants Steps" for Atlantic Records. The album's title track is considered to have the most complex and difficult chord progression compared to any jazz composition. He altered the chord progression cycles and this led to further experimentation with improvised melody and harmony that continued throughout 'Tranes' jazz career.

Coltrane formed his first quartet in 1960 and his personnel included Steve Kuhn, Pete La Roca and Billy Higgins, and it stabilized with the addition of MCCoy Turner and Elvin Jones. He was able to release "Coltrane's Sound" and "Coltrane Plays the Blues". He employed restless harmonic movements on "Coltrane Changes", "Giant Steps" and movement in major 'thirds' rather than conventional perfect fourths over the A sections instead of a conventional turnaround progression.

Some tracks that utilized this harmonic device include "26-2," "Satellite," "Body and Soul," and "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes." After his contract with Atlantic in 1961, Coltrane joined Impulse Records enabling him to work with Rudy Van Gelder, who taped both his and Davis's Prestige sessions, as well as "Blue Train. In the studios of Van Gelder in Engelwood, New Jersey, Coltrane recorded most of his records with the label. In 1961 he replaced bassist with Reggie Workman and Eric Dolphy joined the group as a second horn, and by November 1961 he became a resident at the Village Vanguard, and he unfurled his new direction.

He was featuring the most experimental music he'd played up to that time, influenced by Indian Ragas, modal jazz and the free jazz movement. In 1962, Coltrane was producing and searching for spirituality in his work. He was playing harmonically complex music which allowed him to expand his improvisations rhythmically, melodically and motivically. He still maintained harmonically complex music on stage and he favored reworking his "standards": "Impressions", "My Favorite Things", and "I Want To Talk About You".

Coltrane had an interest in Avant-garde as played by Onrette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra and others. He was influenced by the dissonance of Ayler's Trio, and Coltrane championed younger free jazz musicians like Archie Shepp. Under his influence, Impulse! became a leading fee jazz recording label. Around 1965, Coltrane's playing became more abstract, with greater incorporation of devices like multiphonics, utilization of overtones, and playing in the altissimo register, as well as a mutated return to his "sheets of sound" repertoire.

This can be found through the recordings of "The John Coltrane Quartet Plays", "Living Space", "Transition", "New Thing at Newport", "Sun Ship" and First Meditations. All these numbers were recorded throughout the whole of 1965. In June 1965, with 10 musicians, Shepp, Pharaoh Sanders, Freddie Hubbard, Marion Brown and John Tchicai, they recorded "Ascension", which was 40 minutes ling and included adventurous solos by the young Avant-garde musicians along with Coltrane, and this was controversial for for the collective improvisations that separated the solos.

Coltrane asked Pharaoh Sanders to join the band in 1965, and the more Coltrane played with Sanders, the more he gravitated towards Sander's unique sound. Coltrane was also influenced by John Gilmore which can be heard on Coltrane's late-period music. He was so taken by Gilmore that he ended up taking informal lessons from Gilmore. Rashied Ali joined the band and Tyner left after recording "Meditations" and Coltrane had begun using LSD, and on June 17, 1967, Coltrane died from liver cancer and was buried at Pinelawn Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York. His family are still in possession of much as yet unreleased music. The influence Coltrane has had on music spans many generations, and he influence was both in jazz, avant-garde. He was inducted into the the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame.

Charles Mingus

Charles Mingus Jr. was born on April 22, 1922 and his mother's paternal heritage was Chinese and English. His father was an 'illegitimate' offspring of a Black farmhand and is Swedish employer's granddaughter. His mother only allowed church music to be played in the house. Mingus grew to love jazz more especially the music of Duke Ellington. He studied the trombone and cello and applied most of the technique on the double bass by the time he was in high school and took up on the bass. For five years he studied under the principal bassist of the New York Philharmonic, and compositional techniques with Lloyd Reese(Mingus)

In his teens, Mingus wrote advanced pieces which were similar of Third Stream jazz, and a couple of them were recorded in 1960, conducted by Gunhter Schuller. He continued to be a bass prodigy and his first major professional gig was with Barney Bigard, Ellington's clarinetist. He toured with Louis Armstrong in 1943, , and in 1945 recorded with Russel Jacquet's band, included were Teddy Edwards, Maurice Simon, Bill davis and Chico Hamilton.. and in the same year recorded again with a band led by Howard McGhee.

In the late 1940s, he played with the Lionel Hamptons Band. The trio of Mingus, Red Norvo and Tal Farlow received acclaim, but because of his mixed ancestry caused problems with the club owners, and he left the group. He briefly became a member of Duke's band substituting for Wendell Marsha. His notorious temper got him fired from Duke's band after an on-stage fight between Mingus and Juan Tizol. He jammed in the early sixties with Charlie Parker, and he ended up having a love-hate relationship with Parker's legacy. He was disgusted with Parker's drug abuse and disliked the romanticization of drug usage by other jazz musicians.

In 1952 he co-founded Debut Records with Max Roach so that he could record music as he saw fit, and they also wanted to record unrecorded young musicians; their company issued the most prominent figures in bebop. In 1953 he joined Gillespie, Parker Bud Powell, and Max Roach in a concert at Massey Hall, Toronto. Mingus objected to the way record companies treated musicians, and Gillespie once observed that he never received any royalties for years for his

Massey appearances. Mingus overdubbed his barely-audible bass in New York, featuring the trio of him, Powell and Roach and this was among Debut Records earliest releases. The records are regarded as among the finest live jazz recordings. One time as they were jamming in a club, Mingus was seen denouncing his fellow musicians as sick people and he should not be associated with these sick people to the audience, after Powell had been beaten by cops and he was drunk, and Parker had acted up on stage.

This was Parker's last performance and he died a week later after years of drug and alcohol abuses. Mingus over time worked with an ensemble of 8-10 members, of rotating musicians and these sessions were known as the Jazz Workshops(Musicians dubbed these as Sweatshop) . Musicians like Pepper Adams, Jaki Byard, Booker Ervin, John Handy, Jimmy Knepper, Charles McPherson and Horace Parlan. were Molded by Mingus into a cohesive improvisational unit which anticipated free Jazz. Other musicians called these sessions to be the "University" for jazz.

The following decade Mingus produced some thirty records in ten years for Atlantic Records, Candid, Impulse! Records and others, only Ellington did better. As a bandleader in 1956, he released "Pithecanthropus Erectus" his major work as a bandleader and composer. He involved blues-orientated musicians like Mal Waldron(Piano), Jackie McLean(Alto saxophonist and the Sonny Rollins influenced tenor of J.R. Monterose. In 1957, on Atlantic Records, he released "The Clown", with an improvised story by the humorist Jean Shepherd, featuring Dannie Richmond as drummer, who remained Mingus's preferred drummer until Mingus passed away. Mingus witnessed Ornette Coleman's legendary and controversial appearance at New York City's Five Spot Club. Mingus said: "If the free-form guys could play the same tune twice, the I would say they were playing something... Most of the time they use their fingers on the saxophone and they don't even know what's going to come out." Mingus formed a quartet with Ted Curson(Trumpeter), Eric Dolphy(Saxophone), and Richmond and is often regarded as Mingus rising to the challenging new standard established by Coleman. They recorded their only album called "Charles Mingus presents Charles Mingus", and is always included as one of the best in Mingus's collection. In 1963 Mingus released "The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady", which was a sprawling multi-section masterpiece dubbed as one of the greatest achievements in orchestration by any composer in jazz history.(Nat Hentoff) In 1963 he released an unaccompanied album called "Mingus Plays Piano", with a few pieces entirely improvised and drawn from classical music and jazz, which preceded Keith Jarrett's "The Koln Concert" by twelve years. In 1964 he put together one of the best known sextets that included Dannie Richmond, Jaki Byard, Eric Dolphy, Johnny Coleson trumpet and Clifford Jordan on Saxophone. The group was recorded frequently throughout its existence; Eric Dolphy passed away in 1964, and in the same year, Mingus met Sue Graham Ungaro, and they got married in 1966. Due to financial hardships, Mingus was evicted from his New York home in 1966. His pace slacked from the late 1960s to the early 1970s.. He recorded "Changes One" and "Changes Two"; also "Cumbia and Jazz" was recorded blending Colombian Music with more traditional jazz forms. He taught a semester at the University at Buffalo, the State University as Professor of music. By the 1970s he struck by the Lou Gehrig's disease(Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), which was a wastage of musculature.; he could no more play his bass, but continued to compose, and supervised a number of recordings before his death. Mingus could not complete an album named after him, which featured Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Jaco Pastorious. Mingus died at the age of 56 in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he had travelled for treatment. His ashes were scattered in the Ganges river. Charles Minus, Jr. passed on January 5, 1979, He will always be remembered as an American jazz bassist, composer, bandleader, pianist and activist against racial injustice.

Max Roach

Max Lemuel Roach was born on January 10, 1924 in the Township of of Newland Pasquotank, North Carolina, bordering the Great Dismal Swamp, to Alphonse(father) and Cressie Roach. His family moved to the Bedford-Stuvensant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York at the age of 4. His mother was musical and sang in a gospel choir, and Max started playing the bugle in parade orchestras at a young age. Fresh out of Boys' High School, Brooklyn, New York, in 1942, he was called to fill in for Sonny Greer and play with the Duke Ellington Orchestra which was performing at the Paramount Theater.

By 1942 he started going out to the jazz clubs on 52nd Street and 78th Street & Broadway and played with school mate Cecil Payne for Georgie Jay's Taproom. In the 1940 he started on some new innovations along with jazz drummer, Kenny Clarke- they began to work on some concepts of musical time. By playing the beat-by-beat pulse of standard 4/4 time on the "ride" cymbal instead of on the thudding bass drum, Clarke and Roach developed a flexible, flowing rhythmic pattern that allowed soloists to play freely.

This new approach left space for the drummer to insert dramatic accents on the snare drum, crash" cymbal and other components of the trap set. Roach's technique was matching rhythmic attack with a tunes melody by shifting dynamic emphasis from one part of his drum kit to another within a single phrase, he created a sense of tonal color advantage for the drummer's unique position.(Washington Post.com/The Week, 2007).

This was a revolutionary musical advance that Burt Korall wrote in the Oxford Companion to Jazz: "Drummers experienced awe and puzzlement and even fear." One of those awed drummers, Stan Levey, summed up Roach's importance" "I came to realize that, because of him, drumming no longer was just time, it was music.(Washington Post .com) Along with Kenny Clarke, they were the first drummers to play bebop style, and performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Charile Parker, Thelonious Monk, coleman Hawkings, Bud Powell and Miles Davis. Roach played in many of Parker's records, including the "Savoy" in 1945, which was turning point in recorded jazz.

Max studied classical percussion at the Manhattan School of music from 1950-1953 and worked towards a Bachelor of Music degree, and in 1990, the school awarded him an Honorary Doctorate. He also co-founded Debut records with Charles Mingus. Their label released a recorded concert billed as "the greatest concert ever" called "Jazz at Massey Hall" and it featured Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Mingus and Roach. Under this label, they also released the ground-breaking bass-and-drum free improvisation, Percussion Discussion(History Explorer.net) In 1954 he formed a quintet featuring Clifford Brown(trumpet), Harold Land(Tenor Sax), Richie Powell(Pianist) and George Morrow(bassist). The groups played Bebop andit was short-lived because Brown and Powell were killed in a car crash. After their deaths, Roach produced "Max Roach + 4". He expanded the standard form of of hard bop using 3/4 waltz rhythms and modality in 1957 with his album "Jazz in 3/4 Time". In 1955, he made a number of appearances and recordings with Dinah Washington, and in 1958 appeared with her at the New Port Jazz Festivals, whereas in 1954 appeared in a film, and in 1954 did a live studio recording of "Dinah Jams", and it is considered to be one of the best and overlooked vocal jazz albums of its genre. In 1960 he composed "We Insist! - Freedom Now" suite with lyrics by Oscar Brown Jr. Commenting on African-American experience was significant for his career, but got him blacklisted for a period in the 1960s. In 1966 he recorded the album "Drums Unlimited", which included several tracks were entirely drumming, and Roach proved that drums can be solo instruments and able to play a theme, variations, and rhythmically cohesive phrases. In 1962 he recorded the classic "Money Jungle" with Mingus and Duke Ellington, and was called the very finest trio albums ever made. In 1970s Max formed a unique musical organization - "M'Boom" - which was a percussion orchestra. Each member of the unit composed and performed on many percussion instruments. The personnel included Fred King, Joe Chambers, Warren Smith, Freddie Waits, roy Brooks, Omar Clay, Ray Mantilla, Francisco Mora and Eli Fountain.(Roach)

In the 1980s he began entire concerts solo, and provided a multi-percussion Instrument, and a solo record was released by Bay State, a Japanese label, which is very hard to find. He is best known for recording free improvisation with avant-garde musicians like Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton, Archie Shepp, Abdulah Ibrahim and Connie Crothers. He created Duets with video artist Kit Fritzgerald, who improvised on imagery whilst Roach spontaneously created the music; a duet with Dizzy Gillespie; and a duet recording with Mal Waldron, He wrote music for theater for plays like "Mama E,T.C. in New York City. He created new contexts for presentation by creating unique musical ensembles, the "Double Quartet which joined with the "Uptown String Quartet", which was led by his daughter. Another Ensemble was the "So What Brass Quintet", consisting of two trumpets, trombone, French horn and tuba. The musicians were Cecil Bridgewater, Frank Gordon, Eddie Henderson, Rod McGaha, Steve Turre, Delfeayo Marsalis, Robert Stewart, Tony Underwood, Marshall Sealy and Mark Taylor. Roach also presented his music with orchestras and gospel choruses. He performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; wrote and performed with Walter White Gospel choir and the John Motley Singers. He also performed with dancers like the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Dianne McIntyre Dance Company and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. He also performed in a hip hop concert featuring artist-rapper Fab Five Freddy and the New York Break Dancers. He also performed with the Beijing Trio with pianist Jang and Erhu player, Jeibing Chen. His last recording was with trumpet master Clark Terry in a duet and quartet. His last performance was in Toronto at the Massey Hall concert, performing a solo on the 'hi-hat'. In 1994 Max appeared on "Rush Drummer Neil Peart's Burning for Buddy performing "The Drum Also Waltzes", Part 1 and 2 on volume 1 of the Volume 2 series during the 1994 All-Star recording sessions.(beachwoodreporter.com) He was married to Abbey Lincoln(Aminata Moseka) form 1962-1970. His discography list is too long but starts from 1944 to 2002. Max Roach died in the early morning on August 16, 2007 in Manhattan. He is survived by five children and was interned at the Woodlawn cemetery, Bronx, New York.

Rahsaan Roland Kirk

Rahsaan Roland Kirk was born August 7, 1935 in Columbus, Ohio and he was a blind American musician who played tenor saxophone, and was also a composer, arranger and bandleader and played many other instruments. He was best known for his vitality on stage, where his virtuoso improvisation was accompanied by comic banter, political ranting and ability to play several instruments simultaneously. hHe became blind at an early age because of poor medical treatment. He rarely performed as a sideman, instead wanted to lead his own bands, but has recorded with Quincy Jones and drummer Roy Hanes; he also did some notable stints with Charles Mingus. His best known hit song was playing leading flute and solo on Jones' "Soul Bossa Nova" in 1964, popularized In the Austin Powers films(Jones/Mcleod)

Rahsaan's playing style was rooted in soul jazz and hard pop. His knowledge of jazz history allowed him to draw on many elements of the musical past, that is from Ragtime to Swing and free jazz. He also explored Classical and Pop Music by composers such as Smokey Robinson or Burt Bacharach, John Coltrane and his favorite,Duke ellington. His 1973 live album "Bright Moments is just one example of his many shows. His main instrument was tenor saxophone, supplemented by other saxophones along with the lighter sound of the flute. The fact that most of his instruments were exotic or home-made, gave him a reputation as a vaudeville showman, and even with two saxophones in his mouth he blew intricate and powerful sax with a strong feeling for the blues. He was also very political and used the stage to talk on Black history, civil rights and other issues, which he tipped-over into high comedy.

Kirk played and collected a number of musical instruments like saxophones, clarinets and flutes. He had a tenor saxophone as his main instrument along with two obscure saxophones: the Stritch(a straight saxophone lacking the instrument's characteristic upturned bell) and a Manzello(a modified saxello soprano sax, with a larger, upturned bell). He modified these instruments to accommodate his simultaneous playing technique. Whenever he appeared on stage, he had all three horns hanging around his neck, and a variety of instruments, including flutes, whistles and a gong which he kept within reach. He also played the clarinet, harmonica, English horn, recorders and he was competent in playing a trumpet. He used may other non-musical devices such as the alarm clocks, sirens or a section of common garden hose(which he had started using in his poor childhood). He used tape manipulated musique concrete and primitive electronic sounds, before such things became commonplace. He was an influential flautist, and among many techniques he developed, was one when he sang or hummed into the flute at the same time as playing. Another one was playing the standard transverse flute at the same time as a nose flute.

Whenever Kirk made appearance on stage, a lot of observers thought that the appearances were just the gimmicks of a blind man, and these were dispelled immediately Rahsaan started playing. Kirk always explained that his playing was him trying to emulate the sounds he heard in his head. He was also a major exponent and practitioner of circular breathing and he was able to sustain single note for virtually any length of time, and he could easily play sixteenth note runs of almost unlimited length at high speeds. With his breathing ability, he was able to record "Concerto for Saxophone" on the "Prepare Thyself to Deal With a Miracle" LP with one continuous take of about 20 minutes and playing without a break.

In 1975 he recorded "The Case of the 3 Sided Dream" in audio Color. This was a two LP set issued with spoken works and the fourth side with a blank label. But, besides being blind, he was very much in touch with societal developments, like racial and economic injustice and disparity. He participated in protests against the failure of TV shows hosts like Merv Griffin to hire any non-white musicians. He gleaned his information about world affairs from radio and sounds coming from TV. He also made some recordings and incorporated his spoken comments on Nixon and the Watergate debacle. The "3-sided Dream" album was a concept, which was akin to the Beatles "psychedelic" phase in the incorporation of "found" or environmental sound and tape loops, tapes being played backwards, and so on. Snippets of Billie Holiday singing are heard briefly. The album even confronts the rise of influence of computers in society, and Roland Kirk threatened to pull the plug on a machine that was trying to tell him what to do.

In 1975, Kirk suffered a stroke which led to partial paralysis on one side of his body, but he continued to perform, record, modify his instruments to enable him to pay with one hand. At a live performance at Ronnie Scott's club in London, he managed to play two instruments and carried on to tour internationally and even appear on TV. He died from a second stroke in 1977 after performing in the Frangipani Room of the Indiana University Student Union in Bloomington, Indiana.

Herbie Hancock

Herbert Jeffrey Hancock was born on April 12, 1940 and is an American Jazz Pianist and composer. He is also regarded as one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th Century. His music embraces all elements of funk, and soul and freer stylistic elements from Jazz. His jazz improvisation possesses a unique and creative blend of jazz, blues and modern Classical music with harmonic concept like that of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. He started to play at the age of seven, like many jazz pianists, with a classical education. At the age of eleven he played the first movement of Motzart's Piano Concerto No. 5 at a young people's concert with the Chicago Symphony. Hancock never had a jazz teacher, but was influenced towards jazz when he heard Oscar Peterson and George Shearing's recordings and he transcribed in his own time, and this developed his ear and sense of harmony. He was also influenced by the music of the Hi-Lo's. Herbie Hancock explains his influences: "..by the time I actually heard the Hi-Lo's. I started picking that stuff out; my ear was happening. I could hear stuff and that's when I really learnt some much further-out voicings - like the harmonies I used on "Speak Like a Child" - Just being able to do that. I really got from that from Clare Fischer's arrangements for the Hi-Lo's. Clare Fischer was a major influence on my harmonic concept... He and Bill Evans, and Ravel and Gil Evans, finally. You know, that's where it really came from. Almost all of the harmony that I play can be traced to one of those four people and whoever their influences were."(Coryell/Friedman)

Mancock listened to other pianists like Don Goldberg, McCoy Tyner and Wynton Kelly, and he also studied the recordings of Miles, John Coltrane and Lee Morgan. He started to study Physics as a major at Grinnell College, but after two years switched to music. He once heard Chris Anderson play and went to beg him to accept him as a student. Hancock says that Anderson was his harmonic guru. After graduating from Grinnell in 1961, he joined Donald Byrd and Coleman Hawkings, at the same time he took some courses at Rooseveldt University(Grinnell awarded him an Honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts). When Donald Byrd was attending Manhattan School of Music in New YOrk City, he suggested that Hancock study the compositions of Vittorio Giannini, which he did for a short time in 1960. He recorded his first solo album "Taking Off" for Blue Note Records in 1962. "Watermelon Man" provided Mongo Santamaria with a hit single, but "Taking Off" caught Miles' attention and Hancock and Tony Williams were introduced to Miles who was forming a band at that time.

After he joined Miles's second quintet, Hancock received considerable attention. At this time, Hancock found his voice as a pianist and he also developed a taste for orchestral accompaniment and he used fourths and Debussy-like harmonies with stark contrast that were never heard of in jazz. He had also found a new way of using common chords,he also popularized chords rarely used in jazz. With Williams and Carter he wove a labyrinth intricacy on and around existing melodic and chordal schemes. Through the late sixties, their approach was so sophisticated and unorthodox that conventional chord changes would hardly be discernible, that is why their improvisational concept came to be known as "Time, No Changes" He recorded with other artists like Wayne shorter,Tony Williams, Grant Green, Bobby Hutcherson, Sam River, donald Byrd, Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard. In 1964 he recorded "Empyream Isles" and "Maiden Voyage" were famous and influential in jazz, and they achieved winning praise for their innovation and accessibility. Empyream featured the Davis rhythm of Hancock, Carter, Williams and Freddie Hubbard. Both albums are recognized as among those that are the principal foundations of post-Bop.He also recorded less well known, but are still critically acclaimed albums with large ensembles like "My Point of View"(1963), "Speak Like a Child"(1968) and the "Prisoner"(1969). His Album "Inventions and Dimensions" was entirely improvised music, with Paul Chambers on bass and two latin percussionists Willie Bobo and Osvaldo Martinez. He also insisted on using electric keyboards and a fender Rhodes electric piano, although Miles was reluctant, and also incorporated elements of rock and popular music in his recordings. He was kicked out of the Miles Band for returning late from Brazil, and despite his departure, he continued to appear on Miles records for the nest few years, in tracks like "In a Silent Way," "A Tribute to Jack Johnson," and "On the Corner"

In 1969 he left Blue Note and signed up with Warner records. He recorded a soundtrack for Bill Cosby's RV show Fat Albert. The whole album was titled "Fat Albert Rotunda",The album had an R&B-influenced album with strong jazz overtones. Hancock has always be fascinated by gadgets and toys. Having some influence in Miles's "Bitches Brew, he used electronic instruments coupled with acoustic instruments. Hancock was the firs jazz pianist to completely embrace electronic key boards. He created a sextet comprising Hancock, Bassist Buster Williams and drummer Billy Hart along with a trio of horn players: Eddie Henderson(Trumpet), Julian Priester(trombone), and multireedist Benni Maupin. Herbie added Dr. Patrick Gleeson to mix to play and program synthesizers. This sextet made three recording with Dr. Gleeson added under Herbie's name: "Mwandishi"(1971), "Crossings"(1972), "Sextant"(1973). "Realization" and "Inside Out" were recorded under Henderson's name but with the same personnel mentioned above.

Herbie was bothered by the fact that people did not understand since the Mwandishi albums had gotten mixed reviews and poor sales. In 1973 he created a new band keeping Maupin he added bassist Paul Jackson, percussionist Bill Summers and drummer Harvey Mason and they recorded "Head Hunters" and it was a hit with the pop audiences and prompted criticism from some jazz fans. Head Hunters as a genre affected jazz, funk, soul and hip-hop (AllMusic.co) The Headhunters made another album called "Survival of the Fittest") without Hancock. They reunited with Hancock in 1998 and titled their album the the "Return of the Headhunters". His next jazz-funk album was Man-Child"(1975), and "Secrets"(1976) both pointed out to the commercial direction that Herbie would take over the next decade. In the 1970s and early 1980s Hancock toured with his V.S.O.P. quite which featured all of the members of the 1960s Miles Davis band and he replaced Davis with Freddie Hubbard. They recorded several live albums in the late 1970s including "VSOP"(1976) and "VSOP: The Quintet". In 1978 he recorded a duet with Chick Corea and a solo album called "The Piano"(1978); "Dedication"(1974) "VSOP: Tempest in the Colosseum"(1977) and "Direct Step"(1978). "Live Udder the Sky" was a V.S,O.P. album remastered for the US in 2004.

From 1978-1982, Hancock recorded many albums consisting of jazz--inflected disco and pop music beginning with "Sunlight" that featured Jaco Pastorius and Tony Williams. Singing through the vocoder and he earned a British hit "I thought It Was You" and critics were unimpressed. In 1979 it led to more vocoder in "Feets, don't Fail Me Now", which gave him another UK hit "You bet YOur Love"; albums such as "Monster"(1980), "Magic Windows(1981) and Lite Me up"(1982) Windows"(1981) and these were unwelcome and criticized. "Mr. Hands(1980) was better received and had no vocals. This album contains different styles, including a disco instrumental song, a Latin Jazz number and an electronic piece in which Hancock plays alone with the help of computers. In 1981, with Tony Williams and Ron Carter, recorded "Herbie Hancock Trio" and released only in Japan. A moth later he recorded "Quartet" with Wynton Marsalis. Hancock, Williams and Carter toured internationally with Wynton and his brother Branford and the band was now known as "VSOP II". In 1983 he had a mainstream hit called "Rockit" from the "Future Shock"(1983) album; "Sound System"(1984) and "Perfect Machine"(1988) In 1994 he recorded "A Tribute to Miles" and in the same year, 1994, he recorded "Dis Da Drum", and this saw his return to Acid jazz. In 2001 he recorded "Future2Future which had doses of electronica as well as turntablist Rob Swift. In 2001 he partnered with Michael Brecker and roy Hargrove in a live concert album saluting Davis and Coltrane called "Directions in Music: Live at the Massey Hall. In 2005 saw the release of a duet album "Possibilities". In it he had duets with Carlos Santana, Paul Simon, Annie Lennox,, John Mayer, Christina Aguilera, Sting and others. "Possibilities" was nominated for two categories. In 2007 with a long time associate and friend Joni Mitchell, Hancock released an album called "River: The Joni Letters" that paid tribute to her work. Norah jones and Tina Turner recorded the volumes and Crine Bailey Rae and Leornard Cohen contributed a spoken piece set to Hancock's piano. River was nominated for and won 2008 Album of the Year Grammy Award, the only the second jazz album ever to receive either honor. The album won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album and the song "Both sides Now", was nominated for Best Instrumental Jazz Solo. Hancock is still performing in many different events around the world today.

Jazz needs time to listen to and more time to read up on the artists and their life-styles and the music they make and how they make it. It is important to now the historical background of all the music involved in the music they compose and all the other accompanying artist within the music. One can see how the artists chosen above have changed music and have in turn affected each other and their listeners and followers. Jazz is music for all ages and times.

Sum-Bop

It would be appropriate here to cite some summing up thoughts from Leroi Jones(Amiri Baraka:

"It is not strange that bebop should have met with such disapproval from older musicians,many of whom were still adjusting to the idea of "four even beats." which characterized the best music of the swing era and delineated it from the accented off-beat(two-beat) music of earlier jazz. And even more alien were the "radical" social attitudes the younger players began to express. Parker, Monk and the others seemed to welcome the musical isolation that historical social isolation certainly should have predicted. They were called "cultists" by almost everyone who did not like the music, equating the bop dress as a specific form of quasi-religious indulgence; though if these same people had seen just an "average" African-American in New Jersey wearing a draped coat (of course sans the sophisticated "camp" of the beret. called "tam" and the window-pane glasses - used to assume an intellectual demeanor said, for three hundred years, to be missing from black Americans), they would have thought nothing of it. Socially, it was the young white man's emulation of certain of these African-American mores that made them significant in the mainstream of the society, since, as yet, since, as yet, the mainstream had no knowledge of Bop as a music developed from an older African American music.

By borrowing the principle of a two- and four beat bar first from hymns and then from polkas and military marches, African American made a sharp break with his African ancestors. However, his sense of rhythm was not completely at home in this rigid framework. An opposition arose between the container and the thing contained. Half a century after the birth of jazz, this opposition has not been smoothed away, and it probably never will be. The African American has accepted 2/4 and 4/4 bars only as a frame work into which he could slip the successive designs of his own conception .... the has experimented with different ways of accommodating himself to the space between measure bars.

Musically, The African American's address to the West has always been in the most impressive instances lateral and exchanging. But the more or attitude characterizing the exchange has always been constantly changing, determined, as I have tried to make clear, by the sum of the most valid social and psychological currents available to him. Given this hypothesis, the contemporaneity of the African-American's music in the context of Western cultural expression can be seen as necessary. Bebop, if anything, made tis necessarily contemporaneous quality of Afro-American music definite and uncompromising, not because of any formal manifests (even the first recordings of the music were much behind the actual inception, due to the normal cultural lag as well as the recording ban of 1942-44 and the shortage of recording materials caused by the war), but because of a now more or less conscious attitude among these young jazzmen that what they were doing was different fro what jazz players before them had done, and separate from the most popular jazz-like music of the day, which they frankly thought of as sterile and ugly. But the leaders of the changed jazz could still be looked at and placed, if one had the time, in terms of jazz tradition - and as logical, if not predictable, developers of that tradition. Gillespie has acknowledged his musical indebtness to swing trumpeter Roy Eldridge (and, of course, to Armstrong) many times over.

Charlie [Parker is easily seen as an innovator whose dynamic and uninhibited comprehension of Lester Young's music made his own work possible. And Parker's modern placement of blues is as classic as any African American's and at least as expressive as Bessie Smith's. What has changed was the address, the stance, the attitude."

