Moses Khumalo - Mntungwa


South Africa is a real fountain for Smooth Jazz. After several reviews about SA artists of this genre mainly of the Sheer Sound label I have to present you Moses Khumalo's "Mntungwa". 

What you're getting: "The debut album from one of SA's most promising young saxophonists, a subtle glimpse into the future of South African jazz music". 

Moses didn't started with the saxophone but with the study of piano play. He performed with the likes of: Hugh Masekela, Sibongile Khumalo, Themba Mkhize and Paul Hanmer.

Ngwana Wa Mme, the first tune of Moses' debut album reveals the musician's heritage, which demonstates Johannesburg is the heart of Africa. Rhythm and melody although blended with jazz have the African character, we already knows for example by Jonathan Butler's music.

In the centre of Hymn for Taiwa are Moses' sax and especially Afrika Mkhize's piano in long improvised solos. One cannot deny a certain Gospel mood.

Gentle is the beginning of He Said. Moses plays the main theme with soprano and tenor saxophones in a chorus. The bass is speaking in a reggae language and the rhythm takes it over. Fabulous is Moses' soprano solo.

Township Tempo opens anew the door to South African music. The drummer Sello "Skholo" Montwedi combines seamlessly South Afrian and jazz rhythms.

Celebrate Mzansi has more of it. Moses shows in his music his locality and especially the expression of his own personality. Surrounded by South African music Moses understands his instrument as a wild animal with all its vital power.

On African Mood we listen to Moses raw jazzy side of sax playing. One must know that South Africa has a strong connection to jazz. For example the North Sea Festival is happening at that place too. Originally coming from Netherlands it is transposed to this country. "Jazz was invented and developed in the US, and South Africa is the only African country, if not the world, with its own authentic jazz tradition," comments Mel Puljic, the head of Rerooted Media.

My impression of Song for Leonhard is African jazz meets fusion. Afrika Mkhize's electric piano solo is high class.

On Vat My Huis Toe African jazz and fusion jazz find a melting summit. The song is floating like a river. Moses ' sax play is powerful and energetic.

The first vocal song Kgotso Africa is featuring Sonnyboy "Mzanseka" Seokolo from Potchefstroom, a city in the North West province of South Africa. The song recitated in the home language has an impressing vibe.

Final tune is the slow tempo title song Mntungwa, a measured Blues styled piece.

Moses Khumalo's debut album "Mntungwa", is not the common Smooth Jazz album, someone will await who is used to the American style. South Africa is developing an own way of Smooth Jazz and that's a splendid alternative.