Bebop Rhythm differs formally from swing rhythm, because it is more complex and places great emphasis upon polyrhythmics. It differs emotionally from swing rhythm, creating greater tension, thereby reflecting more accurately the spirit and temper of contemporary emotions."(Ross Russell) There has been much talk about the influence of contemporary Western classical music on the African jazz musicians of the forties. It has already been admitted with this hypothesis, that Jazz by the forties had had its influence on contemporary classical music as well. Composers like Stravinsky, Milhaud, and many lesser men produced works in which the influence of jazz or African rhythms was quite readily apparent. But I think that the influence of European and Euro-American classical music during the forties was an indirect, and not consciously utilized in the music of the boppers, though by the fifties (especially in the work of certain white jazzmen) and in our own time, many of these influences are conscious, sometimes affected. What seems to me most important about the music of the forties was its reassertion of many "non-Western" concept of the music. Certainly the re-establishment of the hegemony of polyrhythms and the actual subjugation of melody to these rhythms are much closer to a purely African way of Making music, than they are to any Western concepts(except, as I mentioned, in the conscious attempts of certain contemporary classical composers like Stravinsky to make use of non-Western musical ideas).(Jones)

Bebop also re-established blues as the most important Afro-American form in African American music by its astonishingly contemporary restatement of the basic blues impulse. The boppers returned to this basic form, creating against the all but stifling advance artificial melody had made into jazz during the swing era. Bop melodies in one sense were merely fluent extensions of the rhythmic portions of the music. Many times it was as if the rhythmic portions of the music were more fluent extensions of the rhythmic portions of the music. Many times it was as if the rhythmic portions of the music were inserted directly into the melodic line, and these lines were almost rhythmic patterns in themselves. In bop melodies, there seemed to be an endless changing direction, stops and starts, variations of impetus, a jaggedness that reached out of the rhythmic bases of the music. The boppers seemed to have a constant need for deliberate and agitated rhythmical contrast.

Concomitant with the development of these severely diverse rhythms, changes also were made in the basic functions of the traditionally non-solo instruments of the jazz group. Perhaps the biggest innovation was the changed role of the drummer. The steadiness of the beat was usually maintained din pre-bop jazz groups by the bass drum (either two of four beats to the bar). Then the bebop drummer began to use his top cymbals to maintain the beat, and used the bass drum for occasionally accents or thundering emphases. The top cymbal was it so that the whirring, shimmering cymbal sound underscored the music with a legato implication of the desired 4/4 beat. This practice also made it necessary for the string bass to carry the constant 4/4 underpinning of the music as well, and gave the instrument a much more important function in the jazz rhythm section than it had ever had before. Above the steadiness and almost perfect legato implied by the cymbals' beat and augmented by the bass fiddle, the other instruments would vary their attack on the melodic line, thereby displacing accents in such a way as to imply a polyrhythmic effect. The good bop drummer could also, while maintaing the steady 4/4 with the cymbal, use his left hand and high-hat cymbal and bass drum to set up a still more complex polyrhythmic effect.(Jones)

There is a perfect analogy her to African music, where over one rhythm, many other rhythms and a rhythmically derived "melody" are all juxtaposed. One recording of Belgium Congo music, features as its rhythmic foundation and impetus an instrument called the boyeke which is actually a notched palm rib about four feet long which is scrapped with a flexible stick to produce a steady rhythmic accompaniment. It is amazing how closely the use of this native African instrument corresponds to the use of the top cymbal in bebop. Even the sounds of the instruments are fantastically similar, as is the use of diverse polyrythms above the basic beat.

Finding Excitement in Jazz Fusion

The Same River Twice: Wayne Shorter

Four months ago, the New York Times carried a withering assessment of both Saxophonist Wayne Shorter's Album, "High Life,"(Verve), and the jazz fusion movement Shorter helped perpetuate over the last 25 years along with Miles Davis, Chick Korea, Herbie Hancock and others.

The "pastel failure of "High Life," was emblematic of a larger failure of a generation of musicians who, in responding to the commercial challenges of Rock and Pop chose to merge their improvisational instincts with electronically amplified instruments and sleeker, funkier grooves. What's resulted from this merger has proved "shockingly ephemeral." (Peter Watrous) Several musicians, even those who aren't fusion players, thought that authors like Watrous were too harsh. Too many did, who would have preferred "High Life" without the gauzy arrangements. But Shorter can still play and write as intricately and boldly as hie did in his great 1960s, pre-fusion days.

Wayne Shorter says that Jazz is "about being in the moment" at the Detroit Jazz Festival Sunday night. Yet Jazz is also about tradition, and the history of the music. ... But to know the Wayne Shorter of this moment, the one about to turn 80 years old, is not to now the Wayne of our memories. Not the hot young tenor/composer of the Art Blakey Messengers, not the cornerstone of the second great Miles Davis Quintet of the 1960s, or the fusion version of electric-era Miles or the band Weather Report. Not even the studio guest Wayne who took Steely Dan's "Aja" out with drummer Steve Gadd.

Wayne Shorter is a giant of the music. That's certain. A creative genius. An artist, player, band leader and composerYet Wayne Shorter is not a museum piece. Can you step int the same river twice"(as echoed by antiquity's Greek philosophers)"every gig is different," says a member o f Shorter's crew, who spoke at some length about the number of projects and recordings Wayne is working on. Wayne's Quartet, (Brian Blade on drums, John Patitucci on bass and Danilo Perez on piano) has been playing with him for a dozen years. They are are a crucible of improvisation and abstract group story telling, like elite athletes so familiar with each other that they can both anticipate each other's moves yet still find ways to surprise and delight each other.

If you see the Wayne Shorter Quartet at this moment, as thousands did in Hart Plaza at the Carhartt Ampitheatre stage on Sunday night, you do not hear his greatest hits (though there are plenty of those). Thus the set before the Quartet: an all-star line up of Detroit area arrangers (Ellen Rowe, Renee Rosnes) and superstar soloists )Lew Tabackin, Donny McCaslin) performing some of shorter's better known compositions, such as "Footprints".

The quartet's hour-long set, as expected, was a fountain of creativity, with snatches of melodies from Shorter's history something familiar from the album "Algeria". Danilo played repeated chords, eventually joined by Brian and John. Wayne hits a note and the ghost of "Infant Eyes" emerges, the band picking through pieces of material, discarding some, reflecting. Brian Blade' drum seem to offer more colors and dynamics than traditional time keeping. The a pattern emerge, something the band seems to agree upon for the moment.

One familiar with the Canon of shorter is reminded of early-era Weather Report, whose initial motto was "we never solo and we always solo." Something larval and developing, until a form emerges. The crowd responds most when Blade catches fire, he seems to be responding to Perez' mounting chords and melody, a minor key development that launches Shorter in a beseeching keen, reaching higher and higher into the upper register of his soprano (he played both tenor and soprano through the evening. At the resolution of this Danilo (oddly) quotes form "The Funeral March", then the Quartet launches into building more song-like structures, building something you can put other things in.Things like memories. Dreams.Impressions. Being in the moment. Stepping into the same river. Twice.

I do not think that Watrous is entirely wrong, either. For me. the marriage of Jazz and Pop genres like Rock, Hip-hop and Rap is one of those concepts that looks better on paper than in execution. More often than not, the trappings of Pop tend to smother the vital attentiveness to the moment that makes Jazz live. Worse, for me, that's how marketed as "Contemporary Jazz" - that plush, lush Pop music with string,sax and synthesizer confections that are so sweet and gooey you could pour them on frozen yogurt. Some of you may prefer music that stays in the background and sets a mood, like, say, a poster, lamp or any other decorative objet. But don't tell me me its's Jazz, contemporary or otherwise

Not that it wasn't fun at the start to hear Davis, Hancock and company make their fusion concotion. I was reminded how much fun it was when I heard Mwandishi-Herbie Hancock: The Complete Warner Brothers This two-disc set is made of three LPs from 1970 to 1972, an era I tend to remember as the "age of the fat Afro." I was really taken aback when I heard the greasy electro-boogie of the Fat Albert Rotunda selection that make up most of the first disc. I was more genuinely moved by the selections form the lengthier, more impressionistic Mwandishi and Crossings albums making the latter part of the disc and all of the second disc. At the time they were released, the sprawling, multi-textured pieces seemed to me, to laid-back and dreamy. Now that I am more patient with it, and ready to dig into it, I am begining to get the excitement I missed the first time.

Hancock's Album, Dis is Da Drum (Mercury), is a tighter, and freshly experimental, exercise in Jazz-pop-fusion or as some are calling it, "Hip-Bop." It is a state-of-the-art, electro-boogie swarming with samples, original/African licks, sound effects and huge and rare big time grooves. And it has held up for some time now and seems to be regaining life. This whole album of Hancock's even won a Grammy in the "Best Album" category. You can hear some of these grooves if you send requests to my station whose inks are given below.

Ironically, Hancock made more of an impact in contemporary Pop as source material for the Hip-Hop group US3's "Cantaloupe" or "Flip Fantasia" (Blue Note), an engaging, whimsical piece driven by samples from Hancock's 1965 composition, "Cantaloupe Island" (Blue Note). The kind of cleverness is also evident in Marcus Miller's Tales (PRA), one of the yearlings suppreses. Miller, who was an upcoming bassist-composer has a tendency towards glitz (which I like), because when one revisits Tales for extra doses of such lively, sampled=heavy pieces as the "The Blues," which includes well-placed, pre-recorded testimony of Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Duke Ellington and other icons. There's some gauze and pastel here, as well.But if one listens hard enough, you can hear Miller, and perhaps, fusion music itself meandering itself towards the next phase of Jazz music, and there seems to be a bright future here.

Miles Davis

Miles Davis: "When I hear myself back," he says, "things seem to be shorter than what you think they are. I keep playing and editing and playing and editing myself out … and I try and stop on a high point to leave someone else something to do. But wh
Miles Davis: "When I hear myself back," he says, "things seem to be shorter than what you think they are. I keep playing and editing and playing and editing myself out … and I try and stop on a high point to leave someone else something to do. But wh | Source

Miles Davis - Live at The Island of Wight Festival - 1970

Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk | Source

Thelonious Monk - Raise Four

Dizzy Gillespie

Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie

Dizzy Gillespie's Dream Band - "Manteca"

John Coltrane

John Coltrane
John Coltrane

John Coltrane - "Blue Train"

Rhasaan Roland Kirk

Roland Kirk
Roland Kirk

Rahsaan Roland Kirk - "Volunteered Slavery"

Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock / Karabali

Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker - Jam Session ~ Funky Blues

J.J. Johnson - Stella By Starlight

Jimmy Smith, "Prayer Meetin' "

Lou Donaldson - The Kid

RUSTY BRYANT - Soul Liberation

The Three Sounds - Soul Symphony

Jazz Didn’t Die in The history books, its still here in our hearts,

Professor Butterfield wrote:

In life, it is the ultimate joy to develop a relationship with an individual so strikingly unique and utterly expressive, it leaves you in amazement. How does someone teach creativity? It starts with the self, It starts with the understanding of ones position within the spectrum of the universe, which is minuscule but infinite.

Born in Englewood New Jersey, Marvin “Bugalu” Smith began playing drums at age two under the tutelage of his older brother, Earl “Buster” Smith. In Marvin’s younger years, he witnessed his brother play with greats like Eric Dolphy, and studied his brother’s teachings. Marvin describes his early start in music as tough. His brother was a hard teacher, not allowing him to even sit on the drums until he had watched for countless hours. Marvin practiced daily before and after school to get better at the drums, and to meet the approval of his brother for further study. Born with dyslexia in a time before dyslexia was even diagnosed, Marvin found it hard to concentrate in school and was often ostracized because of his uncategorized difference. Marvin turned to the drums and sought to define himself as different, special, and more skilful than those that had mistreated him. What he found along his path toward greatness is what he shares with young musicians today.


In the jazz tradition, the jam session is know as the place where musicians come to play, get better, get gigs, and overall workshop themselves. The early Jam sessions at Minton’s and Monroe’s birthed Be-bop through the minds of great jazz legends like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie parker, John Coltrane and countless others. At the age of seventeen, Marvin began traveling to the numerous jam sessions trying to showcase his skill and gain entrance and respect in the jazz scene. He still remembers the days of the old jam sessions, which he, and scholars support were usually “cutting contests” in which the competition was fierce and reactions to poor play were often brutish. There were no actual prizes to obtain, but in the world of music and musicianship, pride and ego are more than enough. Marvin remembers most vividly the nights he was sent home from the sessions feeling defeated and undercut.

“I was playing good, but in reality they were playing better then me. So I got an idea, and that was to study everything that the greats played at these sessions. So I started on this work, this was my great journey, to learn the great secret of the drums. It took me years, but I believe this is the greatest part of my story. Getting sent home was the best thing that


happened to me, because I kept going back to the practice pad, learning my 26 rudiments of the drums, learning how to swing on the ride cymbal, learning how to play four, eight, sixteen, and 32 bar solo's. What I learned was how to work hard, and that's what it takes, hard work, now, today!

The experiences of Marvin’s early disappointments and victories helped him find understanding of the necessities of greatness. He underscores the mastery of the basics through countless hours of study and practice, so that in the end, on the bandstand one can truly ascend to a higher level.


“The first thing you must do is get the technique under your hands, to the point were you don’t have to think about it on the bandstand. At this point, your mind is free, not heavy from thinking. Thinking will slow you down, and make you have a lot of hesitation in your playing; the key to effortless playing is to flow like water, so that even mistakes are themselves music. Then, music is in the realm of no rights, and no wrongs. This is the realm of “perfection,” and effortless playing.”

The above quote highlights the brilliance that is Marvin’s ability to see seemingly opposite entities as one, not divergent, but co-operative. Marvin learned early that it is through being in touch with the utmost true self that we control our surroundings. Not through force or will, but through openness and free flowing motion, like water. Marvin believes in always sharing lessons and knowledge. The amazing thing is he will repeat the same thing and re-tell stories, each time emphasizing a different yet profound lesson of life. The thing about these interactions is that they are completely unassuming. Marvin’s personality is embracing and enrolling which provide you no choice but to be happy, as your energy is lifted in his presence. This can be attributed to his commitment to a higher level of creation in everything he does. Today, Marvin can be seen at gigs with a series of capes, hats, canes, or other accessories. Depending on his mood, he can wear a black cape with gold ornamentation draped to the floor, or a quarter length zebra print pea coat. A mister Miyagi style hat, or a Michael Jackson honoring fedora as well. Marvin’s wisdom is always delivered similarly to his appearance, very directly and unashamedly. His early experiences taught him that the master musician is always honest regarding their music. He is not hesitant to let his thoughts be known. Surrounded by a culture of rampant drug use, womanizing, and extravagance within the camps of major jazz artists, Marvin witnessed, and participated in many things that hardened his exterior. It is because of these experiences that his delivery is sometimes abrasive, but the love and energy behind his intent eludes to his true loving, generous, and warm interior.


Marvin learned the principles of dedication, hard work, and openness through spending considerable time with his many teachers. Marvin has been a lifetime learner and understood that to be great he had to study and understand the greats. Marvin teaches that a large part of musicianship is knowing where the music is coming from, within a historical context, so as to know where the possibilities for growth are. In his lifetime, Marvin has personally studied with master drummers Art Blakey, Max Roach, Elvin Jones, Roy Hayes, Art Taylor, and his most important and influential teacher, his brother Earl “Buster” Smith. Marvin studied these master drummers, and figured out what made them great. Marvin believes the best way he can honor jazz music, its history, and himself, is to pass along the knowledge and lessons he learned along his journey.
Marvin has always found himself around music. At 16, he worked for the Town Sound Recording Company. While there, he recorded with, and around great stars of the time including James Brown, Lola Falana, and Sam and Dave. In 1969, Marvin Joined singer Rocky Roberts’ band and moved to Italy. Marvin enjoyed the people and the culture of Italy immensely and consequently spent 25 years living in Europe. During this time Marvin was fortunate enough to play with Chet Baker, Art Farmer, Mal Waldron, and Charles Mingus. Marvin’s career saw even further heights, eventually playing and touring with Archie Shepp and Sun Ra. Marvin speaks often about how influential the two men would be in his career and life. With Shepp, Marvin toured the world and recorded often, he notes that it was during his time with Shepp he coined his concept of “the timing of the drum,” a philosophy based on the idea that rhythm in music, follows the universal rhythms of life. This shows a clear influence from the free Avante Garde jazz Shepp and his group was often known for playing.

On his gig with Sun Ra Marvin remarks, “One night in 1987, I had this gig in a club directly across the street from this club Sun Ra was playing at. I went on over to say what’s up to the cats and chill for a bit, I knew Sun Ra from way back so I was going to see my man. When I got in there Sun Ra and John Gilmore greeted me, and had me sit in for a set. Man, you know I went up there and burned the joint down.”

Marvin’s interpretation of the moment and energy of the songs resulted in Sun Ra offering Marvin the gig the next day.
Play what is needed, not just the technical part or what is written, or what is correct. Drummers program themselves for the bandstand, and lose the opportunity to play in the moment, and what is the song is saying. Learn to play what is needed, for this you need big ears. Technical playing is not the end of drumming, it's only the beginning, it's about the quality of the song, and the quality of what you put in it.

During his world travels, Marvin embarked on a spiritual journey on which he found Buddhism. He developed an appreciation for giving, and the recycling and reciprocation within the universe. Additionally he began to see all aspects of life holistically, which he applies to the drums. Marvin’s experiences helped him see the world in an open and transformative way. Now 58 years old, Marvin runs a school where he teaches a new generation of jazz drummers, and other musicians are given a home to play and learn as well. Marvin emphasizes to his students the importance of challenging the status quo and moving forward, values fundamental to the culture of the post-bop/ Avante Garde eras of jazz. It is his synthesis of the lessons from the big band, swing, bop, and post bop drummers, with his own style and personal influence that makes his playing so impact-full, and his lessons so effective. Marvin’s school rests on the shoulders of three men, from differing backgrounds, who find commonplace in their commitment to the human spirit, the progression of jazz, and themselves as musicians. As college students at S.U.N.Y. New Paltz, Andrew Greeney, and Kasai Riddick studied music. While in school they met Marvin and began studying with him. Initially they were slow to accept and understanding Marvin's teachings because the teachings challenged the mind to approach the drums more universally and abstractly, and not as academically as they were taught to. As time passed, Marvin began to gain the trust of Kasai and Andrew and their relationship began to develop into something more than just a musical tutelage, it became one of genuine compassion and respect, and true love. Marvin’s musical and spiritual teachings have led Marvin, Andrew and Kasai today to a place of formidable strength within the community of those who charge themselves with preserving jazz.

Today, Marvin, Andrew, and Kasai run two jam sessions, one in Poughkeepsie New York, and one in Newburg New York. These sessions, created in the spirit of love for jazz music is a beacon of hope in areas most people don’t want to go. Historically, jazz has been associated with the “sin economy,” booming in times of hardship and taking place in less than reputable places. These sessions, through necessity embrace that aspect of their situation, as they take place in poor neighborhoods that many developers have long avoided. The sessions bring a positive, creative atmosphere that encourages fellowship through jazz music. This is a testament to the healing power of the music Marvin and his students play. The jazz jam session used to be the stage for “cutting contests,” but under Marvin’s definition these jam sessions are “classrooms,” where students come to learn and experience true live jazz. The format for the session is the same each week, either a trio or quartet of Marvin’s peers are featured for a three to four song set, and then the session is opened up, where Marvin's students play, and any other musicians get up to play with the remaining people on the bandstand. This goes on until all newcomers have had an opportunity to play, and then the headlining band closes the evening. The personnel of the lineup changes each week, a strategic move Marvin believes keeps the bandstand fresh and exciting. Each week features stellar musicians just as accomplished as Marvin, whom he has formed both personal and musical relationships with. Marvin uses the jam sessions to put into practice the lessons he has taught his students during weekly rudimentary lessons.

Marvin’s style of teaching is to trace analogies between the spiritual, kinetic and the tangible. For example, one of Marvin’s teachings explains the purposes of the drums through comparison to the elements of the universe. Marvin calls “Earth Motion” the bass drum, mother drum, mother nature in which the sound of the bass drum or low toms under gird the other elements or drums, providing an explosion and feeling of grounded ness. Marvin teaches in jazz drumming the bass drum should be lightly feathered as opposed to static, in order to encourage flow. Marvin considers the cymbals played without the bass drum “wind.” Marvin says that the light sound of the cymbals reflects the energy of wind, and it is understood by knowing which cymbal to use, when, and for how long. “Water,” Marvin teaches is the shape of what is heard in the music. It is achieved by using the feelings deep inside oneself and results in intuition on the bandstand. Marvin contends Space is the most important element, and is comprised of the filling of space both with and without sound. What is the larger relevance of Marvin’s school and story? Firstly, it reflects the original intent of jazz, keeping it alive by teaching the next generation of musicians just as Marvin was taught. But also,


Marvin’s story and teachings are remarkable, and give example and inspiration not only for drummers but all musicians. Additionally, Marvin’s story of redemption, hope, and dedication are inspirational to anyone wanting to become the best they possibly can at whatever it is they chose. Marvin “Bugalu” Smith is quite honestly the most interesting human being anyone will have the opportunity to meet. A masterful teacher filled with infinite wisdom, trapped within the confines of a context and time period. His Speech sometimes latent with disdain reminiscent of Miles Davis, yet is filled with joviality comparable to Dizzy Gillespie. His playing is amazingly free and arguably healing, and his urge to share makes Marvin truly remarkable.

Enoch Sontonga

The Background And View Of Jazz And African Music In An African Setting And Continent

Just like the African American Jazz idiom which emerged from the churches and plantations, the music of Africans of South Africa comes from the rural areas, villages and chiefly amongst the Zangoams or Healers. Dance, too, comes from this early customary singing, celebration and application of sacred rites and celeration of the ancestors, that I will present the following posts below. I have also included some non-South African selection just so that I can display our musical taste, that it transnended boarders and oceans, We did not necessarily have o understand they language, but the insturments, of which the selections I make are African-centered, are easier to grooveand jam to.

The different levels of social experiences that are endemic to Mzatnsi, and all of them come with their own style, sound and dances. This is important to make note for that gives us the right and power to define ourselves and what the present musical genres here in South Africa mean to us and for us. Because, we had a 'time' here in south Africa that music mattered and we dug it just as deeply and very well. I grew having been exposed to all genres by my uncles who were the early Township DJ, where they would put the speaker on toop of the roof and blasst aways all types of music. I, and those of my generation picked it up from the time of the gramophone, and to the days of the iPod with gusto and never looked back-to date.

I believe greeat and very powerful was Miles and all the Jazz deities from the US I have discussed above, they had their contemporariries in the Ghettoes like Soweto, where their schtick was copied and the local motion elaborated and these are the themes I am touching upon below. African music was not only affected by Disco, it was affected and is still being effected with Traditional African musical signatures and accents, that this point should not be lost as to the importance that the role music from pllaces like South Africa, itself, with Africans under Apartheid at the helm, was the deifing sounds that trended and resonated through the Local, Africa, Diaspora and the International music scene.

There is a large musical fan-base in South Africa, very sophisticated, and yet, it is now being deluded by some delusions of grandeur, that they have, many of those with the wherewithal, materially, been far removed from the refgualr masse, thus, everything has gone awry.. My chronology of the presentantion of the musical histories, bio and so forth below, I just to give a sense that there was a music scene in South Africa, and this has many interesting and fascinating aspects to it, and we need to begin to trace it, and know it, very well, amongst ourselves and our people, children, friends and so forth what it was and still is all about.

I felt that in order for us to begin to know each other across the coeanic chasm, using this Viral Stream, I will work of presentation ourselves, our culture, music, culture, stories, histories, and so forth with the confidence of someone who is cognizant of what a mamoth task it really is. The Jazz music of South Africa is just as good as that of the American Jazz idiom, and many artists rejuvinated the dormant musical memes, sounds, and composition that were African centered, and these spawned various other genres; but these were disturbed/curtailed and curbed/underdevelped by the Apartheid maw, and it is these and other stories that need to be told, too.

I wanted to add a different cultural mix and spin to they usual yarn about jazz and its music from the US(Specifically), and Europe, only, by cobbling together the following connection, using the music of South Africa, giving some rare and short, at times a tad long histories, and bios, in order to try and sample a very large field of sound, music history and dance by the African people of South Africa. This is important that we not only post the music, but give explanation and stories and histories behind the music and dances over the decades by the people of Mzantsi, Our lack of not knowing about ourselves is an impediment to our becoming a nation and developing.

South African Info provides us with the following historical details:

South African music

The story of South African music is one of dialogue with imported forms, and varying degrees of hybridisation over the years.
From the earliest colonial days until the present time, South African music has created itself out of the mingling of local ideas and forms with those imported from outside the country, giving it all a special twist that carries with it the unmistakeable flavour of the country.

Beginnings

In the Dutch colonial era, from the 17th century on, indigenous tribespeople and slaves imported from the east adapted Western musical instruments and ideas.
The Khoi-Khoi, for instance, developed the ramkie, a guitar with three or four strings, based on that of Malabar slaves, and used it to blend Khoi and Western folk songs.

The mamokhorong was a single-string violin that was used by the Khoi in their own music-making and in the dances of the colonial centre, Cape Town, which rapidly became a melting pot of cultural influences from all over the world.

Western music was played by slave orchestras (the governor of the Cape, for instance, had his own slave orchestra in the 1670s), and travelling musicians of mixed-blood stock moved around the colony entertaining at dances and other functions, a tradition that continued into the era of British domination after 1806.

In a style similar to that of British marching military bands, coloured (mixed race) bands of musicians began parading through the streets of Cape Town in the early 1820s, a tradition that was given added impetus by the travelling minstrel shows of the 1880s and has continued to the present day with the great carnival held in Cape Town every New Year.
Missionaries and choirs

The penetration of missionaries into the interior over the succeeding centuries also had a profound influence on South African musical styles. In the late 1800s, early African composers such as John Knox Bokwe began composing hymns that drew on traditional Xhosa harmonic patterns.
In 1897, Enoch Sontonga, then a teacher, composed the hymn Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika (God Bless Africa), which was later adopted by the liberation movement and ultimately became the National Anthem of a democratic South Africa.

The missionary influence, plus the later influence of American spirituals, spurred a gospel movement that is still very strong in South Africa today. Drawing on the traditions of churches such as the Zion Christian Church, one of the largest such groupings in Africa, it has exponents whose styles range from the more traditional to the pop-infused sounds of, for instance, former pop singer Rebecca Malope.

Gospel, in its many forms, is one of the best-selling genres in South Africa today, with artists who regularly achieve sales of gold and platinum status.
The missionary emphasis on choirs, combined with the traditional vocal music of South Africa, and taking in other elements as well, also gave rise to a mode of a capella singing that blend the style of Western hymns with indigenous harmonies.

This tradition is still alive today in the isicathamiya form, of which Ladysmith Black Mambazo are the foremost and most famous exponents.
This vocal music is the oldest traditional music known in South Africa. It was communal, accompanying dances or other social gatherings, and involved elaborate call-and-response patterns.

Lifetime award for NoFinish

As the focal point of Ngqoko, a group of traditional bowsingers from the Eastern Cape, NoFinish Dywili took the traditional music of the abaThembu people from obscurity to local and international renown.

Though some instruments such as the mouth bow were used, drums were relatively unknown. Later, instruments used in areas to the north of what is now South Africa, such as the mbira or thumb-piano from Zimbabwe, or drums or xylophones from Mozambique, began to find a place in the traditions of South African music-making.

Still later, Western instruments such as the concertina or the guitar were integrated into indigenous musical styles, contributing, for instance, to the Zulu mode of maskanda music.

The development of a black urban proletariat and the movement of many black workers to the mines in the 1800s meant that differing regional traditional folk musics met and began to flow into one another.
Western instrumentation was used to adapt rural songs, which in turn started to influence the development of new hybrid modes of music-making (as well as dances) in South Africa's developing urban centres.

Music Story Of Africa

A Short History about the muisc of Africa-which, if one begins with the Congolese sounds, it is worth noting that they were influenced by the 1950s South African African groups.

Congo

During the 1950s, when they experienced rapid urbanization and a relatively booming economy, the two French-speaking colonies of the Congo area (capitals in Brazzaville and Kinshasa) witnessed the birth of an African version of the Cuban rumba played by small American-style orchestras (called "kasongo", "kirikiri" or "soukous") with a touch of jazz and of local attitudes: Joseph "Grand Kalle" Kabasselleh's African Jazz (that counted on vocalist Tabu Ley, guitarist "Docteur" Nico Kasanda, saxophonist Manu Dibango), Jean-Serge Essous' O.K.Jazz (featuring the young Franco), Orchestre Bella Bella, etc.

Each orchestra became famous for one or more "dances" that they invented. So soukous (as Ley dubbed it in 1966) is actually a history of dances, rather than one monolithic genre (Ley's definition originally applied only to a frenzied version of rumba). A guitarist named Jimmy Elenga introduced "animation": instructions yelled to the crowd in order to direct their dances. Animation eventually became part of the dance, delivering both the identity of the dance, the (ethnic) identity of the band and a (more or less subtle) sociopolitical message. As dictators seized power in both Congos, musicians immigrated to other African countries, to Europe and to the USA, thus spreading soukous around the world, while in Zaire (Congo Kinshasa) soukous bands were used for Maoist-style propaganda purposes ("l'animation politique").

A key figure was "Franco" (Francois Luambo Makiadi), the guitarist who in 1958 evolved the O.K.Jazz into the 20-member T.P.O.K.Jazz (including saxohpnist 'Verkys' Kiamanguana Mateta) and was largely responsible for the relaxed, sensual, languid version of soukous that became predominant, before the 1967 arrival of guitarist Mose Fan Fan led to a more lively sound. His collaboration with Tabu Ley, Omana Wapi (1976), contained only four lengthy dances. The other star of the TP OK Jazz band, hired by Franco in 1984, was vocalist and composer Jean "Madilu System" Bialu.

Tabu Pascal (aka Tabu Ley Rochereau) formed African Fiesta in 1963 (initially with Dr Nico, who co-wrote the classic Afrika Mokili Mobimba) and then renamed it Afrisa in 1970, with vocalist Sam Mangwana (and later heavenly soprano M'bilia Bel) and guitarist Huit-Kilos Bimwela Nseka. From the beginning, Ley played the Latin rhythms on the drums of rock music, thus merging (at least ideally) rumba and rock. His Fiesta also turned the soukous concert into a happening that was reminiscent of the sexy shows of Parisian cabarets.

The generation of the 1970s included the orchestras of Papa Wemba, whose Viva La Musica was formed in 1977 (a name inspired by Puertorican star Ray Barreto but the music is equally inspired by Otis Redding's sweet soul) and is best represented in L'Esclave (1987), Kanda Bongo Man, with Amour Fou (1984), Dr Nico, Zaiko Langa Langa, plus Orchestra Veve, founded by Franco's disciple 'Verkys' Kiamanguana Mateta, with Lukani (1975), Orchestre Virunga.

Congolese keyboardist and musicologist Ray Lema Ansi Nzinga relocated to France, where he achieved the rumba, rock, funk and reggae fusion of Kinshasa- Washington DC- Paris (1983). His adult phase was instead devoted to merging African rhythm and western classical harmony, particularly on introspective albums of piano music such as Tout Partout (1994).

On the contrary, Brazzaville's singer-songwriter Pamelo Mounka, an alumnus of Tabu Ley's Afrisa, remained faithful to the traditional Congo sound on L'Argent Appelle l'Argent (1981).

Albums by westernized singers from Congo in the 1980s also included Kanda Bongo's Amour Fou (1984) and Souzy Kasseya's Le Retour de l'As (1984).

Raised in Europe, fluent in the musical traditions of the Middle East and of African-Americans, Congolose vocalist Marie Daulne founded Zap Mama (1), an all-female a-cappella group, to sing tunes inspired by the music of the world, such as on Adventures in Afropea I (1993).(Piero Scaruffi)

Ghana

Piero Scarruffi wrote:

Ghana, the first African country to win independence from a European colonizer (in 1957) and the economic miracle of Africa at the end of the century, was the birthplace of highlife music. Originally the name given by blacks to the music of the white social elite, it evolved from the fusion of rural "palm-wine" music for guitar, percussion and concertina, church music, Latin ballroom music, military music and African tribal music. The black bands that used to play at parties of white people started playing also for black people, and their sound became more and more Africanized. The guitar-based fusion was mature in the 1930s, when it was interpreted for the masses by Jacob Sam (his Yaa Amponsah dates from 1928), heavily influenced by the Cuban orchestras. In the 1950s, especially after independence, highlife bandleaders Emmanuel Tettah Mensah (leader since 1948 of the twelve-piece orchestra Tempos, the charismatic archetype of the highlife dance band), King Bruce, Jerry Hansen, Stan Plange, E.K. Nyame, leader of the most popular guitar-band, drummer Guy Warren, Nigerian trumpeter Victor Olaiya, Nigerian guitarist Bobby Benson, were influenced by American swing bands. The Tempos exported highlife to Nigeria in 1951, and Nigeria soon became to rival Ghana for highlife supremacy.

In the 1960s American soul and rock music prevailed, and in 1971 the "Soul to Soul" festival helped bridge the worlds of American black popular music and of highlife, thus returning the supremacy to guitar-based bands: Nana Kwame Ampadu's African Brothers International Band, that cut Ebi Tie Ye (1967), Okukuseku, Noble Kings, Ashanti Brothers, Nana Ampadu, City Boys, Hi-Life International. In Nigeria, the most influential highlife bands included: Rex Lawson's Mayors Dance Band, Celestine Ukwu's Philosophers National, Osita Osadere's Soundmakers International, Oriental Brothers International Band, Orlando Owoh's Omimah Band, Oliver Akanite de Coque's Expo '76 Ogene Super Sounds.

The fad of Afro-rock started with a group from Ghana based in London, Osibisa, formed by Teddy Osei, that struck gold with Music for Gong Gong (1970) and Sunshine Day (1976). Highlife was then quickly corrupted by rock, reggae and hip-hop. Notable albums of the 1970s included Party Time With CeeKay (1973) by Charles Kofi Mann and The Kusum Beat (1976) by Alfred Benjamin Crentsil's Sweet Talks. In Nigeria, Nico Mbarga's Sweet Mother (1976) was a turning point in the fusion of highlife and makossa.

In the 1980s Ghanian acts George Darko and the Lumba Brothers (Charles "Daddy Lumba" Fosu and Nana "Lover Boy" Acheampong) who had emigrated to Germany launched a brief local fad, "burgher highlife".

Ghana's percussionist Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng (1) delivered the imposing intricate and hypnotic polyrhythmic maelstroms of Awakening (1998).

Nigeria

Nigeria, the most populous country of the African continent, was always at the vanguard of world-music.

Nigerian hand drumming virtuoso Babatunde Olatunji (1) shocked the USA with Drums of Passion (1959), a collection of traditional Nigerian music for percussion and chanting. (He would continue to pursue his aesthetic of drumming-induced trance with the The Invocation of 1988 and the 21-minute Cosmic Rhythm Vibrations of 1993).

Nigerian saxophonist, pianist and vocalist Fela Anikulapo Kuti (4) coined a new style of music (Afro-beat) by combining James Brown's funk music, highlife and jazz. In 1966 he joined the Highlife Jazz Band. In 1968, after visiting the USA and being influenced by the "black power" movement, he also added sociopolitical lyrics. Persecuted by the Nigerian government, he became the voice of the oppressed. At his best, Kuti concocts lengthy improvised jams of bebop saxophone lines, Frank Zappa-esque horn fanfares, call-and-response vocals, and wild polyrhythms led by Tony Allen's spectacular drumming. His recordings include: London Scene (1970), still very derivative of James Brown, Gentleman (1973), one of his most popular albums, Zombie (1977), Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense (1987), Overtake Don Overtake Overtake (1990).

Nigeria (particularly the Yoruba region) is also the homeland of juju music, the African equivalent of American folk-rock: tribal polyrhythm wed to electric guitars. In the 1920s juju music was born (like the blues) as a music of the rural poor, but in 1958 Isaiah Kehinde Dairo began to transform it into an urban phenomenon, and in 1960 he introduced accordion into the ensemble.

Ebenezer Obey (1) further modernized juju by drawing on highlife, and his lengthy jams (underpinning a spiritual longing) turned it into an exercise in trance, for example on Mo Tun Gbe De (1973).

On the surface, the intricate dance suites of Nigerian juju vocalist and guitarist "King" Sunny Ade` (1) simply wed African percussion, call-and-response singing and western-style arrangements of guitars and synthesizers. But, often, the roles of guitarists and percussionists were swapped, as the latter drove the melody and the former drove the rhythm. The production emphasized the techniques of Jamaican dub, and sonic details often harked back to other ethnic traditions, such as the twang of country music. Ade`'s stylistic mixture reached maturity on Juju Music (1982).

Later, juju fused with other styles (both African and western) in the work of Dele Abiodun, who came of age with Beginning Of A New Era (1981), and Segun Adewale's Superstars International, that reached their best synthesis on Endurance (1982).

The Yoruba region's "fuji" music is closely related to Islam, although its origins are purely African. It is performed by ensembles of vocalists and percussionists. During the 1970s, the style was popularized by Sikiru "Barrister" Ayinde, Ayinya Kollington and child prodigy Salawa Abeni.

Mali

Mali is the land of the griots (the French word for the native word "jeli"), the bards of the Sahara who accompany themselves with the kora harp, the balafon xylophone and the ngoni lute, descendants of a century-old tradition. Mali, or, better, the swamps of the Niger river, might also be the homeland of the blues. Traditionally musicians come only from some families: the job of musician is hereditary.

The first major recording of the acoustic music of the "Manding" region (roughly Mali to Guinea), characterized by sweet singalong melodies, was Yasimika (1983), conceived by Guinean kora player and vocalist Jali Musa Jawara, accompanied by balafon and guitar.

The first national voice of Mali was Boubacar Traore (1), a vocalist and guitarist who played an African version of the blues. He didn't record his music until Mariama (1990).

Mali's vocalist Salif Keita (1) was (1969) a co-founder with Tidiane Kone' of the Super Rail Band and (1972) a member of horn-band Les Ambassadeurs, that cut the epic Mandjou (1979). His first solo album, the dramatic Soro (1987), incorporated rock arrangements and took advantage of western studio techniques, while remaining faithful to his African roots.

Kasse` Mady Diabate, the voice of the National Badema orchestra, who moved to Europe in 1983, followed in Keita's footsteps with Fode (1988) but then returned to his roots with Kela Tradition (1990).

Mali's virtuoso of the kora harp Toumani Diabate (1), son of the Sidiki Diabate who recorded the first album ever of kora music, Ancient Strings (1970), introduced elements of minimalism, psychedelia and blues into his solo kora album Kaira (1987).

With the album Ali Farka Toure (1988), Mali's blues guitarist Ali Farka Toure (1) carved a niche in the territory of Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder, but then returned to his roots with the elegant Savane (2006).

Guinean kora player Mory Kante, who succeeded Salif Ke‹ta in the Rail Band in 1973, adapted Mandinka music to the dancefloor and produced Yeke Yeke (1987), the first ever African single to sell over one million copies.

Maham Konate's percussion ensemble Farafina, from Burkina Faso, delved into African polyrhythms on Bolomakote (1988).

Mali remained the leading scene of Africa in the 1990s.

Malian guitarist Djelimady (or Jalimadi) Tounkara of the Super Rail Band has developed a style that evokes the sound of the kora harp, the balafon xylophone and and the ngoni lute.

Habib Koite' (1), who played guitar in the band Bamada (Cigarette A Bana) since 1990, fused griot philosophy, the trancey folk music of the desert (he plays the guitar like a ngoni lute) and the blues jamming of the forest on Muso Ko (1995).

Issa Bagayogo updated the traditions of Mali to the age of electronic dance music (house, techno, hip-hop, dub) on Sya (1998) and Timbuktu (2002).

Powerful vocalist Kandia Kouyate, a sort of Aretha Franklin of Mali, was first immortalized in the 1980s on Kandia Kouyate & the Ensemble Instrumental. On Kita Kan (1999) she alternates between the western orchestra, the rock combo and the African folk ensemble, whereas Biriko (2002) is a traditional, acoustic effort.

Mali's female singer-songwriter Oumou Sangare (1) single-handedly revolutionized African music with Ko Sira (1993), devoted to feminist issues from the perspective of a young African woman, sung in a majestic register, and accompanied by danceable music for violin, lute and percussion.

Lobi Traore' (1) bridged distant ages on Bambara blues (1991) and Bamako (1994) by harking back to the original feeling of the blues while adopting the burning guitar riffs of hard-rock and underpinning them with frantic cerimonial percussion.

Rokia Traore' (1) expressed her anguish in a gentle tone on Wanita (2000) over hypnotic rhythmic patterns based on the kora harp, the ngoni lute and the balafon xylophone, but rather neutral in terms of ethnic origin.

Originally from Mali but formed in an Algerian refugee camp, Tinariwen, a desert-blues band of Tuareg nomads with electric guitars, were the main musicians to emerge from the first "Festival au Desert" that was held in january 2001 at Tin Essako in the Sahara of northeastern Mali. The Radio Tisdas Sessions (2002), Amassakoul/ Traveller (2004) and Aman Iman/ Water is Life (2007) documented the music they had been playing since the mid 1980s.

Zamrock

African psychedelic-rock was particularly significant in Zambia, whose Hendrix-influenced "Zam-rock" scene produced: Chrissy Zebby Tembo's My Ancestors (1974), Witch's Introduction (1973) and Lazy Bones (1975), Musi-O-Tunya's Wings Of Africa (1975), fronted by guitarist Rikki Ililonga, Amanaz's Africa (1975), Ngozi Family's 45,000 Volts (1977), led by guitarist Paul "Ngozi" Nyirongo and working mostly as Tembo's backing band, plus Nigeria's Tirogo Float (1977).

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's jit music is a percussive dancefloor style that weds Shona melodies, thumb piano, and guitar-driven rhythm'n'blues, something halfway between Zaire's soukous, Ghana's highlife, and South Africa's mbaqanga.

Zimbabwe-Shona minstrel Thomas Mapfumo (2) specialized in the genre of political songs (chimurenga music) that was in vogue during the civil war. Substituting electric guitar (Jonah Sithole) and drums for the mbira thumb piano and hosho rattlers, Mapfumo created his own personal hybrid of African and western music on albums such as Gwindingwi Rine Shumba (1980), while Chimurenga for Justice (1986) opted for a mellower sounds and introduced a languid fusion of soul, rock and reggae.

The Bhundu Boys popularized jit in the Britain with the effervescent Shabini (1986).

Zimbabwe's guitarist John Chibadura was the virtuoso of jit. His albums Mudzimo Wangu (1985), 5000$ Kuroora (1986), and Sara Ugarike (1987) were among the most popular of the genre. When he went reggae, Chibadura was equally successul with Zuva Refuka Kwangu (1988). He died in 1999.

Cameroon

Cameroon saxophonist Manu Dibango (1), who became famous thanks to the proto-disco groove of Soul Makossa (1972), fused African rhythms and melodies with reggae, notably on Gone Clear (1979), and funk, notably on Waka Juju (1982).

Dibango also started a vogue for makossa (basically, highlife with a steady rhythm), that from Cameroon spread to nearby countries. In Ivory Coast, singer-songwriter Tou-Kone Daouda fused soukous and makossa on Mon Coeur Balance (1978). Nandipo (1974) combined western and African instruments and confronted sociopolitical issues.

Symbolically, disco-music returned to Africa with Discolypso (1979), an electronic calypso-tinged dance sung by Sierra Leone's Mack Bunny (Cecil MacCormack), and later with Rikiatou (1982) and African Typic Collection (1983), dancefloor makossa numbers by Cameroon's Sam Fan Thomas.

Ivory Coast's singer-songwriter Alpha Blondy (Seydou Kone) became the first African star of reggae with Jah Glory (1983).

Jean-Marie Ahanda's Les Tetes Brulees took Cameroon's music into the punk age, with a provocative attitude and a demented and energetic sound. Hot Heads (1991) offered ancient bikutsi rhythms of the rain forest replacing the balafon xylophone with the electric guitars of rock music.

Senegal

Orchestra Baobab (1) was the most famous of the Senegalese combos that mixed Cuban music and African music, for example on Pirate's Choice (1982).

Senegal vocalist Youssou N'Dour (3) became a teenage sensation with the band Etoile De Dakar, whose Xalis (1979) established mbalax (Cuban music performed with western instruments and augmented with African polyrhythms) as a major form of dance music. The formidable Immigres (1985) proved what kind of force of nature N'Dour's ensemble was, especially when coupled with the Middle-eastern inflection of his tenor. The stylistic Babel of Set (1990) was perhaps his most emotional and most intricate statement.

The Senegalese band Toure Kunda (1) pioneered the African invasion of Europe with the fusion of western-style melodies and Middle-eastern or reggae rhythms performed on traditional instruments of Freres Griots (1979).

Senegalese vocalist Baaba Maal (1) mixed traditional African instruments with the western aesthetics on Baayo (1991).

Arabs: Maqam

While widely imitated around the world, the classic "maqam" Islamic style, that basically modulate a monophonic melodic figure, was rarely heard outside the Arab world. This musical system, one of the most intricated modal systems in the world, harks back to the heyday of the Arab empire and was organized during the Ottoman empire. The system (which is not an equally-tempered intonation system, and based on roughly 17 notes to the octave, with plenty of regional variations) prescribes a number of maqamat, that can be used either as finished compositions (typically for solo vocal performances) or as blueprints for composition.

The maqam scale has, of course, an influence on the tuning of instruments. There are five makamat for the five daily calls to prayer, but there are also dozens of regional maqamat: Turkey's makam system lists more than 200 distinct modes. It is likely that the Ottomans simply unified a body of styles that they collected from Greece to Central Asia. Maqam was best represented by Egyptian girl prodigy Umm Kalthum, who first recorded in 1925, and bby Lebanese Nuhad "Fayrouz" Haddad, who first aired in 1950.

North Africa

orocco's gnawa music is a kind of folk music that originated among the Gnawas, descendants of black slaves. It retains central-African characters such as propulsive syncopated beats and pentatonic melodies, and employes instruments such as the sintir lute and the karkabas castanets, besides the human voice. The music usually accompanies ceremonies of healing based on creating an atmosphere of trance. The cult (which is probably related to the voodoo of Haiti and the macumba of Brazil) is centered in the city of Essaouira. A distinguished gnawa musician is Maleem Mahmoud Ghania, who collaborated with jazz giant Pharoah Sanders on Trance of Seven Colors (1994).

Hassan Hakmoun (1) plays the sintir lute and concocts fusion tracks of trancey gnawa, lilting rock and American dance music on albums such as Trance (1993).

Maleem Abdelah Ghania, a virtuoso of the Moroccan guimbri guitar, released the trancey Invocation (2000).

Egyptian-Nubian oud and tar virtuoso Hamza El Din (2) concocted a mesmerizing sound on Al Oud (1965) and Escalay (1971), that displays the haunting interplay of the oud's gentle strings, the extended percussive range and overtones of the tar and his subdued vocals.

Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy (1) drew from the rituals of Arabian Bedouin tribes and from the belly-dance rhythms of the Middle East for Source of Fire (1995).

With Sudaniyat (1997) Sudanese singer-songwriter Rasha (1) concocted a mishmash of jazz, pop, reggae and American dance music that achieved pan-ethnic pathos in the tracks arranged with an orchestra of violins, accordion, saxophones, oud and percussion.

The classic "maqam" Islamic style was best represented by Egyptian girl prodigy Om Kalthum, who first recorded in 1925.

Ethiopian Music

Ethiopia, one of the world's most ancient nations, was virtually obliterated (both as a people and as a culture) by the communist dictatorship of Mengitsu between 1974 and 1991. The Ethiopian music that was recorded between 1969 and 1978 was unknown in the rest of the world until the late 1990s. Indeed, the Ethiopian scene of the 1960s was one of the most lively scenes in the world.

The country that will later be identified with chronic famine was actually experienced a moderate boom. The soundtrack of that boom was played by countless swing bands in countless night clubs. The censorship and persecution of the 1970s scientifically destroed that scene, and the massive economic collapse that followed Mengitsu's communist reforms sent the few survivors into exile. In 1978, Mengitsu officially banned all vynil recordings of music, and Ethiopian music went into hibernation until the 1990s.

Ethiopian virtuoso vocalist Mahmoud Ahmed, accompanied by the jazzy Ibex Band, penned a form of dance-pop that drew from both African, western and Middle-eastern sources on Ere Mela Mela (1986), that compiled some of his hits from 1975-78.

Ethiopian vocalist Aster Aweke, who relocated in 1982 to the USA, adapted her extraordinary voice to a repertory of soul-jazz-rock, at times gritty like Aretha Franklin at her best, and at times soporific like Sade, on Aster (1990), which actually summarized her eleven Ethiopian cassettes, and Kabu (1992).

Middle Eastern Music

Lebanese oud virtuoso Rabih Abou-Khalil (1) combined jazz improvisation and his Middle-eastern folk traditions (intricate rhythms, ornate melodies) on albums such as Between Dusk and Dawn (1987).

Yemeni-Israeli vocalist Ofra Haza became a star by singing traditional Jewish psalms arranged for the disco by state-of-the-art producers on Yemenite Songs (1987).

Turkish sufi multi-instrumentalist Omar Faruk Tekbilek sold out his traditions to the new-age crowd on Whirling (1994), Mystical Garden (1996), Crescent Moon (1998) and One Truth (1999).

The Marimba Of Soouth Africa.. Named After Queen Marimba...

The Music Of Africans Of South Africa And Its Origins

Drums Of The Ancestors And The Africans Of Mzantsi - A Brief Look Into The Drums Of Mzantsi Traditional Drumming

Yeah! Mfowethu!(Brother).. Your not 'inviting' me made and caused you miss one of the rarest conga drum sounds you'd have heard from me.. Got my Conga/Djembe drum here, and I come from the African Traditional Drum Playing.. My family is from a lineage of Medicine men and the Women called the "Sangomas".. From when I could barely walk or talk properly, I had my own drum made out of some cured cow skin, strapped tight on the a hollowed special Mopani Tree Wooden Stump... At night we would drum our spirits and for Spirits to touch and beckon upon the spirits of the Ancestors for the healers of all sorts of this trade to raise that in their bodies and minds.. Before we drummed it up, in the late afternoon, when the Sun was still hot, but waning on the reddened horizon, and into the early evening, when the fires would be started outside, we would smear these drums with some Red Ochre mixed with some mixed up herbs and other "Magic Stuff", ( I will not mention here-for that is family secret and traditions, you know-got my drift there), early evening, we would then first smear on the drum and heat this concoction with the Sun's Rays, and then in the evening give the drums the final heat touch up-smeared on the cow skin of our drums, and wait for close to midnight when the Sacred ceremonies would Start... Some of us would use special sticks, but I belonged to the crew that beat that cow hide with our bare hands-for you see, we wanted to create some rare vibey and haunting/spiritually out-of-this-world-sounds rhythmic grooves and beats that the sticks could not produce-literally.. When you listened to us kids drumming, you would simple stare at us agog and in disbelief, for I had some cousins who were so Bad, that when we were jamming and smacking those hides throughout the night, they would catch the spirit, which was akin to what you see in the African American Church-very close, but in this case, it will be the ancestral spirits of drumming of Ancient times in our family.. You will hear some family members, the elderly/uncles and aunts, clapping hands and on the side, singing and shouting the names of these ancestors as we exchanged, interchanged, received the spirits and lead and backed each other on and nonestop, being what you could call "possessed' by Good drumming Spirits-We called it the Spirits' Good Groove and Vibe.. Those drums, Playthell, would spook you flat-out, my Brother, and we were not going to be outdone by the danicng medicine Men and Women Sangomas, right infront of us, with their percussive stuff on their feet and hands and some around their waists, with the "ShoBa"(Horse's tail or something most won't tell you what it is and where it is from)-on one other hand, and spear or somethng else on antoher hand(maybe percussive or whatever - and this rhythm and sound is pucntuated by their bare feet stamping and shuffling the ground as if to peel the soil and rocks and whatever from their natural states.. Man! Playthell, you should have gotten me or told me, and in my unwell state, I would have carried that sucker bad boy(Drum) to the jig in your post, and scared the living daylights out of you and all the Hip cats there, with some spooky rhythms and beats you have never gotten to hear nor know.. '-ish'!!.. And I can back up, and lead any africans in the Diaspora, and lead(solo) like mad, becasue, do not forget, I have been doing this since I was a baby.. If we were not beating up those congas and African drums in the evening for Sacred Rites performaces, then, there were times when we would drum during the day, when the neighbors were free to come watch and feast on the freshly slaughtered goat, cow and sheep meat cooked on what we called the (Drie Voet-[Tri-pod legged Black hardened pots]) that make stew like you'd never tasted before-some of the meat would be done in cook-out-style(called Braaing-as in Burning it over some coal or such like thing).. But the day drumming was more for the people, the time we were showing of our drumming acumen and sophistication and suaveness to the marvelling awe-struck throngs who were hanging on evey lick we produced from these cow-hide drums.. That is why I say, you made a mistake and not tell me on time so that I could prepare and come and jam with those Hip people' and you, and just lift the Jam from it only being Gotham's vibes and Sounds only, but take you into sounds of the Bright and Starry night Beats of African villages; and those sounds that came from the day festivities when were were drumming, for the spirits, but also from the local folks in our townships.. I might have missed the gig above, but I tell you, you would have heard some-something you aint heard in your life! And then, Playthell, we had the drumming, me and my cousins and our crews from the extended family and neighborhoood who would drum to the Jazz Sounds, Funk, Soul and everything in-between in my Yard, with everyone having their djembe, African drums and percussion, jamming to the vibe from the blaring Marantz and B&O Speakers and components-for the fun and hell of it.. some of it was to show of for the chicks.. he-he-he... That's when we went for the Jagular, of drumming, in that very real and true sense.. I think one can think of the Drumming done I saw being done in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, with many brothers each carrying and drumming their own schtick on the drums.. But we only added the muscial components because we knew and thought of ourselves as modern and Hip young studs.. Man.. That there was the Bomb! of polyrhymic potpoury of eargasmic drumming that will make you have an 'out of body experience'-literally.

Lemmy Special Mabaso...

The Side Of The Jazz Story Of South Africa

There is an untold story of musicm msuicians and their fans in South Africa that if it has been told, this is done in bits and peices strewn all over the Net, that I will attempt in this part of the Hug, to utilize information as I select to tell the story and some, not all, of the history of music and our appreciatiion of it here in south Africa. In some cases I will used my own experiences to further corroborate the postings from various authors and articles on this particular subject of Music and Music Appreciation in the Townships-What and How we Dug it.

The 1920s

Marabi

In the early twentieth century, governmental restrictions on blacks increased, including a nightly curfew which kept the night life in Johannesburg relatively small for a city of its size (then the largest city south of the Sahara). Marabi, a style from the slums of Johannesburg, was popular.

Marabi was played on pianos with accompaniment from pebble-filled cans, often in shebeens, establishments that illegally served alcohol to blacks. By the 1930s, however, marabi had incorporated new instruments, guitars, concertinas and banjos, and new styles of marabi had sprung up. Among these were a marabi/swing fusion called African jazz and jive, a generic term for any popular marabi style of music.

South African popular music began in 1912 with the first commercial recordings, but only began booming after 1930 when Eric Gallo's Brunswick Gramophone House sent several South African musicians to London to record for Singer Records. Gallo went on to begin producing music in South Africa, beginning in 1933. His company, Gallo Record Company, remains the largest and most successful label in South Africa, having had acclaimed artists such as Solomon Linda, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Miriam Makeba, Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens and many more pass through the recording studios.

Gospel

In the early twentieth century, Zionist Christian churches spread across South Africa. They incorporated African musical elements into their worship, thus inventing South African gospel music which remains one of the most popular forms of music in the country today.

The 1930s

A cappella

The 1930s also saw the spread of Zulu a cappella singing from the Natal area to much of South Africa. The style's popularity, finally producing a major star in 1939 with Solomon Linda's Original Evening Birds, whose "Mbube" ("The Lion") was probably the first African recording to sell more than 100,000 copies. It also provided the basis for two further American pop hits, The Weavers' "Wimoweh" (1951) and The Tokens' "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (1961). Linda's music was in a style that came to be known as mbube. From the late 1940s to the 1960s, a harsh, strident form called isikhwela jo was popular, though national interest waned in the 50s until Radio Zulu began broadcasting to Natal, Transvaal and the Orange Free State in 1962 (see 1950s: Bantu Radio and pennywhistle for more details).

Also formed in this era, the Stellenbosch University Choir, part of the University of Stellenbosch, is the oldest running choir in the country and was formed in 1936 by William Morris, also the first conductor of the Choir. The current conductor is Andre van der Merwe. They specialise in a cappella music and consist of students from the University.

The 1950s

Bantu Radio and the Music Industry

By the 1950s, the music industry had diversified greatly, and included several major labels. In 1962, the South African government launched a development programme for Bantu Radio in order to foster separate development and encourage independence for the Bantustans. Though the government had expected Bantu Radio to play folk music, African music had developed into numerous pop genres, and the nascent recording studios used radio to push their pop stars. The new focus on radio led to a government crackdown on lyrics, censoring songs which were considered a "public hazard".

Pennywhistle jive

The first major style of South African popular music to emerge was pennywhistle jive (later known as kwela). Black cattle-herders had long played a three-holed reed flute, adopting a six-holed flute when they moved to the cities. Willard Cele is usually credited with creating pennywhistle by placing the six-holed flute between his teeth at an angle. Cele spawned a legion of imitators and fans, especially after appearing in the 1951 film The Magic Garden.

Groups of flautists played on the streets of South African cities in the 1950s, many of them in white areas, where police would arrest them for creating a public disturbance. Some young whites were attracted to the music, and came to be known as ducktails,

The 1960s

In the 60s, a smooth form of mbube called cothoza mfana developed, led by the King Star Brothers, who invented isicathamiya style by the end of the decade.

By the 1960s, the saxophone was commonplace in jive music, the performance of which continued to be restricted to townships. The genre was called sax jive and later mbaqanga. Mbaqanga literally means dumpling but implies home-made and was coined by Michael Xaba, a jazz saxophonist who did not like the new style.

The early 1960s also saw performers like bassist Joseph Makwela and guitarist Marks Mankwane add electric instruments and marabi and kwela influences to the mbaqanga style, leading to a funkier and more African sound.

Mbaqanga developed vocal harmonies during the very early 1960s when groups like The Skylarks and the Manhattan Brothers began copying American vocal bands, mostly doo wop. Rather than African American four part harmonies, however, South African bands used five parts. The Dark City Sisters were the most popular vocal group in the early 1960s, known for their sweet style. Aaron Jack Lerole of Black Mambazo added groaning male vocals to the female harmonies, later being replaced by Simon 'Mahlathini' Nkabinde, who has become perhaps the most influential and well-known South African "groaner" of the twentieth century. Marks Mankwane and Joseph Makwela's mbaqanga innovations evolved into the more danceable mgqashiyo sound when the two joined forces with Mahlathini and the new female group Mahotella Queens, in Mankwane's backing group Makhona Tsohle Band (also featuring Makwela along with saxophonist-turned-producer West Nkosi, rhythm guitarist Vivian Ngubane, and drummer Lucky Monama). The Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens/Makhona Tsohle outfit recorded as a studio unit for Gallo Record Company, to great national success, pioneering mgqashiyo music all over the country to equal success.

1967 saw the arrival of Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje, an mgqashiyo female group that provided intense competition for Mahotella Queens. Both groups were massive competitors in the jive field, though the Queens usually came out on top.

Soul and jazz

The late 1960s saw the rise of soul music from the United States. Singers like Wilson Pickett and Percy Sledge were especially popular, and inspired South African performers to enter the field with an organ, a bass-and-drum rhythm section and an electric guitar.

In the 1960s jazz split into two fields. Popular dance bands like the Elite Swingsters were popular, while avant-garde jazz inspired by the work of John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins was also common. The latter field of musicians included prominent activists and thinkers, including Hugh Masekela, Abdullah Ibrahim (formerly known as 'Dollar Brand'), Kippie Moeketsi, Sathima Bea Benjamin, Chris McGregor, Johnny Dyani and Jonas Gwangwa. In 1959, American pianist John Mehegan organized a recording session using many of the most prominent South African jazz musicians, resoluting in the first two African jazz LPs. The following year saw the Cold Castle National Jazz Festival, which brought additional attention to South African jazz. Cold Castle became an annual event for a few years, and brought out more musicians, especially Dudu Pukwana, Gideon Nxumalo and Chris McGregor. The 1963 festival produced a LP called Jazz The African Sound, but government oppression soon ended the jazz scene. Again, many musicians emigrated or went into exile in the UK or other countries.

While the African Jazz of the north of South Africa was being promoted in Johannesburg, musicians in Cape Town were awakening to their jazz heritage. The port city had a long history of musical interaction with seafaring players. The rise of the Coon Carnival and the visionary talent of Abdullah Ibrahim ('Dollar Brand') and his sax players, Basil Coetzee and Robbie Jansen led to Cape Jazz. It was an improvised version of their folk songs with musical reference to European and American jazz which would go on some 20 years later to be South Africa's most important Jazz export.

The 1970s

Mgqashiyo and Isicathamiya

By the 1970s, only a few long-standing mgqashiyo groups were well-known, with the only new groups finding success with an all-male line-up. Abafana Baseqhudeni and Boyoyo Boys were perhaps the biggest new stars of this period. The Mahotella Queens' members began leaving the line-up around 1971 for rival groups. Gallo, by far the biggest record company in South Africa, began to create a new Mahotella Queens line-up, recording them with Abafana Baseqhudeni. Lead groaner Mahlathini had already moved to rival label EMI (in early 1972), where he had successful records with backing team Ndlondlo Bashise and new female group the Mahlathini Girls. The new Mahotella Queens line-up over at Gallo found just as much success as the original Queens, recording on-and-off with new male groaners such as Robert Mbazo Mkhize of

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, headed by the sweet soprano of Joseph Shabalala, arose in the 1960s, and became perhaps the biggest isicathamiya stars in South Africa's history. Their first album was 1973's Amabutho, which was also the first gold record by black musicians; it sold over 25,000 copies. Ladysmith Black Mambazo remained popular throughout the next few decades, especially after 1986, when Paul Simon, an American musician, included Ladysmith Black Mambazo on his extremely popular Graceland album and its subsequent tour of 1987.

With progressive jazz hindered by governmental suppression, marabi-styled dance bands rose to more critical prominence in the jazz world. The music became more complex and retained popularity, while progressive jazz produced only occasional hits, like Winston Ngozi's "Yakal Nkomo" and Abdullah Ibrahim's "Mannenburg".

In telling our story, we ought to pay attention to certain facts, and what was the time frame being discussed. I will approach this by posting a response I did on an article posted by Playthell:

"Jazz and Modern Black Culture in South Africa

It is interesting to read Playthell’s article, “An Evening with Edward Kennedy Ellington;” it got me thinking of life in the Ghetto of Soweto, in South Africa. The Townships might not have had the architectural wonders of New York and its chic urbane life-style, but, Duke still affected and influenced the life, music and self-esteem of Africans under Apartheid. There has long been a struggle against Apartheid by the indigene refuting the claim that we were uncouth and backward.

As the Township of Soweto expanded and grew, so did the music scene: the South African Jazz Scene. Some of the jazz groups had “American” as their names. There were Jazz big bands; the fashion of the day were Dobbs brim hats, Florsheim shoes – some two tone – double breasted jackets with broad lapels and the whole dress code as was worn by the Americans of the ’30s, 40s and 50s. I guess what I am saying is that, because of the inhumanity of Apartheid we witnessed an oppressed people immerse themselves in the American Jazz music and African American culture, language and mannerism as a way of keeping our souls intact.

The sleeve jackets of the LPs were the point of discussions from the Shebeens – Taverns/Speak Easies – of the day. Discussion about music, styles, musical signatures of The “Duke”, the “Count”, Hodges, Archie Shepp, Philly Jo Jones(some People even renamed themselves after their favorite artist here in Mzantsi), Coltrane, Monk, Miles, Bessie Smith, Sonny Rollins, Stitt, Sidney Betchet, Stachmo, Jelly roll Morton, Fats Waller, Charlie Parker, Ida Cox, Lucille Hegamin, Rosa Henderson, Bertha “Chippie” Hill, Sara Martin, Trixie Smith, Lizzie Miles, Sarah Vaughn, Mahalia Jackson, Mamie Smith, Josie Miles, Edna Benbow HIcks, Eartha Kitt, Mae Harris, Lulla Miller, jimmy Lunceford, Billie Holiday, Etta James, Charlie Christian, Ron Carter, Yusef Lateef, Ella Fritzgerald, Scot Joplin, and a host of other many American musicians-too numerous to list here.

The American Jazz idiom was dominating thoroughly and completely here in Mzatnsi. How do I know all these name of all these musicians. Well, as kids in the early sixties, we would sit with our Uncles and fathers and hear them argue and debate that was the best on drums, saxophones, composition and arrangements, and passions would rise to pitch level.

There were people who never thought of other artist as deserving mention or to be listened to because they did not meet their standard of what was Jazz or the like. So as we grew up in the late sixties, we were exposed to a variety of different artists of this American genre. Well, in most cases, my generation was scoffed-at by our old timers for not listening to real and classic Jazz when we listened to Jimmy Smith, John Patton, Harold Mabern, Blue Mitchell, Lou Donaldson, Billy Cobham, Booker T., Soul Music and funk.

We were ridiculed by these stalwarts and keepers of the Old Jazz, as me and my peers referred to Classical jazz as “not listening to Jazz,” and knowing nothing about it. But today, with most of them gone, and many of those who survived apartheid – the old timers I referred to above – have formed Jazz Clubs here in South Africa. They meet on weekends and bring out their best collection and spend the whole day listening to jazz, eating and imbibing large amounts of alcohol.

And whilst engaging in this celebration of jazz here in Mzantsi, you would hear talk like Playthell’s, whom I will cite below, as being what was said about these musicians by our elders. Most of the other stuff was learned and read from the LP liner notes by some Jazz critic or aficionado, and From Down Beat Magazine and so forth. It would go something like this passage from Playthell’s essay:

“Some of these people had crossed an ocean to attend the concert earlier in the day. After a while, it was clear that several of the guests had seriously followed Duke’s work for thirty to forty years. … As Duke responded to requests and moved from one tune to another, I was impressed by the fact that most of these songs were now part of the standard repertoire of American music. … I wondered at the artistic sensibility that could conceive these elegant tone poems, based in sophisticated urban blues and surrounded by consistently inventive orchestrations…. ….When he composed his suites to various regions of the world he never wrote the music when he was in those places.

‘I don’t want to be overly influenced by the local musical traditions, so I always wait until I’m back home to write my impressions.’ And he also confessed to me after a few rounds of Champaign: ‘I’m a sophisticated savage.’ Before I could persuade him to elaborate on his colorful claim our conversation was disrupted by others demanding the attention of the great man. I understood and bowed out. That enchanted evening in July, 1974 demonstrates that rest the world has long recognized the extraordinary creative contribution of the Duke. It is long past time this prophet became s hero in his own land.”

To be honest, what Playthell wrote above would be taken by these Jazz aficionados, turned on its head, made theirs. And included in their folklore about Jazz, as if it was they who spun the yarn above, and had experienced it, so that they have a one-up on their fellow Jazz buffs.. But, with time, those with the means, have been visiting The Newport Jazz Festival, Montreux Festival, and many of those in Europe.. And the comeback with fantastic tales of their visits and so forth, today (Most of it exaggerated, somewhat, but with some kernel of Truth.

Today in south Africa, we have come a long from the days I described above.. People are not more able to listen to jazz without the pressures of apartheid dehumanizing us. But African American Jazz in South Africa made our lives more bearable and full of hope. We never gave the Boers a chance to tell us nor believed we were barbarians or savages. Duke and the rest of the African America Jazz Masers, confirmed to us, since most of us looked like many of them and vice-versa- we knew that we were better than what the Apartheid monsters said we were.

There were many Jazz bands that were spawned as a result of our exposure to the American music scene and its Jazz Masters. These I might talk about in another palaver we might have on this subject. But Playthell’s article, with its cultural opulence and high art life-style, is still what makes our world go round. Duke was our demi-god when it came to Jazz, Style, dress/fashion, comportment and Class. He personified all this and then some to my uncles and their friends.

Our Elders copied many of Duke’s mannerism that Playthell describes above, which he observed on his visit to the Maestro’s apartment. As you can imagine, many have tried, albeit not on par with Playthell’s analysis, to be what the Duke represented and even added they own spin to the act. Apartheid, in its evil intent to dehumanize us, failed dismally because many Africans in South Africa knew that their Nazi-like oppressor’s claims of racial superiority were lies.

We lived our lives full of Jazz and our spirits danced above the concentration camps they built for us Called Townships… Like the humongous one called Soweto (Southern Western Townships) Digging jazz is still the way to go.. although the present-day youth in south Africa – as in the United States – are out of sync and do not know any better.. Some of us still know what time it is when it comes to Jazz music…

Harari - Musikana - 1976

Sipho Gumede - When Days Are Dark, Friends Are Few

Selaelo Selota - A Poem For Celia

Sipho Gumede

Sipho Gumede was born in Cato Manor, a then mainly Indian area in Durban. From a young age he showed interest in music, playing on a homemade guitar. He was exposed to all kinds of music and furthered his guitar talent on a borrowed instrument instead of the homemade version.

At the age of 16 he met the jazz guitarist Cyril Magubane. For Sipho, this was his first introduction to jazz and its masters, like Wes Montgomery. He learnt to play bass guitar, and soon got his first professional musical job as a member of the group the Jazz Revellers. Two years later he left his home for Johannesburg, where the met more great musicians at Dorkay House in Eloff Street.

He worked with Dennis Mpale and Cocky Tlhotlhalemaje and then Dick Khoza, whom he had already met a few years before. Sipho went on his first tour of the country with Gibson Kente. After a sabbatical to work on his technique, he teamed up with other jazz musicians to form the outfit Roots. They were Jabu Nkosi, Barney Rachabane, Duke Makasi, Dennis Mpale and Enoch Mtlelane. But Roots did not last too long, and when it ended, Sipho joined Bheki Mseleku. Together they later formed Spirits Rejoice, a jazz-fusion band.

Sipho further explored the possibilities of mixing jazz and traditional African music. In 1982 he joined Khaya Mhlangu and together with Mabi Gabriel Thobejane, they formed Sakhile, a band that succeeded in mixing the sounds of Sipho’s childhood and his career. Gumede also recorded with jazz legends such as the American Timmy Thomas, Kippie Moeketsi, Stimela, Margaret Singane, Abdullah Ibrahim, Winston Mankunku and Brenda Fassie.

In 1985 Sipho’s first solo album, Faces and Places, was released. The next year, together with South African greats Caiphus Semenya, Hugh Masekela, Letta Mbulu and Jonas Gwangwa, Sipho also produced a musical show called Buwa, which chronicled South African music in historical context. The show was seen in Zimbabwe and other African states, and finally closed in Sweden. Sipho also toured the Americas with Harry Belafonte and Letta Mbulu.

In 1987, Sakhile was revived, and tours to Switzerland, Italy, Britain, Germany and several African countries followed. Sakhile represented South Africa at the ‘Meeting of the World’ music festival in Finland and the Soviet Union. In the same year, 1987, Sipho performed at the famous Montreux Jazz Festival, together with Semenya, Mbulu and Masekela, in an African Evening produced by legendary musician and producer Quincy Jones. In South Africa, Sipho continuously defied apartheid laws by performing in multiracial concerts.

In 1992 he won an OKTV award for the best African Fusion Album for his solo album Thank you for Listening. In 1995 he also received an achievement award from Johnny Walker Black Label for his ‘outstanding contribution to the South African Music Industry’. In 1996 he release a retrospective album, 20 Years of My Life. Other albums since 1990 include Ubuntu (Humanity) and Blues for my Mother, on which he collaborated with artists like Paul Hanmer, Mandla Masuku and Xoli Nkosi. The album received gold status, the first time he achieved this on his new label, Sheer Sound.

In 1999 Sipho formed part of the backing band during American jazz pianist Joe McBride’s South African tour. McBride also appeared on Sipho’s next album, New Era, together with other world-renowned jazz artists like Andy Narell, Wayne DeLano and Manny Rodriquez. At the same time, Sipho played bass for The Sheer All Stars, a group also featuring Paul Hanmer, McCoy Mrubata, Errol Dyers and Frank Paco. Sipho also formed a very successful collaboration with Pops Mohamed called Kalamazoo. For this project, the two also received a nomination for “Best South African Traditional Jazz Album” at the South African Music Awards (SAMAs).

By 2000 Sipho had moved back to KwaZulu-Natal, where he taught music and performed for young people from the townships. Yet he did not stop artistic productivity. From his home recording studio, he produced a number of albums. His last offerings were From Me To You and the 2004 Sakhile release, Togetherness. In 2004, the album Blues for my Mother went platinum. In total, he produced, recorded and contributed to more than 20 albums.

After brief hospitalisation Sipho died on 26 July 2004, reportedly of lung cancer. He is survived by his daughter Mantombi and wife Fikiswa Pupuma, whom he married shortly before his death. Reports vary from 47 to 53 as to his age when he died. A fellow musician, Caiphus Semenya reminisced on his relationship with Gumede: “I came to know him through his unique and fresh sounds. Back then I was living in Los Angeles and people used to send me his music, which inspired me in a way that made me eager to work with him.” Gumede’s death robbed him of the 2004KwaZulu-Natal Living Legends Award.

Discography:

Faces and Places (Winner of the Autumn Harvest award)
Village Dance
We know who we are
Thank you for Listening (Winner of the OKTV award)
Banana City Jive
Peace
Down Freedom Avenue
20 Years of Life
New Era
Sipho Gumede
Live @ The Bassline
Ubuntu – Humanity
From Me to You
Blues for my Mother
Best of Part 1
Kalamazoo 2
Kalamazoo 3
Kalamazoo 4 New Crossings
As Sakhile:

Phambili

Welcome Home

Sakhile

Togetherness

References

Komane, T. & Bambalele, P. (2004), ‘Sipho, and inspiration to many’, Sowetan, 30 July, p.23.

Hugh Masekela - "Bajabubula Bonke"(The Are All Happy)...

Hugh Masekela - Estival Jazz Lugano 2009

Bra(Bro) Hugh....

Hugh Masekela

THE SOUTH AFRICAN MUSIC LEGEND

According to GriotGMBH:

The Hugh Masekela story is a long and exciting one: the two times Grammy awarded artist is Africa´s most important jazz and world musician. He has covered the globe and played with just about every top star you can think of. Hugh Masekela wrote a number of international hits and sold several million CDs. He even topped "Jumping Jack Flash" by the Rolling Stones with "Grazing in the Grass" in the US charts. Another very popular song of Hugh Masekela called "Bring Him Back Home" became the anthem for Nelson Mandala's world tour following his release from prison. Some of Hugh Masekela´s activities are a while ago ... but he is still making history:

In 2010 he opened both - the Kick off Concert and the opening ceremony of the World Cup in South Africa - a worldwide TV event. His touring schedule was massive and included major festivals and venues like the Carnegie Hall, NY and the Royal Festival Hall in London or the Mela Festival in Oslo, where he performed in front of 80 000 people.

The première of "Celebrate Mama Afrika" in Europe - Hugh Masekela ´s musical tribute to Miriam Makeba - was a huge success. His musical "Songs of Migration" was extremely successful in South Africa and will now also come to Europe and the USA.

In 2011 Hugh Masekela caused maximum surprise when he joined U2 on stage in one of the biggest concerts U2 ever played. More than 98 000 people celebrated Hugh Masekela in Johannesburg when Bono called him to join them on their hit "I Still haven´t Found What I´m Looking For". Hugh Masekela highlighted another series of festivals all over the world and played the Hollywood Bowl together with Wynton Marsalis. He was awarded by the Etnosur Festival in Spain and received the WOMEX 11 Award for Artists on 30 October in Copenhagen.

Hugh Masekela started 2012 with a concert for Her Majesty The Queen in Westminster Abbey. He toured around the globe with his band, opened the WOMAD festival in the UK in it´s 30iest edition and joined Paul Simon on the Graceland Revival tour.

In 2013 Hugh Masekela will be touring with his band again. A few days in the touring calendar are reserved for the "Hugh Masekela´s Celebrate Mama Afrika" show. And finally he will also be on the road together with Larry Willis, with whom he recorded a 4 CD Box in his recording studio "House of Masekela" in South Africa.

"The man with the horn" is a living legend, a genius musician and great performer who is even getting better in his "old days". And wherever Hugh Masekela plays - no matter if it is a world or jazz or pop festival - no matter in which part of the world - Hugh Masekela and his great band fascinate their audience as they simply play contemporary South African music at it´s best.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

Hugh Masekela is a world-renowned flugelhornist, trumpeter, bandleader, composer, singer and defiant political voice who remains deeply connected at home, while his international career sparkles. He was born in the town of Witbank, South Africa in 1939. At the age of 14, the deeply respected advocator of equal rights in South Africa, Father Trevor Huddleston, provided Masekela with a trumpet and, soon after, the Huddleston Jazz Band was formed. Masekela began to hone his, now signature, Afro-Jazz sound in the late 1950s during a period of intense creative collaboration, most notably performing in the 1959 musical King Kong, written by Todd Matshikiza, and, soon thereafter, as a member of the now legendary South African group, the Jazz Epistles (featuring the classic line up of Kippie Moeketsi, Abdullah Ibrahim and Jonas Gwangwa).

In 1960, at the age of 21 he left South Africa to begin what would be 30 years in exile from the land of his birth. On arrival in New York he enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music. This coincided with a golden era of jazz music and the young Masekela immersed himself in the New York jazz scene where nightly he watched greats like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Mingus and Max Roach. Under the tutelage of Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong, Hugh was encouraged to develop his own unique style, feeding off African rather than American influences – his debut album, released in 1963, was entitled Trumpet Africaine.

In the late 1960s Hugh moved to Los Angeles in the heat of the ‘Summer of Love’, where he was befriended by hippie icons like David Crosby, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. In 1967 Hugh performed at the Monterey Pop Festival alongside Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar, The Who and Jimi Hendrix. In 1968, his instrumental single ‘Grazin’ in the Grass’ went to Number One on the American pop charts and was a worldwide smash, elevating Hugh onto the international stage.

His subsequent solo career has spanned 5 decades, during which time he has released over 40 albums (and been featured on countless more) and has worked with such diverse artists as Harry Belafonte, Dizzy Gillespie, The Byrds, Fela Kuti, Marvin Gaye, Herb Alpert, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and the late Miriam Makeba.

In 1990 Hugh returned home, following the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Nelson Mandela – an event anticipated in Hugh’s anti-apartheid anthem ‘Bring Home Nelson Mandela’ (1986) which had been a rallying cry around the world.

In 2004 Masekela published his compelling autobiography, Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela (co-authored with D. Michael Cheers), which Vanity Fair described thus: ‘…you’ll be in awe of the many lives packed into one.’

His story is far from over, and as Bra Hugh approaches his 75th birthday he shows no signs of slowing down. He maintains a busy international tour schedule as his fan base around the world continues to grow.

In June 2010 he opened the FIFA Soccer World Cup Kick-Off Concert to a global audience and performed at the event’s Opening Ceremony in Soweto’s Soccer City. Later that year he created the mesmerizing musical, Songs of Migration with director, James Ngcobo, which drew critical acclaim and played to packed houses. Songs of Migration will visit Amsterdam, London and Washington in October 2012.

In 2010, President Zuma honoured him with the highest order in South Africa: The Order of Ikhamanga, and 2011 saw Masekela receive a Lifetime Achievement award at the WOMEX World Music Expo in Copenhagen. The US Virgin Islands proclaimed ‘Hugh Masekela Day’ in March 2011, not long after Hugh joined U2 on stage during the Johannesburg leg of their 360 World Tour. U2 frontman Bono described meeting and playing with Hugh as one of the highlights of his career.

2012 has already been a busy year with Hugh just returning to South Africa from touring Europe with Paul Simon on the Graceland 25th Anniversary Tour. He has opened his own studio and record label, House of Masekela which has already put out its first release: Friends – a 4 CD collection of jazz standards featuring his dear friend, pianist Larry Willis.

Hugh is currently using his global reach to spread the word about heritage restoration in Africa – a topic that remains very close to his heart.

“My biggest obsession is to show Africans and the world who the people of Africa really are,” Masekela confides – and it’s this commitment to his home continent that has propelled him forward since he first began playing the trumpet.

The Mahotella Queens... Miriam, Spokes, Lemmy and Dingaka

Mahotella Queens - Umculo Kawupheli (1973)

Mbaqanga Music..

Mahlathini And The Mahotella Queens And Other Mbaqanga Groups' Story. We learn the following from Electric Jive:

Collecting records from the glory days of black South African music invariably results in the accumulation of “factory-line stuff”. It is something inherent within mbaqanga music, which was as quick to produce as the traditional snack it was named after. But very often, that factory-line material would be intercepted. The individual talents and geniuses of the wonderful musicians in the studio would collide spectacularly and explode. The results of that explosion were stunning masterpieces that blended superb vocal harmony and sumptuous guitar rhythm together seamlessly. It is these masterpieces that Electric Jive presents here proudly today – the fourth installment of our regular series, Classic Mbaqanga Girl Groups.

“Awuthule Bo”, recorded in 1970, is one of the classic hits from the Mahotella Queens repertoire during their most successful era. Nobesuthu Shawe, one of the group’s regular vocalists and the composer of this song, tells her baby through fabulous high-spirited jive to listen to mother and quieten down. The ladies’ 1967 tune “Umuzwa Ngedwa” is an oddity because of its unusual swing-like melody, a throwback to the styles that their brand of mbaqanga had replaced. On the other hand, “Metsoalle Yaka”, is a deeply soul-infused 1970s number with some crazy-brilliant vocal work, featuring the golden voices of Thandi Radebe, Beatrice Ngcobo, Emily Zwane, Thandi Nkosi, Constance Ngema and Caroline Kapentar. The Mahotella Queens was perhaps the finest example of a truly classic mbaqanga girl group. The harmonies blended perfectly, the songs – either based on themes of love, folklore or topical matters – were always relevant, and the essential instrumental backup from the Makgona Tsohle Band was as raw and emotive as possible. Just one listen to their selections in this compilation certainly does go some way towards confirming those statements.

While the Mahotella Queens was the first group on the scene to pioneer the new, more electric-led female vocal jive of the mid-1960s, they were certainly not the only team of singers to shoot to stardom with beautiful recordings. Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje arose some three years after the Queens had already bedded into the market as the most successful female group of the 1960s, but this wasn’t going to deter Sannah Mnguni and her fellow songbirds, Thopi Mnguni, Thoko Khumalo and Nunu Maseko, from challenging the Queens for the crown. “Salani Kahle” spotlights Sannah’s beautiful vocal talent against the solid rhythm of the group. Along with the likes of mbaqanga vocalists such as Hilda Tloubatla, Irene Mawela, Olive Masinga and Julia Yende, Sannah possessed a voice that was instantly recognisable no matter which group she recorded with. She had left Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje in 1968, moving to the famous and well-known girl group the Sweet Sixteens which was led by Irene. Although Sannah did record some enchanting, hypnotic tunes with the group like “Uthuleleni”, she decided to return to Izintombi in 1970, bringing with her a junior Sweet Sixteen, Jane Dlamini. In 1972, the Izintombi line-up was thrown into jeopardy when the core members of the team resigned. Sannah, Thopi and Thoko – as well as lead guitarist Hansford Mthembu, Thopi’s husband – left the company and joined EMI, where they formed a successful new mbaqanga girl group called Amagugu. It remained a popular act until the early 1980s, when changing musical tastes brought an end to the dominance of the mbaqanga girl group. Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje retained its popularity through the early 1970s with a revised line-up: Jane Dlamini was joined by Nobesuthu Shawe (joining Isibaya after four years with Mavuthela’s Mahotella Queens), Beatrice Ngcobo (who was to depart the group soon and join the Mahotella Queens later in 1973), Lindiwe Mthembu and Ruth Mafuxwana. “Siya Kwa Mzilikazi”, featuring Izintombi’s regular groaner Saul Shabalala, was one of the many hits recorded by this newer incarnation of the group. "Sicela Indlela", another tune of similar vintage, sounds so carefree and laidback that it's almost as if the ladies are jamming with each other at a rehearsal.

During the mid-to-late 1960s, Mavuthela Music’s roster expanded so that set units of female singers were formed, utilising many of the names originated by Rupert Bopape back in 1964, and arranged almost in a hierarchy: the so-called “top tier” was the group that recorded under the names Mahotella Queens, Marula Boom Stars, Soweto Stars, Dima Sisters, Izintombi Zomgqashiyo, and the Sweet Home Dames. A second regular unit, featuring the voices of singers such as Julia Yende and Windy Sibeko, recorded under names including the Mthunzini Girls and Izingane Zomgqashiyo. “Sangena, Sangena” is an infectiously loud tune that has a slight-rumba feel to the rhythm – and a melodica is included in the band for good measure! On the other hand, “Akashaywa Umfazi” is the top tier at its best. Written by vocalist Mildred Mangxola and featuring Simon 'Mahlathini' Nkabinde on lead vocals, the song refers to physical abuse against women, although the song could be categorised as being more “classic mbaqanga” than “ballad”. Mangxola had joined Mavuthela in 1965 with her group, the Daveyton Sisters, with whom she had been singing since she was in her teens. The Sisters recorded some solid material for Mavuthela, but was to eventually disintegrate, with Mangxola and fellow Daveyton vocalist Thoko Nontsontwa joining the Mahotella Queens. Mangxola's wonderful, lively vocals can be heard prominently on "Akashaywa Umfazi", "Sengibuya Emarabini" (in which she has a very brief solo) and on an early tune with her old bandmates, "Ulele Emini U Makoti", a song composed by Makgona Tsohle Band drummer Lucky Monama.

After Mahlathini left Mavuthela in 1972 following a dispute over royalty payments with Rupert Bopape, he formed a new group called Amakhosazana which found some astonishing success as a performance-only group. This venture lasted only two years, after which the great groaner joined the new black music operation recently started at Satbel Record Company. Cambridge Matiwane, producer of the new subsidiary, busied himself building up a roster of artists to rival the material pumped out of the successful Mavuthela and Isibaya stables. Mahlathini preferred to work in conjunction with a female group, and although the Mahotella Queens remained the sole property of Gallo’s Mavuthela, a new group was formed at Satbel that was simply named The Queens. Pay disputes over at Gallo saw several of the Mavuthela singers move over to Satbel to record with Mahlathini. These included Koekie Makhanya, Mildred Mangxola, Ethel Mngomezulu and Thoko Nontsontwa. The Queens recorded some of the finest female vocal classics one can find. The raw passion and emotion came across in whatever song they sang, be it a ballad (“Siyaniduduza”, “Nginothando”) or a lively and boisterous tune (“Baratsale”, “Mhlobo Mdala”). Also at Satbel was Izintombi Zephepha, a group led by former Mahotella Queens and Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje vocalist Nunu Maseko. The group mostly recorded with singer Victor ‘Mahlabathini’ Zulu, a fine vocalist and groaner.

Mahlathini Nezintombi Zomgqashiyo (or “MNZ”) was a shortlived reunion between the groaner and five of the 1960s line-up of the Mahotella Queens. MNZ, which was put together by Marks Mankwane in 1983 on the back of a nostalgia trip for mbaqanga’s heyday, was named in that way so as not to disturb the Mahotella Queens line-up of that time, which had been stable for some years by that point. Interestingly, MNZ’s 1984 LP Pheletsong Ya Lerato features Mahlathini on only two of the ten tracks, making that particular album more or less an Izintombi Zomgqashiyo project. “Moradi Wa Mofokeng” is perhaps one of the finest songs produced by this line-up. Hilda Tloubatla, one of the most recognisable and popular lead vocalists of mbaqanga's heyday, leads the ensemble here, and the troupe's vocals are nothing short of strong, hearty and passionate. Backed by the unrelenting beat of the Makgona Tsohle Band, this certainly is the “A” team performing at its very best. While Mahlathini Nezintombi Zomgqashiyo busied themselves recording some of their best new material since the 1960s, the latter-day Mahotella Queens led by Emily Zwane solidly carried on recording the wonderful, sturdy, easy-listening material they were famous for. “Moleko Ntlohele” is a rich, watery ballad that spotlights their beautiful, soulful and emotive voices.

Thanks to Siemon Allen for contributing the Mahotella Queens songs “Awuthule Bo” and “Metsoalle Yaka”, and to Chris Albertyn for the equally wonderful songs from the Sweet Sixteens and Mahlabathini. I’m very grateful to both of you for your help in adding to this collection of classic, wonderful jive…

…and now, it’s over to the girls for another dose of goodness from the archives of yesteryear. I sincerely hope you download and enjoy.

YEBO!

CLASSIC MBAQANGA GIRL GROUPS
COMPILED BY NICK LOTAY
VOLUME 4

1. Awuthule Bo*
Mahotella Queens
Gumba Gumba BL 123
1970
FROM THE LP "BEST OF THE MAHOTELLA QUEENS"
*COURTESY OF SIEMON ALLEN

2. Sangena, Sangena
Izingane Zo Mgqashiyo
Motella LMO 110
1968
FROM THE LP "INDODA MAHLATHINI"

3. Salani Kahle
Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje
CBS CB.4007
1971

4. Mmathobela
Mahotella Queens
Gumba Gumba MGG 716
1977

5. Uthuleleni*
Sweet Sixteens
Troubadour SPA 892
1969
*COURTESY OF CHRIS ALBERTYN

6. Siyaniduduza
The Queens
Soweto SWB 136
1974

7. Siya Kwa Mzilikazi
Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje
CBS LAB 4042
1973
FROM THE LP "SIYA EMSHADWENI"

8. Umuzwa Ngedwa
Mahotella Queens
Smanje Manje SJM 7-5
1967

9. Akashaywa Umfazi
Sweet Home Dames
Motella LMO 110
1968
FROM THE LP "INDODA MAHLATHINI"

10. Baratsale
The Queens and Ndlondlo Bashise Band
King KGB 034
1976

11. Metsoalle Yaka*
Mahotella Queens
Gumba Gumba BL 123
1977
FROM THE LP "BEST OF MAHOTELLA QUEENS"
*COURTESY OF SIEMON ALLEN

12. Mathamyizimimyaba*
Izintombi Zephepha
Soweto SWB 14019
1976
FROM THE LP "MAHLABATHINI AND IZINTOMBI ZEPHEPHA"
*COURTESY OF CHRIS ALBERTYN

13. Musu Dlala Ngami
Mahlabathini
King KGB 006
1976

14. Iminyaka Kayifani
Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje
Masterpiece LMS 529
1977
FROM THE LP "IMINYAKA KAYIFANI"

15. Maile
Mahotella Queens
Gumba Gumba BL 226
1980
FROM THE LP "TSAMAYA MORATUOA"

16. Moradi Wa Mofokeng
Izintombi Zomgqashiyo
Gumba Gumba BL 457
1984
FROM THE LP "PHELETSONG YA LERATO"

17. Moleko Ntlohele
Mahotella Queens
Hit Special IAL 4005
1984
FROM THE LP "KHWATHA O MONE"

18. Vulamehlo
S'morden Girls
Masterpiece MS 508
1980

19. Sidlala Yonke Imidlalo
Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje
Masterpiece LMS 529
1977
FROM THE LP "IMINYAKA KAYIFANI"

20. Ha Bo Tle
Mahotella Queens
Gumba Gumba BL 226
1980
FROM THE LP "TSAMAYA MORATUOA"

21. Sikhulekile*
Mahlabathini and Izintombi Zephepha
Soweto SWB 14019
1976
FROM THE LP "MAHLABATHINI AND IZINTOMBI ZEPHEPHA"
*COURTESY OF CHRIS ALBERTYN

22. Nimzwile Umntimande*
Sannah Mnguni Nesimanjemanje
CBS AB 284
1971
*COURTESY OF CHRIS ALBERTYN

23. Nginothando
The Queens and Ndlondlo Bashise Band
King KGB 034
1976

24. Awungifanelanga*
Sweet Sixteens
Troubadour SPA 892
1969
*COURTESY OF CHRIS ALBERTYN

25. Hole Thaba
Dark City Sisters
HMV JP.1002
1966
FROM THE LP "STARTIME VOL. 3"

26. Ulele Emini U Makoti
Daveyton Sisters
Gallo-USA USA 320
1965

27. Sicela Indlela
Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje
CBS LAB 4042
1973
FROM THE LP "SIYA EMSHADWENI"

28. Uyangizungeza Lombemu
Usizwe Namatshitshi
CBS LAB 4022
1971
FROM THE LP "NOMA UNGAYAPHI BAKHALA NGATHI"

29. Mhlobo Mdala
The Queens and Ndlondlo Bashise Band
King KGB 035
1976

30. Sengibuya Emarabini
Mahotella Queens
Motella LMO 110
1968
FROM THE LP "INDODA MAHLATHINI"

Sis Letta...

Letta Mbulu Letta Full LP 1970

Letta Mbulu

NATURALLY
Letta Mbulu
Hollywood, California: August 2, 1972
Joe Sample (key); Arthur Adams, David T. Walker (g); Wilton Felder (b); Stix Hooper (d); Mailto Correa, Milt Holland (perc); Letta Mbulu (vcl).
overdubbed later
horns, background vcl, Wayne Henderson (arr, hrn orchestrations).

a. Kube (Caiphus Semenya) - 3:17
b. Noma Themba (aka Nomathemba) (Letta Mbulu/Caiphus Semenya) - 3:28
c. Hareje (Caiphus Semenya) - 4:06

Hollywood, California: August 2, 1972
Joe Sample (key); Arthur Adams, David T. Walker (g); Wilton Felder (b); Stix Hooper (d); Mailto Correa, Milt Holland (perc); Letta Mbulu (vcl).
overdubbed in Hollywood, California: December 19, 1972
Jay DaVersa, Larry Ford (tp); Maurice Spears, Britt Woodman (tb); Herman Riley, Fred Jackson (reeds); Wayne Henderson (hrn orchestrations); Caiphus Semenya (arr).
overdubbed in Hollywood, California: December 21, 1972
Carroll Stephens, Barbara Durant (vln); Leonard Selic, Carole Mukogawa (viola); Nathan Gershman (cello); Marion Sherrill (music preparation); Jimmy Jones (string orchestrations); Caiphus Semenya (arr, cond).

d. Never Leave You (Caiphus Semenya) - 4:05

Hollywood, California: August 3, 1972
Joe Sample (key); Arthur Adams, David T. Walker (g); Wilton Felder (el-b); Stix Hooper (d); Mailto Correa, Milt Holland (perc); Letta Mbulu (vcl).

e. Oluwa

Hollywood, California: August 3, 1972
Joe Sample (key); Arthur Adams, David T. Walker (g); Wilton Felder (el-b); Stix Hooper (d); Mailto Correa, Milt Holland (perc); Letta Mbulu (vcl).
overdubbed in Hollywood, California: December 19, 1972
Jay DaVersa, Larry Ford (tp); Maurice Spears, Britt Woodman (tb); Herman Riley, Fred Jackson (reeds); Caiphus Semenya (arr).
overdubbbed in Hollywood, California: December 21, 1972
Carroll Stephens, Barbara Durant (vln); Leonard Selic, Carole Mukogawa (viola); Nathan Gershman (cello); Marion Sherrill (music preparation); Caiphus Semenya (arr, cond).

f. Afro Texas (Wayne Henderson/Caiphus Semenya) - 3:31
g. Now We May Begin (Joe Sample) - 3:35

same, add poss. Nat Adderley (tp); Cannonball Adderley (as); background vcl.

h. Setho (Wayne Henderson) - 4:20

Hollywood, California: August 4, 1972
Joe Sample (p); Joe Pass, David T. Walker (g); Wilton Felder (b); Stix Hooper (d); Mailto Correa, Milt Holland (perc); Letta Mbulu (vcl).
overdubbed later.
strings, Jimmy Jones (string orchestrations).

i. Saddest Day (Caiphus Semenya) - 5:00

overdubbed later.
horns, Wayne Henderson (hrn orchestrations).

j. Learn To Love (Caiphus Semenya/Letta Mbulu/Wayne Henderson) - 3:33

same, add Cannonball Adderley (as), strings, Jimmy Jones (string orchestrations).

k. Zimkile (Caiphus Semenya) - 3:15

Note: Special thanks to Terri Hinte and Debra Frequez.

Issues: a-d & f-k on Fantasy F-9428, BGP (E) CDBGPM 214 [CD], Magic of Music (SA) MMT 1082, Munjale Music (SA) ZMUN 2003 [cass], CCP/EMI (SA) CDFAT (WM) 88 [CD].
Samplers: b also on SonyBMG (SA) CDBSP3177 [CD] titled COLLECTIONS. f also on BGP (E) BGP1 05, CDBGPD095 [CD] titled THE 'NEW JAZZ' SPECTRUM 3 and BGP (E) BGP2 140, BGP (E) CDBGPD 140 [CD] titled LIVING IN THE STREETS 2. a, b & k also on Columbia (SA) CDCOL 8109 P [CD] titled GREATEST HITS.
Producer: Caiphus Semenya for Junat Productions
Notes: Dean Rudland (BGP (E) CDBGPM 214 [CD]).

Covers: "Kube" (with added music by Lebo M) also performed by Lebo M on RHYTHM OF THE PRIDE LANDS (Walt Disney 60871-7 [CD]).

THERE'S MUSIC IN THE AIR
Letta Mbulu
prob. Los Angeles: c. August 1976
collective personnel inc. Richard Tee, Joe Sample (key); Freddie Harris, Lee Ritenour (g); Chuck Rainey or Louis Johnson (b); "Spider" Webb, Jim Gordon and/or James Gadson, Bernard Purdie (d); Erroll (The Crusher) Bennett (perc); Vic Feldman (vib); Emil Richards (vib, marimba, b-marimba, tympani); Letta Mbulu (vcl, arr); Herb Alpert (arr); Caiphus Semenya (arr, orchestration).
overdubbed (?) in Los Angeles, California: September 3, 1976
Bill Perkins, Jerome Richardson, Bernard Fleischer, Jack Nimitz, Ernie Watts (woodwinds); Stan Sheldone, Elizabeth Finch (copyist); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Los Angeles: September 7, 1976
John Audino, Bobby Shew, Marion Childers, Gene Goe (tp); Bob Edmondson, Charles Loper, George Bohanon, Dick Hyde (tb); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Hollywood, California: September 29, 1976
Benjamin Powell (tb); Bobby Bryant, Reunald Jones (tp); Sidney Muldrow (frhrn); Herman Riley (woodwinds); Donald Cooke (copyist, arr, cond).

a. Music Man (Caiphus Semenya) - 3:37

prob. Los Angeles: c. August 1976
collective personnel inc. Richard Tee, Joe Sample (key); Freddie Harris, Lee Ritenour (g); Chuck Rainey (b); "Spider" Webb, Jim Gordon (d); Erroll (The Crusher) Bennett (perc); Vic Feldman (vib); Emil Richards (vib, marimba, b-marimba, tympani); Letta Mbulu (vcl, arr); Herb Alpert (arr); Caiphus Semenya (arr, orchestration).
overdubbed in Los Angeles, California: August 31, 1976
Wilbert Nuttycomb, Gordon Marron, Marvin Limonick, Bobby Bruce, Mari Tsumura, Marilyn Baker, Shari Zippert, Jay Rosen, Jerome Reisler (vln); Dan Neufeld, Samuel Boghossian (viola); Anne Goodman, Raphael Kramer (cello); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Los Angeles, California: September 1, 1976
Marion Childers, Gene Goe, Warren Luening, Bobby Shew (tp); Bob Edmondson, George Bohanon, Dick Hyde, Charles Loper (tb); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Los Angeles, California: September 3, 1976
Bill Perkins, Jerome Richardson, Bernard Fleischer, Jack Nimitz, Ernie Watts (woodwinds); Stan Sheldone, Elizabeth Finch (copyist); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Hollywood, California: September 29, 1976
Benjamin Powell (tb); Bobby Bryant, Reunald Jones (tp); Sidney Muldrow (frhrn); Herman Riley (woodwinds); Donald Cooke (copyist, arr, cond).

b. Sacred Drum (Caiphus Semenya) - 3:34

prob. Los Angeles: c. August 1976
collective personnel inc. Richard Tee, Joe Sample (key); Freddie Harris, Lee Ritenour (g); Chuck Rainey (b); "Spider" Webb, Jim Gordon (d); Erroll (The Crusher) Bennett (perc); Vic Feldman (vib); Emil Richards (vib, marimba, b-marimba, tympani); Letta Mbulu (vcl, arr); Herb Alpert (arr); Caiphus Semenya (arr, orchestration).
overdubbed in Los Angeles, California: August 31, 1976
Wilbert Nuttycomb, Gordon Marron, Marvin Limonick, Bobby Bruce, Mari Tsumura, Marilyn Baker, Shari Zippert, Jay Rosen, Jerome Reisler (vln); Dan Neufeld, Samuel Boghossian (viola); Anne Goodman, Raphael Kramer (cello); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed in Los Angeles, California: September 1, 1976
Marion Childers, Gene Goe, Warren Luening, Bobby Shew (tp); Bob Edmondson, George Bohanon, Dick Hyde, Charles Loper (tb); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed in Los Angeles, California: September 3, 1976
Bill Perkins, Jerome Richardson, Bernard Fleischer, Jack Nimitz, Ernie Watts (woodwinds); Stan Sheldone, Elizabeth Finch (copyist); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).

c. Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady (Harriet Schock) - 3:32

prob. Los Angeles: c. August 1976
collective personnel inc. Richard Tee, Joe Sample (key); Freddie Harris, Lee Ritenour (g); Chuck Rainey (b); "Spider" Webb, Jim Gordon (d); Erroll (The Crusher) Bennett (perc); Vic Feldman (vib); Emil Richards (vib, marimba, b-marimba, tympani); Letta Mbulu (vcl, arr); Herb Alpert (arr); Caiphus Semenya (arr, orchestration).
overdubbed in Los Angeles, California: August 31, 1976
Wilbert Nuttycomb, Gordon Marron, Marvin Limonick, Bobby Bruce, Mari Tsumura, Marilyn Baker, Shari Zippert, Jay Rosen, Jerome Reisler (vln); Dan Neufel, Samuel Boghossian (viola); Anne Goodman, Raphael Kramer (cello); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).

d. There's Music In The Air (Caiphus Semenya/Will Jennings) - 6:53

prob. Los Angeles: c. August 1976
collective personnel inc. Richard Tee, Joe Sample (key); Freddie Harris, Lee Ritenour (g); Chuck Rainey (b); "Spider" Webb, Jim Gordon (d); Erroll (The Crusher) Bennett (perc); Vic Feldman (vib); Emil Richards (vib, marimba, b-marimba, tympani); Letta Mbulu (vcl, arr); Herb Alpert (arr); Caiphus Semenya (arr, orchestration).
overdubbed in Los Angeles, California: August 31, 1976
Wilbert Nuttycomb, Gordon Marron, Marvin Limonick, Bobby Bruce, Mari Tsumura, Marilyn Baker, Shari Zippert, Jay Rosen, Jerome Reisler (vln); Dan Neufeld, Samuel Boghossian (viola); Anne Goodman, Raphael Kramer (cello); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Los Angeles, California: September 1, 1976
Marion Childers, Gene Goe, Warren Luening, Bobby Shew (tp); Bob Edmondson, George Bohanon, Dick Hyde, Charles Loper (tb); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Los Angeles, California: September 3, 1976
Bill Perkins, Jerome Richardson, Bernard Fleischer, Jack Nimitz, Ernie Watts (woodwinds); Stan Sheldone, Elizabeth Finch (copyist); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Hollywood, California: September 29, 1976
Benjamin Powell (tb); Bobby Bryant, Reunald Jones (tp); Sidney Muldrow (frhrn); Herman Riley (woodwinds); Donald Cooke (copyist, arr, cond).

e. Maru a Pula (Clouds of Rain) (Caiphus Semenya) - 3:43

add Herb Alpert (flhrn solo).

f. Feelings (Morris Albert) - 2:37

same or similar.

g. Let's Go Dancing (Joan Armatrading) /

add Caiphus Semenya (vcl); John Barnes (bridge modulation).

h. You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling (Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil/Phil Spector) - 7:07

prob. Los Angeles: c. August 1976
collective personnel inc. Richard Tee, Joe Sample (key); Freddie Harris, Lee Ritenour (g); Chuck Rainey (b); "Spider" Webb, Jim Gordon (d); Erroll (The Crusher) Bennett (perc); Vic Feldman (vib); Emil Richards (vib, marimba, b-marimba, tympani); Letta Mbulu (vcl, arr); Herb Alpert (arr); Caiphus Semenya (arr, orchestration).
overdubbed in Los Angeles, California: August 31, 1976
Wilbert Nuttycomb, Gordon Marron, Marvin Limonick, Bobby Bruce, Mari Tsumura, Marilyn Baker, Shari Zippert, Jay Rosen, Jerome Reisler (vln); Dan Neufeld, Samuel Boghossian (viola); Anne Goodman, Raphael Kramer (cello); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed in Los Angeles, California: September 3, 1976
Bill Perkins, Jerome Richardson, Bernard Fleischer, Jack Nimitz, Ernie Watts (woodwinds); Stan Sheldone, Elizabeth Finch (copyist); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed in Los Angeles: September 7, 1976
John Audino, Bobby Shew, Marion Childers, Gene Goe (tp); Bob Edmondson, Charles Loper, George Bohanon, Dick Hyde (tb); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).

i. Tristeza (Reunião de Tristêza) (Sivuca (Severino De Oliveira)) - 3:53

prob. Los Angeles: c. August 1976
collective personnel inc. Richard Tee, Joe Sample (key); Freddie Harris, Lee Ritenour (g); Chuck Rainey or Louis Johnson (b); "Spider" Webb, Jim Gordon and/or James Gadson, Bernard Purdie (d); Erroll (The Crusher) Bennett (perc); Vic Feldman (vib); Emil Richards (vib, marimba, b-marimba, tympani); Letta Mbulu (vcl, arr); Herb Alpert (arr); Caiphus Semenya (arr, orchestration).
overdubbed (?) in Los Angeles, California: September 3, 1976
Bill Perkins, Jerome Richardson, Bernard Fleischer, Jack Nimitz, Ernie Watts (woodwinds); Stan Sheldone, Elizabeth Finch (copyist); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Los Angeles: September 7, 1976
John Audino, Bobby Shew, Marion Childers, Gene Goe (tp); Bob Edmondson, Charles Loper, George Bohanon, Dick Hyde (tb); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Hollywood, California: September 29, 1976
Benjamin Powell (tb); Bobby Bryant, Reunald Jones (tp); Sidney Muldrow (frhrn); Herman Riley (woodwinds); Donald Cooke (copyist, arr, cond).

j. Rainy Day Music (Caiphus Semenya/Will Jennings) - 2:27

Note: Special thanks to Debra Frequez.

Issues: a-j on A&M SP-4609, A&M (E) AMLH 64609 (issued March 1977), A&M (Jap) D32Y3589 [CD], A&M (Jap) UICY-3319 [CD].
Singles: a on A&M 1915-S [45]. e (as "Clouds of Rain" - 3:20 edit) & g (3:12 edit) on A&M 1950-S [45]. d (3:16 edit) on A&M 1979-S [45].
Samplers: c, d & e also on Columbia (SA) CDCOL 8109 P [CD] titled GREATEST HITS. c & e also on SonyBMG (SA) CDBSP3177 [CD] titled COLLECTIONS. e also on Columbia (SA) CDCOL 8008 P [CD] titled THE BEST OF CAIPHUS SEMENYA AND LETTA MBULU.
Producer: Herb Alpert. Associate Producer: Caiphus Semenya
Engineer: Steve Mitchell. Assistant Engineer: John Beverly Jones

Some More On Sis Letta's Birographical Discography

NATURALLY
Letta Mbulu
Hollywood, California: August 2, 1972
Joe Sample (key); Arthur Adams, David T. Walker (g); Wilton Felder (b); Stix Hooper (d); Mailto Correa, Milt Holland (perc); Letta Mbulu (vcl).
overdubbed later
horns, background vcl, Wayne Henderson (arr, hrn orchestrations).

a. Kube (Caiphus Semenya) - 3:17
b. Noma Themba (aka Nomathemba) (Letta Mbulu/Caiphus Semenya) - 3:28
c. Hareje (Caiphus Semenya) - 4:06

Hollywood, California: August 2, 1972
Joe Sample (key); Arthur Adams, David T. Walker (g); Wilton Felder (b); Stix Hooper (d); Mailto Correa, Milt Holland (perc); Letta Mbulu (vcl).
overdubbed in Hollywood, California: December 19, 1972
Jay DaVersa, Larry Ford (tp); Maurice Spears, Britt Woodman (tb); Herman Riley, Fred Jackson (reeds); Wayne Henderson (hrn orchestrations); Caiphus Semenya (arr).
overdubbed in Hollywood, California: December 21, 1972
Carroll Stephens, Barbara Durant (vln); Leonard Selic, Carole Mukogawa (viola); Nathan Gershman (cello); Marion Sherrill (music preparation); Jimmy Jones (string orchestrations); Caiphus Semenya (arr, cond).

d. Never Leave You (Caiphus Semenya) - 4:05

Hollywood, California: August 3, 1972
Joe Sample (key); Arthur Adams, David T. Walker (g); Wilton Felder (el-b); Stix Hooper (d); Mailto Correa, Milt Holland (perc); Letta Mbulu (vcl).

e. Oluwa

Hollywood, California: August 3, 1972
Joe Sample (key); Arthur Adams, David T. Walker (g); Wilton Felder (el-b); Stix Hooper (d); Mailto Correa, Milt Holland (perc); Letta Mbulu (vcl).
overdubbed in Hollywood, California: December 19, 1972
Jay DaVersa, Larry Ford (tp); Maurice Spears, Britt Woodman (tb); Herman Riley, Fred Jackson (reeds); Caiphus Semenya (arr).
overdubbbed in Hollywood, California: December 21, 1972
Carroll Stephens, Barbara Durant (vln); Leonard Selic, Carole Mukogawa (viola); Nathan Gershman (cello); Marion Sherrill (music preparation); Caiphus Semenya (arr, cond).

f. Afro Texas (Wayne Henderson/Caiphus Semenya) - 3:31
g. Now We May Begin (Joe Sample) - 3:35

same, add poss. Nat Adderley (tp); Cannonball Adderley (as); background vcl.

h. Setho (Wayne Henderson) - 4:20

Hollywood, California: August 4, 1972
Joe Sample (p); Joe Pass, David T. Walker (g); Wilton Felder (b); Stix Hooper (d); Mailto Correa, Milt Holland (perc); Letta Mbulu (vcl).
overdubbed later.
strings, Jimmy Jones (string orchestrations).

i. Saddest Day (Caiphus Semenya) - 5:00

overdubbed later.
horns, Wayne Henderson (hrn orchestrations).

j. Learn To Love (Caiphus Semenya/Letta Mbulu/Wayne Henderson) - 3:33

same, add Cannonball Adderley (as), strings, Jimmy Jones (string orchestrations).

k. Zimkile (Caiphus Semenya) - 3:15

Note: Special thanks to Terri Hinte and Debra Frequez.

Issues: a-d & f-k on Fantasy F-9428, BGP (E) CDBGPM 214 [CD], Magic of Music (SA) MMT 1082, Munjale Music (SA) ZMUN 2003 [cass], CCP/EMI (SA) CDFAT (WM) 88 [CD].
Samplers: b also on SonyBMG (SA) CDBSP3177 [CD] titled COLLECTIONS. f also on BGP (E) BGP1 05, CDBGPD095 [CD] titled THE 'NEW JAZZ' SPECTRUM 3 and BGP (E) BGP2 140, BGP (E) CDBGPD 140 [CD] titled LIVING IN THE STREETS 2. a, b & k also on Columbia (SA) CDCOL 8109 P [CD] titled GREATEST HITS.
Producer: Caiphus Semenya for Junat Productions
Notes: Dean Rudland (BGP (E) CDBGPM 214 [CD]).

Covers: "Kube" (with added music by Lebo M) also performed by Lebo M on RHYTHM OF THE PRIDE LANDS (Walt Disney 60871-7 [CD]).

THERE'S MUSIC IN THE AIR
Letta Mbulu
prob. Los Angeles: c. August 1976
collective personnel inc. Richard Tee, Joe Sample (key); Freddie Harris, Lee Ritenour (g); Chuck Rainey or Louis Johnson (b); "Spider" Webb, Jim Gordon and/or James Gadson, Bernard Purdie (d); Erroll (The Crusher) Bennett (perc); Vic Feldman (vib); Emil Richards (vib, marimba, b-marimba, tympani); Letta Mbulu (vcl, arr); Herb Alpert (arr); Caiphus Semenya (arr, orchestration).
overdubbed (?) in Los Angeles, California: September 3, 1976
Bill Perkins, Jerome Richardson, Bernard Fleischer, Jack Nimitz, Ernie Watts (woodwinds); Stan Sheldone, Elizabeth Finch (copyist); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Los Angeles: September 7, 1976
John Audino, Bobby Shew, Marion Childers, Gene Goe (tp); Bob Edmondson, Charles Loper, George Bohanon, Dick Hyde (tb); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Hollywood, California: September 29, 1976
Benjamin Powell (tb); Bobby Bryant, Reunald Jones (tp); Sidney Muldrow (frhrn); Herman Riley (woodwinds); Donald Cooke (copyist, arr, cond).

a. Music Man (Caiphus Semenya) - 3:37

prob. Los Angeles: c. August 1976
collective personnel inc. Richard Tee, Joe Sample (key); Freddie Harris, Lee Ritenour (g); Chuck Rainey (b); "Spider" Webb, Jim Gordon (d); Erroll (The Crusher) Bennett (perc); Vic Feldman (vib); Emil Richards (vib, marimba, b-marimba, tympani); Letta Mbulu (vcl, arr); Herb Alpert (arr); Caiphus Semenya (arr, orchestration).
overdubbed in Los Angeles, California: August 31, 1976
Wilbert Nuttycomb, Gordon Marron, Marvin Limonick, Bobby Bruce, Mari Tsumura, Marilyn Baker, Shari Zippert, Jay Rosen, Jerome Reisler (vln); Dan Neufeld, Samuel Boghossian (viola); Anne Goodman, Raphael Kramer (cello); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Los Angeles, California: September 1, 1976
Marion Childers, Gene Goe, Warren Luening, Bobby Shew (tp); Bob Edmondson, George Bohanon, Dick Hyde, Charles Loper (tb); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Los Angeles, California: September 3, 1976
Bill Perkins, Jerome Richardson, Bernard Fleischer, Jack Nimitz, Ernie Watts (woodwinds); Stan Sheldone, Elizabeth Finch (copyist); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Hollywood, California: September 29, 1976
Benjamin Powell (tb); Bobby Bryant, Reunald Jones (tp); Sidney Muldrow (frhrn); Herman Riley (woodwinds); Donald Cooke (copyist, arr, cond).

b. Sacred Drum (Caiphus Semenya) - 3:34

prob. Los Angeles: c. August 1976
collective personnel inc. Richard Tee, Joe Sample (key); Freddie Harris, Lee Ritenour (g); Chuck Rainey (b); "Spider" Webb, Jim Gordon (d); Erroll (The Crusher) Bennett (perc); Vic Feldman (vib); Emil Richards (vib, marimba, b-marimba, tympani); Letta Mbulu (vcl, arr); Herb Alpert (arr); Caiphus Semenya (arr, orchestration).
overdubbed in Los Angeles, California: August 31, 1976
Wilbert Nuttycomb, Gordon Marron, Marvin Limonick, Bobby Bruce, Mari Tsumura, Marilyn Baker, Shari Zippert, Jay Rosen, Jerome Reisler (vln); Dan Neufeld, Samuel Boghossian (viola); Anne Goodman, Raphael Kramer (cello); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed in Los Angeles, California: September 1, 1976
Marion Childers, Gene Goe, Warren Luening, Bobby Shew (tp); Bob Edmondson, George Bohanon, Dick Hyde, Charles Loper (tb); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed in Los Angeles, California: September 3, 1976
Bill Perkins, Jerome Richardson, Bernard Fleischer, Jack Nimitz, Ernie Watts (woodwinds); Stan Sheldone, Elizabeth Finch (copyist); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).

c. Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady (Harriet Schock) - 3:32

prob. Los Angeles: c. August 1976
collective personnel inc. Richard Tee, Joe Sample (key); Freddie Harris, Lee Ritenour (g); Chuck Rainey (b); "Spider" Webb, Jim Gordon (d); Erroll (The Crusher) Bennett (perc); Vic Feldman (vib); Emil Richards (vib, marimba, b-marimba, tympani); Letta Mbulu (vcl, arr); Herb Alpert (arr); Caiphus Semenya (arr, orchestration).
overdubbed in Los Angeles, California: August 31, 1976
Wilbert Nuttycomb, Gordon Marron, Marvin Limonick, Bobby Bruce, Mari Tsumura, Marilyn Baker, Shari Zippert, Jay Rosen, Jerome Reisler (vln); Dan Neufel, Samuel Boghossian (viola); Anne Goodman, Raphael Kramer (cello); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).

d. There's Music In The Air (Caiphus Semenya/Will Jennings) - 6:53

prob. Los Angeles: c. August 1976
collective personnel inc. Richard Tee, Joe Sample (key); Freddie Harris, Lee Ritenour (g); Chuck Rainey (b); "Spider" Webb, Jim Gordon (d); Erroll (The Crusher) Bennett (perc); Vic Feldman (vib); Emil Richards (vib, marimba, b-marimba, tympani); Letta Mbulu (vcl, arr); Herb Alpert (arr); Caiphus Semenya (arr, orchestration).
overdubbed in Los Angeles, California: August 31, 1976
Wilbert Nuttycomb, Gordon Marron, Marvin Limonick, Bobby Bruce, Mari Tsumura, Marilyn Baker, Shari Zippert, Jay Rosen, Jerome Reisler (vln); Dan Neufeld, Samuel Boghossian (viola); Anne Goodman, Raphael Kramer (cello); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Los Angeles, California: September 1, 1976
Marion Childers, Gene Goe, Warren Luening, Bobby Shew (tp); Bob Edmondson, George Bohanon, Dick Hyde, Charles Loper (tb); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Los Angeles, California: September 3, 1976
Bill Perkins, Jerome Richardson, Bernard Fleischer, Jack Nimitz, Ernie Watts (woodwinds); Stan Sheldone, Elizabeth Finch (copyist); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Hollywood, California: September 29, 1976
Benjamin Powell (tb); Bobby Bryant, Reunald Jones (tp); Sidney Muldrow (frhrn); Herman Riley (woodwinds); Donald Cooke (copyist, arr, cond).

e. Maru a Pula (Clouds of Rain) (Caiphus Semenya) - 3:43

add Herb Alpert (flhrn solo).

f. Feelings (Morris Albert) - 2:37

same or similar.

g. Let's Go Dancing (Joan Armatrading) /

add Caiphus Semenya (vcl); John Barnes (bridge modulation).

h. You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling (Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil/Phil Spector) - 7:07

prob. Los Angeles: c. August 1976
collective personnel inc. Richard Tee, Joe Sample (key); Freddie Harris, Lee Ritenour (g); Chuck Rainey (b); "Spider" Webb, Jim Gordon (d); Erroll (The Crusher) Bennett (perc); Vic Feldman (vib); Emil Richards (vib, marimba, b-marimba, tympani); Letta Mbulu (vcl, arr); Herb Alpert (arr); Caiphus Semenya (arr, orchestration).
overdubbed in Los Angeles, California: August 31, 1976
Wilbert Nuttycomb, Gordon Marron, Marvin Limonick, Bobby Bruce, Mari Tsumura, Marilyn Baker, Shari Zippert, Jay Rosen, Jerome Reisler (vln); Dan Neufeld, Samuel Boghossian (viola); Anne Goodman, Raphael Kramer (cello); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed in Los Angeles, California: September 3, 1976
Bill Perkins, Jerome Richardson, Bernard Fleischer, Jack Nimitz, Ernie Watts (woodwinds); Stan Sheldone, Elizabeth Finch (copyist); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed in Los Angeles: September 7, 1976
John Audino, Bobby Shew, Marion Childers, Gene Goe (tp); Bob Edmondson, Charles Loper, George Bohanon, Dick Hyde (tb); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).

i. Tristeza (Reunião de Tristêza) (Sivuca (Severino De Oliveira)) - 3:53

prob. Los Angeles: c. August 1976
collective personnel inc. Richard Tee, Joe Sample (key); Freddie Harris, Lee Ritenour (g); Chuck Rainey or Louis Johnson (b); "Spider" Webb, Jim Gordon and/or James Gadson, Bernard Purdie (d); Erroll (The Crusher) Bennett (perc); Vic Feldman (vib); Emil Richards (vib, marimba, b-marimba, tympani); Letta Mbulu (vcl, arr); Herb Alpert (arr); Caiphus Semenya (arr, orchestration).
overdubbed (?) in Los Angeles, California: September 3, 1976
Bill Perkins, Jerome Richardson, Bernard Fleischer, Jack Nimitz, Ernie Watts (woodwinds); Stan Sheldone, Elizabeth Finch (copyist); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Los Angeles: September 7, 1976
John Audino, Bobby Shew, Marion Childers, Gene Goe (tp); Bob Edmondson, Charles Loper, George Bohanon, Dick Hyde (tb); Jules Chaikin (contractor); Johnny Mandel (arr, cond).
overdubbed (?) in Hollywood, California: September 29, 1976
Benjamin Powell (tb); Bobby Bryant, Reunald Jones (tp); Sidney Muldrow (frhrn); Herman Riley (woodwinds); Donald Cooke (copyist, arr, cond).

j. Rainy Day Music (Caiphus Semenya/Will Jennings) - 2:27

Note: Special thanks to Debra Frequez.

Issues: a-j on A&M SP-4609, A&M (E) AMLH 64609 (issued March 1977), A&M (Jap) D32Y3589 [CD], A&M (Jap) UICY-3319 [CD].
Singles: a on A&M 1915-S [45]. e (as "Clouds of Rain" - 3:20 edit) & g (3:12 edit) on A&M 1950-S [45]. d (3:16 edit) on A&M 1979-S [45].
Samplers: c, d & e also on Columbia (SA) CDCOL 8109 P [CD] titled GREATEST HITS. c & e also on SonyBMG (SA) CDBSP3177 [CD] titled COLLECTIONS. e also on Columbia (SA) CDCOL 8008 P [CD] titled THE BEST OF CAIPHUS SEMENYA AND LETTA MBULU.
Producer: Herb Alpert. Associate Producer: Caiphus Semenya
Engineer: Steve Mitchell. Assistant Engineer: John Beverly Jones

Manu Dibango - Abele Dance Original 12 inch Vers

Manu Dibango

This piece was taken from Amplifying...

It is almost impossible to find a fitting description for a musician such as Manu Dibango who has made such an enormous contribution to African music as a whole. He is a saxophonist, nicknamed 'The lion of Cameroon', from a track on The Very Best of African Soul album. Originally trained in classical piano, his musical career began in Brussels and Paris in the 1950s. 1960 finds him in Congo as a member of African Jazz led by Joseph Kabasele (Le Grand Kalle)! He formed his own band in Cameroon in 1963, moving to Paris in 1965. His international breakthrough came in 1972 with Soul Makossa.

Manu Dibango is extraordinarily versatile, having played almost every style of music you care to mention: soul, reggae, jazz, spirituals, blues... Dibango features on albums by Angelique Kidjo, Anne-Marie Nzié, Meiway and Kékélé (Kinavana, 2006) and, on his Wakafrika album of 1994, many top African and international musicians contribute (see CDs), In 1985 Manu raised funds for famine-striken Ethiopia through his successful 'Tam-Tams for Ethiopia' project with Mory Kante and others.

Manu's first album was recorded in 1969 and in 1970 he accompanied Franklin Boukaka on a classic 12-track album (see CDs). In 2000 two were released: Anthology, a boxed set of 3 CDs (see CDs) and Mboa' Su (see CDs) which includes a new arrangement of Franklin Boukaka's track 'Aye Africa' (Le Bucheron), made for the millennium celebrations on Robben Island in the presence of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.

Listening to the Anthology CDs you will find some amazing contrasts from one track to the next. In 2000 Manu gave a concert in Cameroon after many years away and was given the honour Cameroonian of the Century together with football star Roger Milla. An album with a difference was released in 2002: entitled B Sides, most of the tracks are remastered from recordings in the 1970s where Manu plays, not sax, but the marimba and vibraphone. There are Rough Guides to the music of whole countries

Fela Kuti - Water no get enemy

King Sunny Ade - Classics Volume 1: (Let Them Say & Edide)

Stompie Mavi-Somagwaza.

Mavi PLAYS HIS LAST TUNE

The following piece was written by Edward Tsumele:

Veteran Afro-jazz musician Stompie Mavi, who popularised the Xhosa traditional song Unomnganga by giving it a new interpretation and a modern vibe, has died.

The maestro, who was confined to a wheelchair for several years, died yesterday in Queenstown, his home town, after a long illness. He was 57.

Activist and musician Mzwakhe Mbuli described Mavi's death as "devastating news".

"The death of Stompie Mavi has devastated the entire music industry. It's a bad way to start a new year. None can replace him, and this void shall never be filled. The timing is very bad indeed," Mbuli said.

Mikia Makam, the owner of popular restaurant Shivava, where Mavi's Unomnganga song sends both young and old on to the dance floor on weekends to this day, has described Mavi's death as a loss to the entertainment industry.

"Is it really true that the lion has fallen? He was an icon of the entertainment industry. His songs, particularly Unomnganga, were appreciated by his fans at Shivava. His fans will miss him. We at Shivava send our condolences to his family," Makam said.

The Afro-jazz maestro, who loomed large on the South African music scene, is respected for releasing some of the most enduring music in the country.

The short-tempered musician suffered a setback in 1987 when he was left wheelchair-bound after being stabbed in a robbery.

He then struggled to find gigs as a result of being disabled.

Some of the songs that his fans will remember include Umendo, Ngenxa Yakho, Nozamile, Oneness, Bayombela, Tyamzashe and Thou Shall Not Kill.

The Queens-town-born musician started singing at the age of eight and went on to study classical music.

Chucho Valdez And Irakere

Por Romper el Coco (feat. Irakere)

Chucho Valdez And Irakere

This piece below was culled from Wikipedia:


Irakere's jazz legacy...

Paquito D'Rivera defected to the United States in 1980. Arturo Sandoval left the group a year later, and then defected to the United States in 1990. Both musicians have commented on the joy they felt, at being able to finally pursue jazz careers in the United States, and the honor of playing alongside their jazz heroes.

As is typical of Cuban jazz musicians who defect to the U.S., their jazz playing fully matured when they moved to the country where jazz was born. As time went on, D'Rivera began looking back, and gained a deeper appreciation for the music of his first home. In 1994 he stated that he fell in love with Cuban music again on the shores of the Hudson River.

Since he left Cuba, D'Rivera has recorded several albums with Cuban themes, including La Habana-Rio Conexión (1992), 40 Years of Cuban Jam Session (1994), Habanera Absolute Ensemble (1999), and Tropicana Nights (1999).

Sandoval, who was once threatened with imprisonment by the Cuban government for listening to American jazz on the radio,[13] has recorded albums of both straight-ahead jazz, and jazz with a strong Cuban influence. Chucho Valdés has also pursued a successful jazz career, recording for the prestigious Blue Note jazz label.

"Jazz bands" began forming in Cuba as early as the 1920s. These bands often included both Cuban popular music and popular North American jazz, and show tunes in their repertoires. Despite this musical versatility, the movement of blending Afro-Cuban rhythms with jazz was not strong in Cuba itself for decades. As Leonardo Acosta observes: "Afro-Cuban jazz developed simultaneously in New York and Havana, with the difference that in Cuba it was a silent and almost natural process, practically imperceptible" (2003: 59).

Cuba's significant contribution to the genre came relatively late. However, when it did come, the Cubans exhibited a level of Cuban-jazz integration that went far beyond most of what had come before. The first Cuban band of this new wave was Irakere.

Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna[edit]
With Irakere, a new era in Cuban jazz begins in 1973, one that will extend all the way to the present. At the same time, this period represents the culmination of a series of individual and collective efforts from our so-called transition period, which will end with the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna.

Irakere was in part a product of the Moderna, as its founding members completed their musical training in that orchestra and also played jazz in the different quartets and quintets that were created with the OCMM. Among the founders of Irakere were pianist Chucho Valdés, its director since the beginning; saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera, who acted as assistant director; trumpet player Jorge Varona; guitarist Carlos Emilio Morales; bassist Carlos del Puerto; drummer Bernardo García; and percussionist Oscar Valdés II, also a singer—Acosta (2003: 211).[4]

That was a time where jazz music was a four-letter word in Cuba - literally! After many years of that thought, in 1967, they decided to create the Orquesta [Cubana de Música Moderna]. There were a lot of left wing people going to Cuba, attending congresses and visiting. So the government decided to create an image that jazz was not forbidden and that nothing was forbidden there.

So they created the Orquesta to play American music - that is incredible. It was to create a different image than what they had created all those years. So they created the Orquesta. I directed the band for two years. . . . When I decided that I wanted to play only jazz in the Orquesta, then I got fired . . . . and after a while, the Orquesta ceased to achieve the function that it was created for and it disappeared—D'Rivera (2011: web).

Irakere, which was founded by members of the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna, has always been an eclectic band. From the beginning, the group showcased the scope of their uniquely Cuban music education: Afro-Cuban folkloric music, Cuban popular dance music, funk, jazz, and even classical music.

The early years saw a lot of experimenting, with the mixing these different genres in original ways. From the vantage point of today, some of Irakere's early experiments sound awkward and don't mesh. On the other hand, some early experiments by the group were musical landmarks, that began entirely new traditions.

"Cubanized" bebop-flavored horn lines

"Chékere-son" (1976) for example, introduced a style of "Cubanized" bebop-flavored lines, that departed from the more "angular" guajeo-based lines typical of Cuban popular music.

"Chékere-son" is an extremely interesting one. It's based on a legendary 1945 Charlie Parker bebop composition called "Billie's Bounce." Almost every phrase of the Parker song can be found in "Chékere-son" but it's all jumbled together in a very clever and compelling way. David Peñalosa sees the track as a pivotal one - perhaps the first really satisfying fusion of clave and bebop horn lines—Moore (2011: web).

The horn line style introduced in "Chékere-son" is heard today in Afro-Cuban jazz, and the contemporary popular dance genre known as timba.

Afro-Cuban folkloric/jazz fusion[edit]
Another important Irakere contribution is their use of batá and other Afro-Cuban folkloric drums. "Bacalao con pan" is the first song recorded by Irakere to use batá. The tune combines the folkloric drums, jazzy dance music, and distorted electric guitar with wah-wah pedal.

According to UC Irvine musicologist and Irakere expert Raúl A. Fernández, the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna members would not have been allowed by the orquesta to record the unconventional song. The musicians travelled to Santiago to record it. "somehow the tune made it from Santiago to radio stations in Havana where it became a hit; Irakere was formally organized a little bit later" (2011: web).

Ironically, several of the founding members did not always appreciate Irakere's fusion of jazz and Afro-Cuban elements. They saw the Cuban folk elements as a type of nationalistic "fig leaf," cover for their true love—jazz.

They were obsessed with jazz. The fusing of Afro-Cuban elements with jazz in Irakere is a direct consequence of the poor relations between the Cuban and United States governments. Cuba's Ministry of Culture is said to have viewed jazz as the music of "imperialist America." Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval states: "We wanted to play bebop, but we were told that our drummer couldn’t even use cymbals, because they sounded 'too jazzy.'

We eventually used congas and cowbells instead, and in the end, it helped us to come up with something new and creative" (2007: web).[8] Pablo Menéndez, founder of Mezcla, recalls: "Irakere were jazz musicians who played stuff like 'Bacalao con pan' with a bit of a tongue in cheek attitude—'for the masses.' I remember Paquito d'Rivera thought it was pretty funny stuff (as opposed to 'serious' stuff)" (2011: web).

In spite of the ambivalence by some members towards Irakere's Afro-Cuban folkloric/jazz fusion, their experiments forever changed Cuban popular music, Latin jazz, and salsa. As D'Rivera states: "We didn’t know that we were going to have such an impact in jazz and Latin music around the world. We were just working to do something good" (2011: web).

Babatunde Olatunji

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQFReULPDDE

The Late Baba Olatunji at the Grassroots Festival 1993

Babatunde Olatunji

Waqcku edited this piece:

Babatunde Olatunji (April 7, 1927 – April 6, 2003) was a Nigerian drummer, educator, social activist and recording artist. Olatunji was born in the village of Ajido, a small town near Badagry, Lagos State, in southwestern Nigeria. A member of the Yoruba people, Olatunji was introduced to traditional African music at an early age. He read in Reader’s Digest magazine about the Rotary International Foundation’s scholarship program, and applied for it. He came to the United States of America in 1950. Olatunji won a following among jazz musicians, notably creating a strong relationship with John Coltrane and Columbia Records A&R man John Hammond who signed him to the Columbia label in 1957. With Coltrane’s help, he founded the Olatunji Center for African Culture in Harlem. This was the site of Coltrane’s final performance.

In 1959 Olatunji released his first of six records on the Columbia label, called Drums of Passion. In 1969, Carlos Santana had a major hit with his cover version of this first album’s “Jin-go-lo-ba,” which Santana recorded on his debut album, Santana, as “Jingo.” Olatunji favoured a big percussion sound, and his records typically featured more than 20 players, unusual for a percussion based ensemble. Drums of Passion became a major hit and remains in print; it introduced many Americans to world music. Drums of Passion also served as the band’s name. Notable band members included; Clark Terry, Bill Lee, Horace Silver, Yusef Lateef, Sikiru Adepoju and Charles Lloyd, among others.

Olatunji’s subsequent recordings include Drums of Passion: The Invocation (1988), Drums of Passion: The Beat (1989) (which included Airto Moreira and Carlos Santana), Love Drum Talk (1997), Circle of Drums (2005) (originally titled Cosmic Rhythm Vibrations, with Muruga Booker and Sikiru Adepoju), and Olatunji Live at Starwood (2003 – recorded at the 1997 Starwood Festival) with guest Halim El-Dabh. He also contributed to “Peace Is The World Smiling: A Peace Anthology For Families” on the Music For Little People label (1989).

Olatunji recorded with many other prominent musicians, including Cannonball Adderley (on his African Waltz album), Horace Silver, Quincy Jones, Pee Wee Ellis, Stevie Wonder, Randy Weston, and with Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln on the pivotal Freedom Now Suite aka We Insist, and with Grateful Dead member Mickey Hart on his Grammy winning Planet Drum projects. He is also mentioned in the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Free” as recorded on the album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.

Mongo Santamaria

MONGO SANTAMARIA - Afro Cuban Fantasy

Mongo Santamaria

Laura Hightower wrote the following Autobio of Mongo:

Born Ramon "Mongo" Santamaria on April 7, 1922, in Havana, Cuba; raised in the city's Jesus Maria district.

Afro-Cuban conga player, percussionist, and bandleader Mongo Santamaria is one of the most influential players of his generation. A popular performer since 1963, the year the Herbie Hancock-penned "Watermelon Man" reached the pop charts in the United States, Santamaria has explored his own Cuban musical roots throughout his career and has blended elements of jazz, rhythm and blues, rock, and popular music with the traditional sounds of his homeland. A "mesmerizing spectacle for both eyes and ears" in concert, the master percussionist "creates an incantory spell rooted in Cuban religious rituals, quietly seating himself before his congas and soloing with total command over the rhythmic spaces between the beats while his band pumps out an endless vamp," asserted All Music Guide contributor Richard S. Ginell. In addition to his ability to captivate an audience (evidenced on the hypnotic "Mazacote" from his 1972 African Roots album), Santamaria has proven himself a powerful bandleader as well. Many future notables have passed through Santamaria's ranks or collaborated with the conga player, from Nat Adderly and Jimmy Cobb, through Chick Corea, Hubert Laws, and Bob James. According to music historians, no Cuban percussionist, with the exception of Santana's Armando Peraza (and not counting Desi Arnaz), has reached as many listeners as Santamaria.
Touring and recording songs well into his late seventies, Santamaria in his later years has expressed his annoyance over the name given to his generation's music by critics and the press when several entertainers revived Cuban-influenced music during the 1990s. "What they call `salsa' is the Afro-Cuban music that we did 50 years ago," he told Aaron Cohen of Down Beat in November of 1999. "I don't see calling it a new thing. We used to call it mambo, guaracha, guanco, and every other name. Today they take everything and just call it salsa. It's an economical thing--with the Cuban Revolution, they tried to forget the music had anything to do with Cuba."
Ramon "Mongo" Santamaria was born on April 7, 1922, in Havana, Cuba. Raised in the city's Jesus Maria district, Santamaria was exposed to all kinds of Afro-Cuban rhythms--rumbas and Santeria rituals were everywhere. During his childhood, Santamaria first played the violin, but eventually switched to drums, dropping out of school in his teens to become a professional musician. In spite of his youth, he played in some of the city's most famous pre-Castro clubs, especially the Tropicana. By the early 1940s, Santamaria had established himself as one of Havana's leading percussionists, participating in an array of bands that drove the city's flourishing nightlife. One such group, the Orquestra Casino de la Playa, counted another famous Cuban, Perez Prado, among its members. When Prado took his own band to Mexico City in 1948, he took young Santamaria with him.
In 1950, Santamaria moved to New York City, where he made his American debut with Prado. After spending a total of three years on the road with Prado's orchestra, he left the ensemble to work with Tito Puente and his band. During the six years spent as a percussionist for Puente's orchestra, Santamaria eventually became well-known throughout California, earning him a position in 1957 with a pioneering Latin-American jazz band in San Francisco led by vibraphonist Cal Tjader that also featured bassist Al McKibbon, pianist Vince Guaraldi, and a percussion section consisting of Willie Bobo, Louis Kant, and Santamaria's cousin Armando Peraza.
It was during his tenure with the Tjader group (which lasted until 1960) that Santamaria penned the piece "Afro Blue," a springboard for the formation of his own ensemble, a traditional Latin charanga band billed as Mongo Santamaria y Sus Ritmos Afro-Cubanos. With this group, Santamaria as a bandleader made an impressive debut for the Fantasy label in December of 1958 entitled Yambu, a collection of percussion songs, including the musical highlight "Timbales y Bongo," reflecting religious thought and music in the African tradition. The conga drummer returned in 1959 with a second Fantasy album entitled Mongo, which contained Santamaria's "Afro Blue" composition. The song immediately became a Latin jazz standard taken up by trumpeters John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, and others. Afro-Cubanos soon evolved into the Mongo Santamaria Afro-Latin Group, which included the likes of saxophonist Pat Patrick, who had worked with Sun Ra, and a promising young keyboard player named Armando "Chick" Corea. This group's first album, Go, Mongo! (first released in 1962 and later packaged with the band's final Riverside album as Skins in 1976), further cemented Santamaria's reputation and included his own standout composition "Carmela."
Although by now an important figure in both Latin and jazz circles, Santamaria would break through into the mass market in a moment of consequence--the result of a bad night at a Cuban nightclub in the Bronx, New York, in 1962. When only three people showed in the audience for a scheduled gig, the musicians held a bull session, and when a substitute pianist named Herbie Hancock performed a new tune of his entitled "Watermelon Man," all of the band members gradually joined in. Santamaria, for his part, brought his own Afro-Latin rhythmic flourishes to Hancock's design. Eventually, Hancock's song became a regular part of Santamaria's repertoire, and after record producer Orrin Keepnews heard the composition, he immediately pulled the musicians into the studio to record a single. Released in 1963, "Watermelon Man" rose to number ten on the pop charts, and more importantly, pointed to the development of funk music in the 1970s, helping to broaden the fusion of pop and Latin influences.
Upon the success of "Watermelon Man," Santamaria went on to become one of the most prolific composers and recording artists of his generation, producing a lengthy catalog of staggering variety and musical depth that was considered the definitive textbook on Afro-Cuban styles. An essential introduction to anyone wishing to explore the performer's history can be found in 1972's Afro Roots, a two-record set that contains tracks recorded between 1958 and 1959. After recording several acclaimed albums for the Riverside label and its subsidiaries, Santamaria signed a high-profile contract with Columbia Records. His association with this label resulted in a wave of danceable albums between 1965 and 1970 that often covered hits of the day. Although these records offered a brighter, brassy sound, aided by trumpeter Marty Shelley, Santamaria never completely let go of his roots and continued to mix genres into the early 1970s.
Subsequently, Santamaria focused on the Afro-Cuban tradition for much of the remainder of his career. In 1987, he released Soy Yo, which found Santamaria bridging the gap between contemporary black pop and Afro-Cuban music, while 1988's Soca Me Nice explored the soca, or soul calypso genre. Despite his successes in the studio, however, Santamaria favored producing live records, using this type of recording opportunity to advance his multicultural musical agenda. Some of his most recognized live outtakes include 1963's Mongo at the Village Gate; 1981's Summertime, a live gig with Gillespie and Toots Thielemans recorded in 1980; 1990's Live at Jazz Alley; and 1994's At the Black Hawk, a CD compilation of two 1962 live releases, Mighty Mongo and Viva Mongo, both recorded at the legendary Black Hawk club in San Francisco.
In 1995, he returned to the Fantasy label, via its subsidiary Milestone, with the release of Mongo Santamaria: Mongo Returns. A two-disc compilation, Skin on Skin: The Mongo Santamaria Anthology, 1958-1995 arrived in 1999 on the Rhino label. By the late 1990s, Santamaria was unable to tour because of health problems. He continued to live in the same apartment that he moved into back in 1964 on New York's Upper West Side. "I'm not a hero, but I did my best to make everybody happy," the percussionist told Cohen. "Everything I did, I did it with con mucho amor."


Mongo Santamaria's Career

Played at famous Havana clubs as a teen such as the Tropicana; moved to Mexico with Perez Prado and his orchestra, 1948; moved to New York City and made his American debut with Prado, 1950; played with Tito Puente's orchestra, c. 1950-56; played with vibraphonist Cal Tjader's group, 1957-60; released debut album as a bandleader entitled Yambu, 1958; released Go, Mongo!, which included the Latin jazz standard "Afro Blue," 1962; returned to the Fantasy label, 1995; performed with various artists, including Willie Bobo, Chick Corea, and Dizzy Gillespie.


Famous Works

Selected discography
Yambu , Fantasy, 1958; reissued Original Jazz Classics, 1987.
Afro Roots , Prestige, 1972; reissued, 1989.
Our Man in Havana , Fantasy, 1960; reissued 1993.
Mongo at the Village Gate , 1963; reissued, Original Jazz Classics, 1990.
Mongo Introduces La Lupe , Fantasy, 1963; reissued, Milestone, 1993.
Sabroso , 1959; reissued, Original Jazz Classics, 1993.
Skins , Milestone, 1976.
Summertime , 1981; reissued, Original Jazz Classics, 1991.
Mongo y Su Charanga , Fantasy, 1987.
Soy Yo , Concord Picante, 1987.
Soca Me Nice , Concord Picante, 1988.
Ol Ola , Concord Picante, 1989.
Live at Jazz Alley , Concord Picante, 1990.
At the Black Hawk , Fantasy, 1994.
Mongo's Greatest Hits , Fantasy, 1995.
Mongo Santamaria: Mongo Returns , Fantasy, 1995.
Skin on Skin: The Mongo Santamaria Anthology, 1958-1995 , Rhino, 1999.

Zim Ngawana - Of The Famed "Zimology"

Zim Ngqawana "Ebhofolo".

South Africa - Zim Ngqawana - Qula Kwedini (Jazz Fusion) - Copyright Claim by Ingrooves

Zim Ngqawana...

3DFamily Wrote The Following Article:

When Zim Ngqawana led a group of 100 drummers, singers, and dancers at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration in 1994, he heralded a new era.

Zim (saxophonist, flautist, composer, and arranger) performs music grounded in his South African roots and draws on influences ranging from South Africa’s folk and rural traditions to Indian and western classical music, world music and the avant-garde.

Zim has devoted much time and effort to building up a number of small and large combos from the conventional quartet/quintet including his 8 piece band Ingoma through to the 100 person Drums for Peace Orchestra which made its mark at the historic inauguration of President Nelson Mandela in 1994. Here he led an elite group of 12 Presidential Drummers and featured as a solo saxophonist.

He has performed with jazz greats such as Abdullah Ibrahim and High Masakela, Paul van Kammenade and his ensemble, Max Roach, Yusuf Lateef, Keith Tippett, musicians from the AACM in Chicago, George Lewis, Henry Grimes, Matthew Shipp, and William Parker. He has conducted numerous workshops in America, Nigeria, Ghana and Europe.

Zim has toured America, Africa and Europe and has played with greats including Max Roach, Keith Tippett, Dennis Mpale, Abdullah Ibrahim, Hugh Masakela, Louis Moholo, Valerie Naranjo, Bjorn Ole Solburg and his Norwegian San Ensemble as well as William Parker, Donald Brown and George Lewis.

Quotes from Zim Ngqawana:
* Zimology is the premise from which I operate naturally (action)
* Zimology is the position from where I can understand and appreciate all things (aesthetics, outlook)
* Zimology is my political and cultural coming home, both figuratively and literally, from travels of self-discovery (orientation)
* Zimology is my return to spiritual source (grounding)

In fact, there is a Xhosa word which encompasses these elements: Ukubanguwe. It is impossible to translate such a polysemic, culturally laden term. It may be broken down as follows, “U” first sound as in breath, humanity (has no gender), “Ku” or from, this has soul/spiritual/human connotations, “Ba” or soul, “Ngu” meaning connected to earth, nature, source, life, “We” to be harmonious whether with nature or fellow human beings.

Bio from the “3D Family” website:

Zim’s style is rather difficult to define to a single label or genre. With an avant-garde approach to his music he pools his vast knowledge of traditional African music with his equivalently awesome knowledge of jazz to interpret and adapt these classics into new and inspiring interpretations. His music furthermore contains elements of bop, funk, Indian and Western classical music, samba, tango, vocal chants – highly percussive and often danceable.

A multi-instrumentalist Zim is proficient on horns of all kinds (alto, tenor and baritone sax), flute, piccolo, harmonica, bells and whistles as well as melodica and piano. Add to this his gut-wrenching vocal timbre spicing some of his tracks with sparse chants and choruses and you have an amazing combination of diverse elements to drive fans wild both live and on recorded material.

Amazingly well respected in South Africa (and abroad in areas), Ngqawana has managed to scoop a total of 5 SAMAs (South African Music Awards), a clear indication of his quality, integrity, professionalism and drive. Amongst these are awards for “Best Male Artist”; “Best Traditional Jazz Album”; “Best Jazz Album” as well as “Best Album Engineering”. He holds the record in South Africa for the most SAMA nominations in any given year with 5 in 2002.

Zim has toured the world extensively with his faithful quartet (drums, piano and upright bass); the list of counties he hasn’t visited would be shorter than those he has! In addition he has been a lecturer of musicology both at Natal University in South Africa as well as the University of Tennessee. (His formal and informal studies of music are outlined below and equally as impressive).

NOTE: The following paragraph of biographical material on Zim’s musical training is not from the 3D Family website:

Zim started playing the flute at 21. He has studied at the Universities of Grahamstown and Natal. Working with The Jazzanians, he attended the International Association of Jazz Educators Convention in the United States and was offered scholarships to the Max Roach/Wynton Marsalis Jazz Workshop and subsequently a Max Roach Scholarship to the University of Massachusetts, where he studied with Jazz legends Archie Shepp and Yusuf Lateef.

3D Family Bio, continued:

Zim’s musical expertise and pedigree extends further than jazz alone; he has orchestrated and produced classical music shows, fusions of hip-hop and jazz, massive big band jazz and traditional orchestras as well as his standard (and greatly acclaimed) performances as a quartet. More elaborate details of this interesting character, his albums and history unfold below:

The History (and Discography):

Zim Ngqawana first made his mark at the historic inauguration of President Nelson Mandela in 1994, where he directed the 100 person ‘Drums for Peace Orchestra’, led an elite group of 12 Presidential drummers and featured as a solo saxophonist.

This recognition came after a late start and some tough struggles. Born in 1959 in Port Elizabeth (in South Africa’s Eastern Cape), Zim was the youngest of five children and started playing flute at the age of 21. Although Zim was forced to drop out of school before completing university entrance requirements, his prowess won him a place at Rhodes University. He later went on to study for a diploma in Jazz Studies at the University of Natal. Working with the University’s ensemble, ‘The Jazzanians’, he attended the International Association of Jazz Educators convention
in the United States and was offered scholarships to the Max Roach / Wynton Marsalis jazz workshop and subsequently a Max Roach scholarship to the University of Massachusetts, where he studied with jazz legends Archie Shepp and Yusef Lateef.

Since his return to South Africa in the 1990’s he has worked in the bands of veteran greats like Abdullah Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela. He has also devoted much time and effort into building up a number of small and large combos from the conventional quartet / quintet including his 8 piece band ‘Ingoma’ through to the ‘Drums for Peace Orchestra’. Zim is committed to developing and creating an audience for new South African jazz. His music draws on influences ranging from South Africa’s folk and rural traditions to Indian and western classical music, world music and the avant-garde. Grounded in his South African roots, the music is strongly percussive, improvisational and highly danceable.

Alongside numerous major festival appearances in South Africa, in 1993 he appeared as the guest artist with Paul Van Kemenade and his ensemble, at the Tilburg Festival in front of a large and enthusiastic Dutch audience. In 1995 he toured the United States with his band ‘Ingoma’ and appeared at the historic Black History Week in Chicago. Zim has toured America, Africa, Israel and Europe and has played with greats including Max Roach, Keith Tippett, Dennis Mpale, Andile Yenana, Herbie Tsoaeli, Kevin Gibson, Valerie Naranjo, Bjorn Ole Solburg and his Norweigan San Ensemble to name a few.

“San Song” was released by Sheer Sound in South Africa 1997, to critical acclaim. Licensed from NOR-CD and recorded in Norway, the album comprises original compositions by Zim Ngqawana and Bjorn Ole Solberg. The music is deeply rooted in the folk based jazz traditions of Norway and South Africa. ‘San Song’ features South Africans Zim Ngqawana, Andile Yenana and Norwegians Bjorn Ole Solberg, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten and Paal Nilssen-Love.

“Zimology”, the first solo release by Zim, illustrates his uncanny ability as a musician, composer and fine saxophonist. Recorded in Norway along with two of the original members of San and Zim’s long time pianist Andile Yenana, ‘Zimology’ once again established him as the undoubted king of South African avant-garde jazz music, a genre that he has embraced whole heartedly, unlike numerous of his contemporaries. The album is dedicated to a number of his influences including Yusef Latef, Archie Shepp and Pharaoh Sanders whom he studied and played with while on a Wynston Marsalis scholarship at the Max Roach Institute of Jazz in Massachusetts. He also pays tribute to local jazz legend Mongezi Feza (Blue Notes and Brotherhood of Breath) with the track “You Think You Know Me”.
“Zimology” incorporates many influences from traditional Xhosa rhythms and songs to the more ‘way out’ form of jazz expressionism.

Zim released his second solo project “The Zimphonic Suites” in 2001. Few knew that this recording would produce such a definitive artist album. Following in the footsteps of “Zimology” the reedman manages to fuse the ancient rhythms and songs of Africa with his interpretations of modern jazz music.
The album moves beyond jazz and deals with expression only, as it is supposed to serve a broader purpose by suggesting jazz, classical and other western forms before departing from them.

“Zimphonic Suites” was nominated for an impressive 5 South African Music Awards, the most nominations received by any artist ever for this major awards ceremony. He managed to scoop three awards out of the five nominations including the very prestigious “Best Male Artist”.

Zim Ngqawana’s latest album “Vadzimu” has caused a stir with lovers of good music worldwide. In the words of www.allboutjazz.com – “Vadzimu is a masterpiece!”

In his inimitable style, Zim has produced an album that will remind fans of his legendary prowess as a musician and a producer, and will be sure to draw legions of new followers. Featured guests include Andile Yenana (piano), Marcus Wyatt (trumpet & flugelhorn), Lulu Gontsana and Kesivan Naidoo (drums).

“Vadzimu” is a concept album divided into various sections. The first section of the album “Satire” is a tribute to our own South African heritage and it is expressed in track 3 ‘Gumboot Dance, which conjures up images of our mineworkers.
Zim has reworked Abdullah Ibrahim’s song Tafelberg, and has renamed it Tafelberg / Carnival Samba. He also re-arranged the South African national anthem Nkosi Sikeleli Afrika. The last section “Nocturnes” is a collection of piano pieces played by Zim himself.

“Vadzimu” managed to secure Zim two further SAMA awards and an amazing amount of critical acclaim, scooping the very prestigious “Best Male Artist” as well as “Best Jazz Album” categories that year, no small feat in a country where jazz is a popular and hotly contested music form!

Bra Zim’s star continues to rise and shine brightly. International distribution deals and a consolidated and concentrated focus on international tours in support will see abundant hype in 2006 as this unique individual is sought out to uncover the real truth as to who he is, what his music is all about and where he intends going…

Zim’s style is rather difficult to define to a single label or genre. With an avant-garde approach to his music he pools his vast knowledge of traditional African music with his equivalently awesome knowledge of jazz to interpret and adapt these classics into new and inspiring interpretations. His music furthermore contains elements of bop, funk, Indian and Western classical music, samba, tango, vocal chants – highly percussive and often danceable.

A multi-instrumentalist Zim is proficient on horns of all kinds (alto, tenor and baritone sax), flute, piccolo, harmonica, bells and whistles as well as melodica and piano. Add to this his gut-wrenching vocal timbre spicing some of his tracks with sparse chants and choruses and you have an amazing combination of diverse elements to drive fans wild both live and on recorded material.

Amazingly well respected in South Africa (and abroad in areas), Ngqawana has managed to scoop a total of 5 SAMAs (South African Music Awards), a clear indication of his quality, integrity, professionalism and drive. Amongst these are awards for “Best Male Artist”; “Best Traditional Jazz Album”; “Best Jazz Album” as well as “Best Album Engineering”. He holds the record in South Africa for the most SAMA nominations in any given year with 5 in 2002.

Zim has toured the world extensively with his faithful quartet (drums, piano and upright bass); the list of counties he hasn’t visited would be shorter than those he has! In addition he has been a lecturer of musicology both at Natal University in South Africa as well as the University of Tennessee. (His formal and informal studies of music are outlined below and equally as impressive).

Zim’s musical expertise and pedigree extends further than jazz alone; he has orchestrated and produced classical music shows, fusions of hip-hop and jazz, massive big band jazz and traditional orchestras as well as his standard (and greatly acclaimed) performances as a quartet. More elaborate details of this interesting character, his albums and history unfold below:

The History (and Discography):
Zim Ngqawana first made his mark at the historic inauguration of President Nelson Mandela in 1994, where he directed the 100 person ‘Drums for Peace Orchestra’, led an elite group of 12 Presidential drummers and featured as a solo saxophonist.

This recognition came after a late start and some tough struggles. Born in 1959 in Port Elizabeth (in South Africa’s Eastern Cape), Zim was the youngest of five children and started playing flute at the age of 21. Although Zim was forced to drop out of school before completing university entrance requirements, his prowess won him a place at Rhodes University. He later went on to study for a diploma in Jazz Studies at the University of Natal. Working with the University’s ensemble, ‘The Jazzanians’, he attended the International Association of Jazz Educators convention
in the United States and was offered scholarships to the Max Roach / Wynton Marsalis jazz workshop and subsequently a Max Roach scholarship to the University of Massachusetts, where he studied with jazz legends Archie Shepp and Yusef Lateef.

Since his return to South Africa in the 1990’s he has worked in the bands of veteran greats like Abdullah Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela. He has also devoted much time and effort into building up a number of small and large combos from the conventional quartet / quintet including his 8 piece band ‘Ingoma’ through to the ‘Drums for Peace Orchestra’. Zim is committed to developing and creating an audience for new South African jazz. His music draws on influences ranging from South Africa’s folk and rural traditions to Indian and western classical music, world music and the avant-garde. Grounded in his South African roots, the music is strongly percussive, improvisational and highly danceable.

Alongside numerous major festival appearances in South Africa, in 1993 he appeared as the guest artist with Paul Van Kemenade and his ensemble, at the Tilburg Festival in front of a large and enthusiastic Dutch audience. In 1995 he toured the United States with his band ‘Ingoma’ and appeared at the historic Black History Week in Chicago. Zim has toured America, Africa, Israel and Europe and has played with greats including Max Roach, Keith Tippett, Dennis Mpale, Andile Yenana, Herbie Tsoaeli, Kevin Gibson, Valerie Naranjo, Bjorn Ole Solburg and his Norweigan San Ensemble to name a few.

“San Song” was released by Sheer Sound in South Africa 1997, to critical acclaim. Licensed from NOR-CD and recorded in Norway, the album comprises original compositions by Zim Ngqawana and Bjorn Ole Solberg. The music is deeply rooted in the folk based jazz traditions of Norway and South Africa. ‘San Song’ features South Africans Zim Ngqawana, Andile Yenana and Norwegians Bjorn Ole Solberg, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten and Paal Nilssen-Love.

“Zimology”, the first solo release by Zim, illustrates his uncanny ability as a musician, composer and fine saxophonist. Recorded in Norway along with two of the original members of San and Zim’s long time pianist Andile Yenana, ‘Zimology’ once again established him as the undoubted king of South African avant-garde jazz music, a genre that he has embraced whole heartedly, unlike numerous of his contemporaries. The album is dedicated to a number of his influences including Yusef Latef, Archie Shepp and Pharaoh Sanders whom he studied and played with while on a Wynston Marsalis scholarship at the Max Roach Institute of Jazz in Massachusetts. He also pays tribute to local jazz legend Mongezi Feza (Blue Notes and Brotherhood of Breath) with the track “You Think You Know Me”.
“Zimology” incorporates many influences from traditional Xhosa rhythms and songs to the more ‘way out’ form of jazz expressionism.

Zim released his second solo project “The Zimphonic Suites” in 2001. Few knew that this recording would produce such a definitive artist album. Following in the footsteps of “Zimology” the reedman manages to fuse the ancient rhythms and songs of Africa with his interpretations of modern jazz music.
The album moves beyond jazz and deals with expression only, as it is supposed to serve a broader purpose by suggesting jazz, classical and other western forms before departing from them.

“Zimphonic Suites” was nominated for an impressive 5 South African Music Awards, the most nominations received by any artist ever for this major awards ceremony. He managed to scoop three awards out of the five nominations including the very prestigious “Best Male Artist”.

Zim Ngqawana’s latest album “Vadzimu” has caused a stir with lovers of good music worldwide. In the words of www.allboutjazz.com – “Vadzimu is a masterpiece!”

In his inimitable style, Zim has produced an album that will remind fans of his legendary prowess as a musician and a producer, and will be sure to draw legions of new followers. Featured guests include Andile Yenana (piano), Marcus Wyatt (trumpet & flugelhorn), Lulu Gontsana and Kesivan Naidoo (drums).

“Vadzimu” is a concept album divided into various sections. The first section of the album “Satire” is a tribute to our own South African heritage and it is expressed in track 3 ‘Gumboot Dance, which conjures up images of our mineworkers.
Zim has reworked Abdullah Ibrahim’s song Tafelberg, and has renamed it Tafelberg / Carnival Samba. He also re-arranged the South African national anthem Nkosi Sikeleli Afrika. The last section “Nocturnes” is a collection of piano pieces played by Zim himself.

“Vadzimu” managed to secure Zim two further SAMA awards and an amazing amount of critical acclaim, scooping the very prestigious “Best Male Artist” as well as “Best Jazz Album” categories that year, no small feat in a country where jazz is a popular and hotly contested music form!

Bra Zim’s star continues to rise and shine brightly. International distribution deals and a consolidated and concentrated focus on international tours in support will see abundant hype in 2006 as this unique individual is sought out to uncover the real truth as to who he is, what his music is all about and where he intends going…

The Meditation

The Meditations - Rasta Shall Conquer [HD]

The Meditations

Jo-Ann Greene wrote the following Biography:

Even by Jamaican standards, the Meditations’ early career is convoluted, and both Ansel Cridland and Danny Clarke’s careers were already well underway before the pair linked up. Cridland, born in 1951, moved to Kingston as a child, and apprenticed as a jockey. However, he ended up working odd jobs, before deciding to make his career as a singer, and formed the vocal group the Linkers during the rocksteady era. The group’s lineup was fluid, but regardless, the Linkers recorded nearly a dozen singles, although none particularly hit with the public. Clarke, a Kingstonian by birth, had sung briefly with the Flames, Alton Ellis’ backing group. Another Flame, Sweet P, introduced Clarke to Cridland, and the two became fast friends. By the early ’70s, the two were recording as solo artists, even though both much preferred the sound of harmonies. Things finally began coalescing in 1974, when the pair decided to audition together at Channel One. There, Junior Delgado was holding auditions for label head JoJo Hookim. He was blown away by the pair’s “Woman Is Like a Shadow,” as was another young hopeful, Winston Watson, who offered up his falsetto harmonies on the spot.

The embryonic Meditations were now complete, but not yet birthed. “Woman” was recorded, but Hookim, unhappy with the results, refused to release it. The three continued writing and practicing together. Then, in late 1975, Clarke and Watson went down to Federal Studios where Dobby Dobson was holding auditions. Clarke offered up “Babylon Trap Them,” and Watson “Woman Piabba”; Dobson recorded them both. Although Cridland supplied backing vocals on both numbers, the songs were released as solo singles. In 1976, the trio cut Cridland’s “Tricked,” credited to Ansel & the Meditations. That single brought the singers to television and helped snag them their first Caribbean, on a junket that included Culture, the Tamlins, Carl Dawkins, and Leroy Smart. By the end of the year, the group had officially become the Meditations.

During this time, they continued steadily recording with Dobson, and released Message From the Meditations, one of the most breath-taking debut albums ever recorded. Virtually the entire album had been, or would soon, be released as singles, from “Woman Is Like a Shadow” (which Dobson had gotten from Hookim, who then promptly released it on 45) through their first recordings for the producer, on through Cridland’s seminal “Running From Jamaica” to the breezy “Changing of the Times.” 1977 found them at Madison Square Garden with Calypso Rose, then, back home, the trio readied their next album. The seminal Wake Up arrived in 1978, and was again filled with another bundle of hit singles, including “Fly Natty Dread,” “Turn Me Loose,” and the title track. Intriguingly, the set also included a re-cut “Nyah Man Story,” a song that dated from Cridland’s days with the Linkers.

However, by now, the trio were extremely unhappy with the re-numeration they were receiving from Dobson, and severed their ties with the producer. Lee “Scratch” Perry was keen to pick up the reins. The Meditations had recorded several of Message’s tracks at his Black Ark Studio, leaving the producer highly impressed. Although the group would not acquiesce to his demand to produce their next album, they were willing to cut a few singles for him. “No Peace,” “House of Parliament,” and “Think So” duly followed, with the latter song making quite a splash in Britain, where Island released it on the flip of the Cridland-produced “Life Is Not Easy” single. It was Perry that introduced the Meditations to Bob Marley this same year, a fortuitous meeting that resulted in the trio backing the Wailer on “Rastaman Redemption,” “Blackman Redemption,” and “Punky Reggae Party.” The Meditations provided harmonies for innumerable other artists during the late ’70s, notably Jimmy Cliff and Gregory Isaacs.

As the decade faded, the trio’s star brightened. Marley’s Tuff Gong label intended on putting out the Meditations new album, and released the exuberant “Miracles” single. A number of Wailers provided musical accompaniment on that song, as well a clutch of other recordings from this period. Unfortunately, Cridland had a falling out with Tuff’s label manager, and with that, the projected album was no more. However, the Meditations did perform two songs at the legendary Peace Concert at Marley’s request. It was 1980 before the group finally released their third album, Guidance, which was again filled with classic songs. But by then, international interest in reggae was beginning to wane, while Jamaicans were now under the thrall of the DJs.

Three more years passed before the trio returned with another full-length, No More Friend, sublimely backed by the Roots Radics. The set was overseen by Linval Thompson, who had produced a number of the group’s singles earlier in the decade, including 1982’s “Sit Down & Reason.” In 1984, the group recorded a handful of songs, including a re-cut “Quiet Woman” and it’s flip “Reggae Crazy,” both fired by the Revolutionaries. By the end of the year, the Meditations were no more. Or at least not the original Meditations. Cridland carried on alone as Ansel Meditations, while Clarke and Watson continued as a duo under the Meditations name.

Cridland’s solo career continued apace, via singles and two albums, 1988’s Thunder on the Mountain and 1990’s African Vengeance. Later, he joined forces with Yami Bolo for the excellent Tribute to Marcus Garvey album. Meanwhile, the Meditations were making equal in-roads in the States, touring to much success, and finally inking a new record deal with the U.S. Heartbeat label. That resulted in 1988’s sublime album For the Good of Man. To the surprise of many fans, some of the set was overseen by Cridland. However, the trio’s differences had been more geographical than personal or musical, with Cridland wanting to remain in Jamaica, while his bandmates preferring the greener pastures of the U.S. And so, in 1990, the trio re-formed, and two years later announced the fact on wax with Return of the Meditations. Compilations of their earlier material continued to appear since then, and today the group are seen as elder statesmen of a roots scene that they were so instrumental in defining.

Harari Summertime

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou

Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou Se Tche We Djo Mon

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou

Oruiz edited this bio:

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou is arguably West Africa’s best-kept secret. Their output, both in quantity and quality, was astonishing. During several trips to Benin, Samy Ben Redjeb managed to collect roughly 500 songs which Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou had recorded between 1970 and 1983.

The cultural and spiritual riches of traditional Beninese music had an immense impact on the sound of Benin’s modern music. Benin is the birthplace of Vodun (also Vodoun, or, as it is known in the West, Voodoo), a religion which involves the worship of some 250 sacred divinities. The rituals used to pay tributes to those divinities are always backed by music. The majority of the complex poly-rhythms of the vodun are still more or less secret and difficult to decipher, even for an accomplished musician. Anthropologists and ethnomusicologists agree that this religion constitutes the principal “cultural bridge” between Africa and all its Diasporas of the New World and in a reflection of the power and influence of these sounds many of the complex rhythms were to have a profound impact on the other side of the Atlantic on rhythms as popular as Blues, Jazz, Cuban and Brazilian music.

Two Vodun rhythms dominate the music of Orchestre Poly-Rythmo: Sato, an amazing, energetic rhythm performed using an immense vertical drum, and Sakpata, a rhythm dedicated to the divinity who protects people from smallpox. Both rhythms are represented here mixed in with Funk, Soul, Crazy organ sounds and Psychedelic guitar riffs. Bandleader Melome Clement explains: “Sato is a traditional rhythm derived from Vodun. It is used in Benin during annual rituals in memory of the dead; you can’t just play Sato at any given time. Sato is also the name of a drum which is used during the ceremonies. It’s huge: about 175 centimeters high. The drummers, armed with sticks, dance around it and hit it all at the same time. It’s very coordinated. The Sato drummers are backed by an orchestra of smaller drums and shakers. We also did some modern versions of a Vodun rhythm called Sakpata. ‘Mi Ni Non Kpo’ and ‘Houi Djein Na Da’ are Sakpatas, which in Fon means “god of the Earth”.


None of these tracks (except one –Mawa Mon Nou Mio) has been distributed outside Benin before. These obscure coastal labels had a small distribution range, that barely reached beyond the outskirts of Cotonou or Porto Novo. Because of financial considerations most, if not all, of these recordings had very limited pressings that rarely exceeded one thousand copies total and many labels rarely produced more than 500 copies of any given record.
The music in this compilation is not only extremely rare, but illustrates how Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo with the support of a number of local record labels, thrived by mixing the coolest parts of funk, soul, latin and vodun rhythms into a new sound that not only reflected the musical culture and heritage of Benin, but also transformed it and turned the small country into such an incredible musical melting pot.

In the 44-page booklet, full of rare photographs and record covers, Analog Africa introduces three important producers who were collectively responsible for some of the most amazing music released in Benin: Gratien K. Aissy of the Echos Sonores du Dahomey label, Bernard Dohounzo of Disques Tropiques, Lawani Affissoulayi of Aux Ecoutes (the label behind El Rego & Ses Commandos’s fame) as well as en encounter in Niamey with Honliasso Barnabé, Poly-Rythmo´s Producer in Niger. Samy Ben Redjeb also interviewed Vincent Ahehehinnou, the man responsible for composing some of the funkiest stuff ever to come out of Benin, and Kineffo Michel, the sound engineer of Poly-Rythmo’s legendary Nagra “home” recordings.

Abdullah-Ibrahim

Dollar Brand - Cape Town Fringe [1977]

This is the first long playing record made by that distinguished and soulful pianist. Dollar Brand, and his two sidemen.

Dollar Brand, for many years the unpredictable mystery man of modern jazz, has finally made it in the jazz world. Since February 1962, Dollar Brand's trio has been wooing the European jazz fans with their music, just as they have done in every corner of South Africa — playing in crowded night clubs and concert halls.

He has played a great variety of musical shows, to name a few; "African Jazz" (a musical circus), "Cape Coon Carnival", "Cape Town Malay Coons" and he's led everything from a duo, trio, quartet, up to a 15 piece band.

Wherever he's played he's taken his audience into space with his beautiful piano style which sounds like that of his idol, Thelonius "Sphere" Monk. He has received rave reviews in most of the country's newspapers for his music in all jazz festivals and concert appearances; offers to write for films, stage shows, and notices in magazines which customarily ignore this native art, called jazz.

Dollar Brand was born in Johannesburg 27 years ago. At the age of 3 years, Dollar's parents decided to make their home in Cape Town's notorius District Six. At the age of six, Dollar returned to Johannesburg — where his ear caught up with a Duke Ellington recording of "Take The 'A' Train". He was so taken up by Duke's piano and music that, he literally tore the roof down with his hysterical applause and never stopped thinking of his first meeting with jazz. During school intervals, when the other kids were playing football or something, he would be listening to Duke Ellington records at the nearest record dealer's shop. Most of his pocket money was spent on 78 rpm recordings by Duke Ellington's orchestra.

He would spend most of his time at the piano which his grandmother owned and sometimes he'd wake up the whole house in the middle of the night with his own version of, "A Train". He would spend days and nights studying the piano and music. Dollar Brand was then forced to leave the jazz city of Johannesburg for Cape Town where he matriculated; and later became a school-teacher. Dollar quit his teaching job to study music at the Cape Town University, where he quit before graduating, because he felt the lecturers weren't interested in the people he would really have liked to be lectured on; Duke, Bird, Monk, etc... He would spend days and nights at his piano, listening to the latest Charlie "Bird" Parker, Thelonius Monk, Ellington and Charles Mingus discs. Then in the early 50's Dollar felt he was now ready to face the local night club jazz scene (Cape Town) — but the young jazz pianist found himself thrown out of night club gigs by the owners who just told him,"Sorry lad, nobody seems to dig your kind of jazz" ... "I realised", Dollar once emphasised, "That one thing that hurt me most was that the night club owners themselves knew and still know nothing about jazz". But, Dollar Brand never got discouraged, he never felt like the volcano had erupted on him. He kept on playing his music and with various groups which accommodated him on the jam session stands.

Writers who used to write about his mine boots and bogards, jazz fans would laugh at him for this, but the important thing was the music he was writing and playing in these big boots and bogards —that issue was just plain GREAT!

Then, the bell of that sweet smell of success tolled for Dollar Brand. His fellow musicians hated him because they wouldn't get night club and concert gigs when he was around town. Showbiz promoters wanted nothing on their bill but Dollar Brand's trio.

In 1955, Dollar added to his trio, that leading altoist Johannesburg's Kippie Moeketsie. This quartet, to many jazz experts, sounded like the Charlie "Bird" Parker quartet featuring Thelonius Monk. Later on Dollar added Hugh Masekela (trumpet) and Jonas Gwangwa (trombone). Both lads are in America studying music, at present. This quintet played in all the leading cities in South Africa and wherever they played they packed the halls.

In January 1960, Dollar Brand made history by making a long playing jazz record with his quintet, which was all African.

Dollar has travelled thousands of miles between Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban and many other top cities, playing jazz to the music deaf and opening their ears. He has composed and arranged more jazz tunes than any of our jazz writers. Dollar's two great works "JAZZ INDIGO" (dedicated to Duke Ellington) and "JAZZ-HISTORY MOODS" (Dedicated to Jelly Roll, Fats Waller, Monk, Bird, Diz & Mingus) were performed before record breaking jazzophiles at the Johannesburg Uncle Tom's Hall and the City Hall, and also in Cape Town.

When Dollar plays the piano, he goes right back to the roots of jazz, like Jelly Roll and Fats Waller and the Bessie Smith's and Ma Rainey's.

Jazz to Dollar, is his experiences and he plays it that way. Music is a universal language of emotions: Like Charlie Mingus once said; "It is a test of life. If you walk into a room you have a reaction to the people. You like some, dislike others. Everyone reacts to music in a different way and everyone should be able to make it on his own and play and write the music the way he feels it. If he is going to be really great, he must learn to be himself. He is always with others; but most alone". This is exactly the kind of man Dollar is. This is why he has been the most successful, original and greatest of our jazzmen — home and abroad.


Notes by: Mike M. Phahlane
Former: DRUM & ZONK JAZZ CRITIC

Hugh Masekela - The Big Apple - Home Is Where The Music Is

South African Jazz Greats

The Jazz Epistles : "Vary-oo-vum"..

Pat Matshikiza - Kippie Moeketsi : Tshona!

The Jazz Epistles

Siemon Allen informs us of the following ...

Recently, I came across this Austrian EP featuring the Manhattan Brothers and the Jazz Dazzlers amongst others and assumed, like so many other vinyl compilations of this time, that it was compiled from tracks previously issued on 78 rpm. Remarkably the disc happened to be of a live recording!

Given that live performances, especially with these artists, were very scarce at this time, this certainly was an unusual find, and I embarked on a kind of "autopsy" of the disc to see where it would lead.

Beyond the Manhattans, the performance also included the Swanky Spots; Doris, Ducky and the Harmoniens; with the Jazz Dazzlers backing all. The EP includes five tracks and all appear to be from the same performance. None of the tracks are attributed to any particular artist and while it may be possible to figure out a few of the performers, a number of tracks seem to include some or all the artists. Certainly the Jazz Dazzlers appear on all the tracks.

My first question was where was the recording made and in what year?

Interestingly, many of the tunes are in English; most if not all are cover versions. Two of the tracks, Ntyilo-Ntylio and Hush, are South African classics and the remaining three appear to reference major American rock and doo-wop hits of the 1950s. In my research for my previous post on the Bogard Brothers, regarding the influence of rock in South Africa, I came across a reference to a concert "Township Rock" at Johannesburg's City Hall from 7 - 9 May, 1958. The show included amongst others the Woody Woodpeckers and the Jazz Dazzlers. Could this be a recording from that concert?

Ntandane appears to be a Zulu-based cover of Paul Anka's 1957 hit Diana. If there is any doubt, a translation of the German liner notes makes it plain. The notes go on to say that the song is performed by a fifteen year old singer who also happens to be the person featured on the cover image. Could this be Doris?

I do a search for the "Swanky Spots" and discover that Letta Mbulu began her career by joining the close-harmony group in 1956. She was invited by Jimmy Mabena and they would go on to win first prize in a talent contest organized by Union Artists in 1957. Born in August 1942 (according to Wikipedia), Mbulu would have been fifteen in late 1957 and 1958. Is the image on the cover Letta? Could the EP recording be from 1958?

The article on Mbulu goes on to say that she won a part in the 1959 production of King Kong but also claims that she was thirteen at the time. If the later age is true, that would make her fifteen in 1961. Mbulu would go on to perform in both the local and the 1961 London productions of King Kong. Again, could this image be of Letta? Could the EP recording be from 1961?

Further research on the "Swanky Spots" leads me to the credits of the King Kong LP where the group is identified as James Mabena, Letta Mbulu, Johnny Dlamini, Jerry Dube, Joseph Nyembe, and Bobby Mphahlela. I move onto other tracks.

Long Tall Sally was a major hit for Little Richard in 1956. Though South Africans may have been more familiar with Pat Boone's 1956 version which was issued there on the Dot label (D 163). South African record companies chose not to release records by black American rockers, at least in the mid to late 1950s.

The doo-wop track, Little Darlin first by Maurice Williams' Gladiolas was a hit for them early in 1957 and then went on to be an even bigger hit for the Diamonds a month latter. Certainly the Diamonds version would have made it to South Africa that same year.

The track Hush however was a huge hit for Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks and only appears to have been recorded around June of 1958, and was probably issued later that year. While Makeba worked closely with the Manhattan Brothers in the mid 1950s and it is certainly conceivable that they could have recorded this tune before Makeba, Lars Rasmussen's discography makes no mention of it. In my opinion the Manhattan's are covering the tune on the EP in the wake of the Skylarks's success with it. That would put the recording date for the concert around late 1958 or 1959.

Alan Silinga's classic tune Ntyilo-Ntyilo was a hit for the Manhattan Brothers and Miriam Makeba in 1954. The backing group on that recording included Kippie Moeketsi, Mackay Davashe, Boycie Gwele, General Duze, Jacob Lepere and Willie Malan, sometimes known as the Shanty Town Sextet. This group would continue to back the Manhattans, but later, after the inclusion of more musicians became known as the Jazz Dazzlers.

Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwangwa, Gwigwi Mrwebi, Sol Klaaste, Ben Mawela along with Davashe, Moeketsi, Lepere and Duze would record three tracks as the Jazz Dazzlers in Cape Town in July of 1960. Essentially the core of this group was the King Kong band for both the 1959 South African and 1961 London productions. After receiving approval for 60 passports from the South African authorities, on August 11, 1960, the production travelled to London where it opened at the Princess Theatre on February 23, 1961.

After the close of King Kong in London, many of the cast and musicians chose to remain there and not return to South Africa. Lars Rasmussen's biography of Joe Mogotsi does reveal that the Manhattans toured a number of European countries including Switzerland. The group also recorded a live album — Sing Freedom — for The English Folk Music Society at Cecil Sharpe House in London, 1963. Apparently their only live recording!

After all this time I had assumed that the EP was recorded in South Africa. Is it possible that is was made in Europe?

The final clue comes from a translation of the final paragraph of the liner notes. Apart from the potentially racist references to "civilization" and so on, the writer informs us that "our engineer, Wettler" had some difficulty in recording the "microphone unfamiliar" artists. Wettler certainly sounds to me like a German name, and while it is not conclusive, after all Vanguard Records could have sent their recording team to Johannesburg, my gut feeling tells me that the tracks were made in a German-speaking country around 1961.

Furthermore the liner note also reveal an additional EP recording from the same concert (EPA 17005).

Certainly Mackay Davashe and Kippie Moeketsi would return to South Africa and record as the Jazz Dazzlers at the classic 1962 Castle Lager Jazz Festival. The Manhattan Brothers however would not return.

Postscript...
The comments below reveal that the recording was indeed made in Johannesburg. That would put the potential date of the concert somewhere between June 1958 and August 1960.

A Jazz Session In Mzantsi...

How does Joe Malinga and his marvellous album ("Tears for the Children of Soweto") fit in the larger picture? I am aware that the LP was recorded in a small village nearby where I grew up, and it seems like half of the musicians are swiss or german,
How does Joe Malinga and his marvellous album ("Tears for the Children of Soweto") fit in the larger picture? I am aware that the LP was recorded in a small village nearby where I grew up, and it seems like half of the musicians are swiss or german,

Hugh Masekela & The Union of South Africa - Johannesburg Hi-Lite Jive

Dolly Rathebe, Blues Queen , and Ntemi Piliso - "Lakutshon Llanga"..

The Basement Boys - Kwela Bafana (1957)

West Nkosi - Ungithatha Kanjani

Mike Makhalemele and Winston Mankunku - Togetherness

Spirits Rejoice - Joy (Afro Spiritual Jazz Fusion)

Fela Kuti - Water No Get Enemy

Vibes From Afrika

Mongo Santamaria

Delicious gives us the following Bio:

Born Ramon "Mongo" Santamaria on April 7, 1922, in Havana, Cuba; raised in the city's Jesus Maria district.

Afro-Cuban conga player, percussionist, and bandleader Mongo Santamaria is one of the most influential players of his generation. A popular performer since 1963, the year the Herbie Hancock-penned "Watermelon Man" reached the pop charts in the United States, Santamaria has explored his own Cuban musical roots throughout his career and has blended elements of jazz, rhythm and blues, rock, and popular music with the traditional sounds of his homeland. A "mesmerizing spectacle for both eyes and ears" in concert, the master percussionist "creates an incantory spell rooted in Cuban religious rituals, quietly seating himself before his congas and soloing with total command over the rhythmic spaces between the beats while his band pumps out an endless vamp," asserted All Music Guide contributor Richard S. Ginell. In addition to his ability to captivate an audience (evidenced on the hypnotic "Mazacote" from his 1972 African Roots album), Santamaria has proven himself a powerful bandleader as well. Many future notables have passed through Santamaria's ranks or collaborated with the conga player, from Nat Adderly and Jimmy Cobb, through Chick Corea, Hubert Laws, and Bob James. According to music historians, no Cuban percussionist, with the exception of Santana's Armando Peraza (and not counting Desi Arnaz), has reached as many listeners as Santamaria.

Touring and recording songs well into his late seventies, Santamaria in his later years has expressed his annoyance over the name given to his generation's music by critics and the press when several entertainers revived Cuban-influenced music during the 1990s. "What they call `salsa' is the Afro-Cuban music that we did 50 years ago," he told Aaron Cohen of Down Beat in November of 1999. "I don't see calling it a new thing. We used to call it mambo, guaracha, guanco, and every other name. Today they take everything and just call it salsa. It's an economical thing--with the Cuban Revolution, they tried to forget the music had anything to do with Cuba."

Ramon "Mongo" Santamaria was born on April 7, 1922, in Havana, Cuba. Raised in the city's Jesus Maria district, Santamaria was exposed to all kinds of Afro-Cuban rhythms--rumbas and Santeria rituals were everywhere. During his childhood, Santamaria first played the violin, but eventually switched to drums, dropping out of school in his teens to become a professional musician. In spite of his youth, he played in some of the city's most famous pre-Castro clubs, especially the Tropicana. By the early 1940s, Santamaria had established himself as one of Havana's leading percussionists, participating in an array of bands that drove the city's flourishing nightlife. One such group, the Orquestra Casino de la Playa, counted another famous Cuban, Perez Prado, among its members. When Prado took his own band to Mexico City in 1948, he took young Santamaria with him.

In 1950, Santamaria moved to New York City, where he made his American debut with Prado. After spending a total of three years on the road with Prado's orchestra, he left the ensemble to work with Tito Puente and his band. During the six years spent as a percussionist for Puente's orchestra, Santamaria eventually became well-known throughout California, earning him a position in 1957 with a pioneering Latin-American jazz band in San Francisco led by vibraphonist Cal Tjader that also featured bassist Al McKibbon, pianist Vince Guaraldi, and a percussion section consisting of Willie Bobo, Louis Kant, and Santamaria's cousin Armando Peraza.

It was during his tenure with the Tjader group (which lasted until 1960) that Santamaria penned the piece "Afro Blue," a springboard for the formation of his own ensemble, a traditional Latin charanga band billed as Mongo Santamaria y Sus Ritmos Afro-Cubanos. With this group, Santamaria as a bandleader made an impressive debut for the Fantasy label in December of 1958 entitled Yambu, a collection of percussion songs, including the musical highlight "Timbales y Bongo," reflecting religious thought and music in the African tradition. The conga drummer returned in 1959 with a second Fantasy album entitled Mongo, which contained Santamaria's "Afro Blue" composition. The song immediately became a Latin jazz standard taken up by trumpeters John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, and others. Afro-Cubanos soon evolved into the Mongo Santamaria Afro-Latin Group, which included the likes of saxophonist Pat Patrick, who had worked with Sun Ra, and a promising young keyboard player named Armando "Chick" Corea. This group's first album, Go, Mongo! (first released in 1962 and later packaged with the band's final Riverside album as Skins in 1976), further cemented Santamaria's reputation and included his own standout composition "Carmela."

Although by now an important figure in both Latin and jazz circles, Santamaria would break through into the mass market in a moment of consequence--the result of a bad night at a Cuban nightclub in the Bronx, New York, in 1962. When only three people showed in the audience for a scheduled gig, the musicians held a bull session, and when a substitute pianist named Herbie Hancock performed a new tune of his entitled "Watermelon Man," all of the band members gradually joined in. Santamaria, for his part, brought his own Afro-Latin rhythmic flourishes to Hancock's design. Eventually, Hancock's song became a regular part of Santamaria's repertoire, and after record producer Orrin Keepnews heard the composition, he immediately pulled the musicians into the studio to record a single. Released in 1963, "Watermelon Man" rose to number ten on the pop charts, and more importantly, pointed to the development of funk music in the 1970s, helping to broaden the fusion of pop and Latin influences.

Upon the success of "Watermelon Man," Santamaria went on to become one of the most prolific composers and recording artists of his generation, producing a lengthy catalog of staggering variety and musical depth that was considered the definitive textbook on Afro-Cuban styles. An essential introduction to anyone wishing to explore the performer's history can be found in 1972's Afro Roots, a two-record set that contains tracks recorded between 1958 and 1959. After recording several acclaimed albums for the Riverside label and its subsidiaries, Santamaria signed a high-profile contract with Columbia Records. His association with this label resulted in a wave of danceable albums between 1965 and 1970 that often covered hits of the day. Although these records offered a brighter, brassy sound, aided by trumpeter Marty Shelley, Santamaria never completely let go of his roots and continued to mix genres into the early 1970s.

Subsequently, Santamaria focused on the Afro-Cuban tradition for much of the remainder of his career. In 1987, he released Soy Yo, which found Santamaria bridging the gap between contemporary black pop and Afro-Cuban music, while 1988's Soca Me Nice explored the soca, or soul calypso genre. Despite his successes in the studio, however, Santamaria favored producing live records, using this type of recording opportunity to advance his multicultural musical agenda. Some of his most recognized live outtakes include 1963's Mongo at the Village Gate; 1981's Summertime, a live gig with Gillespie and Toots Thielemans recorded in 1980; 1990's Live at Jazz Alley; and 1994's At the Black Hawk, a CD compilation of two 1962 live releases, Mighty Mongo and Viva Mongo, both recorded at the legendary Black Hawk club in San Francisco.

In 1995, he returned to the Fantasy label, via its subsidiary Milestone, with the release of Mongo Santamaria: Mongo Returns. A two-disc compilation, Skin on Skin: The Mongo Santamaria Anthology, 1958-1995 arrived in 1999 on the Rhino label. By the late 1990s, Santamaria was unable to tour because of health problems. He continued to live in the same apartment that he moved into back in 1964 on New York's Upper West Side. "I'm not a hero, but I did my best to make everybody happy," the percussionist told Cohen. "Everything I did, I did it with con mucho amor."

by Laura Hightower

Mongo Santamaria's Career

Played at famous Havana clubs as a teen such as the Tropicana; moved to Mexico with Perez Prado and his orchestra, 1948; moved to New York City and made his American debut with Prado, 1950; played with Tito Puente's orchestra, c. 1950-56; played with vibraphonist Cal Tjader's group, 1957-60; released debut album as a bandleader entitled Yambu, 1958; released Go, Mongo!, which included the Latin jazz standard "Afro Blue," 1962; returned to the Fantasy label, 1995; performed with various artists, including Willie Bobo, Chick Corea, and Dizzy Gillespie.


Fela Kuti - Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense

Township 1950s Vibe

Beaters - Harari South African Afro Jazz Funk

Jive..

IPI NTOMBI - Cape Town 1997

Hugh's Rrbane Posse

Miriam Makeba & Hugh Masekela

Sweet Honey In The Rock - Ella's Song

MARVIN GAYE - Got To Give It Up (Long Version - Classic)

Music From The Ground Roots

Ronnie Boykins - "The will come, is now" (spiritual jazz)..

African Big Bands

Zacks Nkosi - "Emgungu Ndhlovu" (Pietermaritzburg) (1964)...

Johnny Mbizo Dyani - Blame It On The Boers*...

Jive Of The Township

Sakhile - "Isililo"..

Flute Big Band

South Africa - Zim Ngqawana - Qula Kwedini (Traditionally Modernized Sounds)...

Winston "Mankunku" Ngozi - Yakhal' Inkomo...

Phillip Tabane and Malombo Live at the market theatre2...

The Genre Of The sixties And Seventies South Africa..

Malombo's Short Story

Eugene Skeef Misha Maltsev, this is not the original stuff. Julian Bahula on drums (in the cover photo) came into exile and settled in London and developed the Malombo sound further. Both he and the guitarist Lucky Ranku have lived here for a long time; but Abbey Cindi, founder of the band, remained in South Africa, where he still lives. 31 mins · Like · 2 Menzi Maseko What is the difference between this Malombo sound system and the one by Dr Phillip Tabane ? 28 mins · Like · 1 Eugene Skeef Great question, my brother Menzi Maseko! Philip Tabane and Abbey Cindi were the original Malombo. It is a long story that Julian Bahula could tell you in detail for your cultural history archives; but suffice oit to say that Julian was brought in on Malombo drums. The original sound grew from this combination of musicians; but soon enough creative tensions developed between Philip and Abbey, which led Abbey to leave with Julian and cultivate their take on the Malombo sound with the guitarist Lucky Ranku. So, in a nutshell, there then existed two groups based on the Malombo sound - the original Malombo Jazz Men and the new Abbey Cindi-founded Malombo Jazz Makers. As I'm sure you know, Julian Bahula and Lucky Ranku have lived in London for many years, while Abbey Cindi is still at home. You might be interested also to know that after the dissolution of Cindi's Malombo, he started another roots cultural group that he called Afrika - a very powerful band that featured the under-realised Mamelodi guitar genius Lawrence Moloise and the brilliant and spiritually susceptible percussionist Pat Sefolosha. After a performance in Durban (Abbey was very close to me and often hung out at my home) Afrika disbanded. This led to the formation - under my directorship and the late Ben Langa's associate directorship - of Malopoets, the poetry and music outfit that inspired a generation of culturally attuned artists. Malopoets was a coming together of Mamelodi (Pat Sefolosha, Pat Patrick Mokoka and Sam Tshabalala) and KwaMashu (Duze Mahlobo and Madoda Bruce Sosibo). Love and light.

African Jazz Culture

Danayi Dlova, Duke Ngcukana and Cups Nkanuka. Photo from Keeping Time 1964–1974: The Photographs And Cape Town Jazz Recordings
Danayi Dlova, Duke Ngcukana and Cups Nkanuka. Photo from Keeping Time 1964–1974: The Photographs And Cape Town Jazz Recordings

Having A Palaver With Playthel, and Talking Jazz Appreciation

Jazz and Modern Black Culture in South Africa

It is interesting to read Playthell’s article, “An Evening with Edward Kennedy Ellington;” it got me thinking of life in the Ghetto of Soweto, in South Africa. The Townships might not have had the architectural wonders of New York and its chic urbane life-style, but, Duke still affected and influenced the life, music and self-esteem of Africans under Apartheid. There has long been a struggle against Apartheid by the indigene refuting the claim that we were uncouth and backward.

As the Township of Soweto expanded and grew, so did the music scene: the South African Jazz Scene. Some of the jazz groups had “American” as their names. There were Jazz big bands; the fashion of the day were Dobbs brim hats, Florsheim shoes – some two tone – double breasted jackets with broad lapels and the whole dress code as was worn by the Americans of the ’30s, 40s and 50s. I guess what I am saying is that, because of the inhumanity of Apartheid we witnessed an oppressed people immerse themselves in the American Jazz music and African American culture, language and mannerism as a way of keeping our souls intact.

The sleeve jackets of the LPs were the point of discussions from the Shebeens – Taverns/Speak Easies – of the day. Discussion about music, styles, musical signatures of The “Duke”, the “Count”, Hodges, Archie Shepp, Philly Jo Jones(some People even renamed themselves after their favorite artist here in Mzantsi), Coltrane, Monk, Miles, Bessie Smith, Sonny Rollins, Stitt, Sidney Betchet, Stachmo, Jelly roll Morton, Fats Waller, Charlie Parker, Ida Cox, Lucille Hegamin, Rosa Henderson, Bertha “Chippie” Hill, Sara Martin, Trixie Smith, Lizzie Miles, Sarah Vaughn, Mahalia Jackson, Mamie Smith, Josie Miles, Edna Benbow HIcks, Eartha Kitt, Mae Harris, Lulla Miller, jimmy Lunceford, Billie Holiday, Etta James, Charlie Christian, Ron Carter, Yusef Lateef, Ella Fritzgerald, Scot Joplin, and a host of other many American musicians-too numerous to list here.

The American Jazz idiom was dominating thoroughly and completely here in Mzatnsi. How do I know all these name of all these musicians. Well, as kids in the early sixties, we would sit with our Uncles and fathers and hear them argue and debate that was the best on drums, saxophones, composition and arrangements, and passions would rise to pitch level.

There were people who never thought of other artist as deserving mention or to be listened to because they did not meet their standard of what was Jazz or the like. So as we grew up in the late sixties, we were exposed to a variety of different artists of this American genre. Well, in most cases, my generation was scoffed-at by our old timers for not listening to real and classic Jazz when we listened to Jimmy Smith, John Patton, Harold Mabern, Blue Mitchell, Lou Donaldson, Billy Cobham, Booker T., Soul Music and funk.

We were ridiculed by these stalwarts and keepers of the Old Jazz, as me and my peers referred to Classical jazz as “not listening to Jazz,” and knowing nothing about it. But today, with most of them gone, and many of those who survived apartheid – the old timers I referred to above – have formed Jazz Clubs here in South Africa. They meet on weekends and bring out their best collection and spend the whole day listening to jazz, eating and imbibing large amounts of alcohol.

And whilst engaging in this celebration of jazz here in Mzantsi, you would hear talk like Playthell’s, whom I will cite below, as being what was said about these musicians by our elders. Most of the other stuff was learned and read from the LP liner notes by some Jazz critic or aficionado, and From Down Beat Magazine and so forth. It would go something like this passage from Playthell’s essay:

“Some of these people had crossed an ocean to attend the concert earlier in the day. After a while, it was clear that several of the guests had seriously followed Duke’s work for thirty to forty years. … As Duke responded to requests and moved from one tune to another, I was impressed by the fact that most of these songs were now part of the standard repertoire of American music. … I wondered at the artistic sensibility that could conceive these elegant tone poems, based in sophisticated urban blues and surrounded by consistently inventive orchestrations…. ….When he composed his suites to various regions of the world he never wrote the music when he was in those places.

‘I don’t want to be overly influenced by the local musical traditions, so I always wait until I’m back home to write my impressions.’ And he also confessed to me after a few rounds of Champaign: ‘I’m a sophisticated savage.’ Before I could persuade him to elaborate on his colorful claim our conversation was disrupted by others demanding the attention of the great man. I understood and bowed out. That enchanted evening in July, 1974 demonstrates that rest the world has long recognized the extraordinary creative contribution of the Duke. It is long past time this prophet became s hero in his own land.”

To be honest, what Playthell wrote above would be taken by these Jazz aficionados, turned on its head, made theirs. And included in their folklore about Jazz, as if it was they who spun the yarn above, and had experienced it, so that they have a one-up on their fellow Jazz buffs.. But, with time, those with the means, have been visiting The Newport Jazz Festival, Montreux Festival, and many of those in Europe.. And the comeback with fantastic tales of their visits and so forth, today (Most of it exaggerated, somewhat, but with some kernel of Truth.


Today in south Africa, we have come a long from the days I described above.. People are not more able to listen to jazz without the pressures of apartheid dehumanizing us. But African American Jazz in South Africa made our lives more bearable and full of hope. We never gave the Boers a chance to tell us nor believed we were barbarians or savages. Duke and the rest of the African America Jazz Masers, confirmed to us, since most of us looked like many of them and vice-versa- we knew that we were better than what the Apartheid monsters said we were.

There were many Jazz bands that were spawned as a result of our exposure to the American music scene and its Jazz Masters. These I might talk about in another palaver we might have on this subject. But Playthell’s article, with its cultural opulence and high art life-style, is still what makes our world go round. Duke was our demi-god when it came to Jazz, Style, dress/fashion, comportment and Class. He personified all this and then some to my uncles and their friends.

Duke Ellinton And His Bandmembers

The Duke And Us Africans Of South Africa Here In Mzantsi

The world Duke and his musical contemporaries created for us and in our imagination has been a source of encouragement and hope for us in the dark days of Apartheid. Many of us knew and believed that we were much more better than what Apartheid was telling us and make or force us to believe. His musical genius was our oxugen. From my father, Uncles and their friends, to my peers and maybe some beyond or younger than us, we have been collecting and listening to Duke and all the musical Masters of the American Jazz art-form, and that made us feel superior.

My generation was born at the time when gramophones were the musical machines. Our uncles used to paly a lot of breakeable 78s rams on a spike-like need\le scratching on the spinning record. The speakers were one holloed vent-like contraption and it was constantly wound on the side to keep the rpm's going at an even keel. the dances and dancers were awesome for us, and the garb of the day marvelous. The ladies well well-adorned with pretty-flurry dresses, and toe-sticking low heels, and their well coiffered hair to go with.

The gents were wearing broad brim hats, stylish sirts and ties or bow-tines, with their Florsheim two tone shoes twriling and sing, turning and dancing with the ladies, and this was a scene for us young ones of the times were marvelling at and being tutored about the music, dance, dress and of course, the Township slang to show how hip one is. We imbibed all that without let-up. Some of us were fortunate to have fathers who were big time and now legendary musicians of that era. So, listening to Duke and his musical contemporaries, they came to our understanding as a natural course of life.

Dukes Big band and or orchestra was fantastic, and it gelled with our life-styles. The life we were living under Apartheid was one part of our existence; our resistance and forging a life-style we knew was there, and we were not the ogres Apartheid made us to be-sophistication personified and lived, was our way of coping with the inhuman attrocities perpetrated against us.Seeing the immaculate and urbane looks of dukes garb, their photos invarious concerts and his, the grainy Black and White movies, from the silent type to the most even by today standards, were masterpiece videos that we were able to see as we grew older and kept up the listening patterns we grew up with.

Within and through the music of Duke and his musical contemporaries, we learned of many other artists; we also learnt how to distinguish each musican from their own style and signature phrasing or playing. Everyone who was on stage, we knew, and followed them as they managed, some of them, to eke out a body of work tha expanded our musical horizons and understanding. That is how we came across Bebop, Avant grade, Afro/Soul/Funky Jazz, music from the Caribbeans, Latin America and the whole musical bit and sector/environment.

As the musical components evolved from the gramophone to the cabinet box models, like Pilot Radio, Blaukpunckt and so forth, came into style. These, on their vinyl cubicle inside the cabinet, were designed to stack as much as 10 LPs, because around this time, more plastic and non-breakable vinyl was infuse, and the was a steady movement away from the breakeable 78 rpm's types. So, we began to have a constant LP play of ten without having to stand up and insert another LP. Some had inbuilt speakers on the side or elsewhere on the Cabinet, Radio and LP player. This was a serious and marked shift from the gramophone.

Al the while, LPs were arriving at our favorite record shops as we were now grown-up teenage. Shop like Kohinoor and later others like the "Turntable" and so forth, provided us with the latest music, and Duke featured prominently in our collection and he did gis all over the world, and collaboration with various musicians in his band or wlesewhere. Hs body of work can in fact be made into a College. School and so forth given the amount of it that is out there amongst our African people of Mzantsi.

As the 60s were come to a close, we began to see the emergence of what we got to know as Hi-Fi Stereo Radio-The components before then were playing on one-Now we were coming into the age of the Stereophic sounds that one would be listening to.. Separate component became the new design. Two or four independnent speakers, a separate tuner, graphic equalizer, booster, tape deck and now CD/DVD preices, and then some. This was the time that we developed styles of DJ and listening to various gneres that we could lay our hands on.

Whatever genre we partook in, we never forgot nor left Duke and his musical contemporaries alone. We listened to their various composition that we even knew them by heart; we could even and still mimick some of the solos and mind-blowing performances from amny and various American Jazz giants, that one could even say that Duke lived in our Ghettoes, and we were part and pacel of his life and life-style. This was very significant for us under Apartheid, and The Duke made our miseries and oppression easy to bear.

I cannot write about nor pretend to know exactly how the life of Duke was like. That is why Ihav solicitied the narrations of Playthell benjamin who style of writing is what I admire most. He, Playthell, amongst his contemporaries, is well informed and keep such topics fresh and real, and the bits of information he provides, is one way that this works out as a reminder to me and the life we lived under, through and with Duke and his music and lifestyle, which we read on the sleevess of the LP's jackets and other outlets and magazine like Downbeat Magazine and African Music And Drama Association-United Information Service(AMDA-USIS) Library in our Townships, which brough to us all available material they could muster for us to see and read.

What we got from the AMDA-USIS library were film reels of the Duke and many American big bands performances all over the the world; we saw many individual artist that we had on Vinyl/Lp's that kept us jamming and making ourselves better and feel better. One had access to some rare and serous books and authors, and magazines and so forth. So that, as the technolgy of the musical players and machies evolved and morped into the ithe i-Pods, the music, one has been wroking on the changing it from the LPs to the MP3 and MP4 digital music storage, which now of late, have begun to to store them from CD to the iPods and such-like gizmos and contraptions.

With the maassive collection of Duke's music and his musical contemproarires, and various other genres, I have been trying to keep abreast with the ever changing technologies and their techniques, gizmos and so forth just to make sure that the sounts from the 78 rpm's to 33 1/3 rpms, to CD, And then to i-Pods for {podcasting is a constant stream of change that was what made us not stop listening to quality sounds from duke and other various artists in many genres.

This has made the present-day South Africans, who have a lot of Musical Jazz listeing groups all ovdr the land, is a testament of our love, and understanding tof the American Jazz musical idiom, becasue to us, the music might be made by Africans in America, well, we look at it as our music and it resonates deeply with us too, here in Mzantsi. We have been with the music the whole step of the way, and many of us, under Apartheid, were avid, keen and very enamored listeners of the Jazz of the Americas, and other cultural artifacts. This is partly my schitck on Duke Ellington, and with time, I will attempt to elaborate even much more further interrogate his impact and effect and affect on us the poor masses of Africans of South Africa.

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Comments 18 comments

tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Great Hub my friend! What a lot of research you put into this one. I appreciate it very much indeed. And jazz is indeed "music for all ages and times!" Thanks again.

Love and peace

Tony


IslandVoice profile image

IslandVoice 6 years ago from Hawaii

Fabulous! My family will enjoy this for sure. Will share in my FB.


slider2010 profile image

slider2010 6 years ago

I respect your work and added blog to favorites


ixwa profile image

ixwa 6 years ago Author

Tonymac04: Thank you very much for passing bye and reading the hub. I am also glad you like it and hope to do even better in the future.

IslandVoice: As usual, I am trying to put in some quality work into various articles. The going is tough, but I will stay the course. I hope those that you share it with will like it as well. Thanks for the comments.

slider2010: Welcome and it is good to see that you like the hub, and are elated that you will add the blogg to your favs. Thanks for stopping bye, and I hope I will be hearing from you in the future. Thanks.


mhuze profile image

mhuze 6 years ago from USA

Great article. I love jazz music.


ixwa profile image

ixwa 6 years ago Author

Mhuze: Welcome to the Jazz Hub above and am very happy about the comments you have made. I am also glad you think that the article is Jazz. Since you have made me aware that you love Jazz music, you should really visit my Internet Radion Station Called FASTTRACKS which can found on Live365.com/stations/djtot12. Click the black arrow inside the yellow circle, then you will hear the music. You can even give me a "shout out". I am looking forward to hearing from you about the station and hope you find music of all genres in the Station's Playlist. Thank you again.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

gretest jazz hub of all time - you are the coolest cat around this town .... and Monk, Mingus, Sun Ra, Stan Getz, World Saxophone Quartet, Roland Kirk, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughn, Coltrane and Miles, the Hot Club of France, Sam Rivers, Steve Lacy, Don Ellis, Pharoah Sanders, Chet Baker would be so darn proud of you - I could go on but the daylight is coming up here at my lake of Erie here in Canada - and I am a Jazz vampire and must return to my coffin and listen to some Tony Scott - Music for Meditation - but I will follow you - so just watch me - you deserve Louis to play some sweet sweet trumpet for you -


ixwa profile image

ixwa 6 years ago Author

epigramman! Thank you very much for visiting the Hub above. I had hoped that it would strike an improvised cord with jazz lovers. I appreciate your comments immensely; J.J. phnson. Weather Report, Les McCann, Eddie Harries, Harold Mabern, Johm Patton, Johnny Hodges, Philly 'Jo" Jones, Gene Kruppa, Jimmy Witherspoon, Nancy Wilson, Ella Fritzgelrald, Kenny Burrell, Monk, Miles, Dizzy, Najee, Poncho Sanchez, Charles Mingus(Ahum!), Oh, I could go on. I am impressed with your taste and hope to be hearing more from you. By the way, not to be rude, the mail you sent, could you be more specific as to your request, I would like to respond it. Nonetheless, it is great to learn that I am 'known' in some quarters, and come to think of it, I did not even know about what you are speaking about in your mail. If you do find time, please listen o my station as listed at the end of the Hub. Thank you again and hope you come back soon to some of my music Hubs.


Joyful Pamela profile image

Joyful Pamela 6 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

What a fantastic article! You certainly talk about some of the very best in jazz music. Thank you for sharing your excellent research. :-D


ixwa profile image

ixwa 6 years ago Author

Joyful Pamela: Welcome to he Hub above and a Big Welcome toHubPages. Thank you very much for reading and commenting on the Hub above. I appreciate the fact that you thin that this is a 'Fantastic article. It is true I have put in a lot of research into the Hub, and I am glad you noticed that because you read it. I hope to be hearing from you in the future, if you ever get a chance to read through some of my articles on Jazz and other genres of music. Thank you again, and finally, again, Welcome to Hub Pages, and I will be checking on your Hubs, and good luck.


music messenger profile image

music messenger 6 years ago

Great hub and alot of info. From one jazz lover to another I have jazz / music reviews on my hub. Take a look. Good job and I voted.


ixwa profile image

ixwa 6 years ago Author

music messenger: Thank you, again, for visiting and reading the Hub above. I am also very happy and impressed that you have voted for the article. I will be visiting your hubs shortly and add my two cents to those I love. Thank you, and I hope that one day you will visit my station. Thanks.


jtyler profile image

jtyler 5 years ago

Nice article. Very detailed and true. Thanks.


ixwa profile image

ixwa 5 years ago Author

jtyler: Welcome to the Hub above and thank you for the gentle comments and the reading that you did. I really appreciate it very much. You can also check my Station on Live365.com/stations/djtot12 and it is called FASTTRACKS. You are free to listen-in and adopt the station for there's a lot of rare sounds embedded into the Playlist. Drop me a note whilst listening, if you can. Thanks!


Piano Tuners Pittsburgh 5 years ago

Nice article. I will be sending some more music people your way-


ixwa profile image

ixwa 5 years ago Author

Piano Tuners Pittsburg: Welcome to the Hub above and am glad for the comment you have posted above; that was kind of you to think that the article was nice. I would be very appreciative if you could send music people over to come and read the article above and if they do find time, listen to my station on Live365.com/stations/djtot12 and the stations is called FASTTRACKS. Thank you for the comments and visiting the Hub.


DoveFreexrolo 6 months ago

My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different page and thought I might as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you.


ixwa profile image

ixwa 6 months ago Author

Dovefreexrolo: Thank you very much for the posted comment above.. I rarely get comments like yours, and am very happy. I hope you find the variety of topics covered in this Site suiting your reading palate.. Thanks again, and am very appreciative; you're welcome, too...

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