First View

 

Most of the readers will identify the musician Hugh Masekela with his tremendous success and number one hit "Grazin' in the Gras" (1968). He played together with Paul Simon, Miriam Makeba, Abdullah Ibrahim, Patti Austin, Santana, Bill Cosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Herb Alpert, The Crusaders, Harry Belafonte, Dizzy Gillespie and many more artists.

 He published more than 30 albums and is still one of the most important jazz musicians in South Africa. His debut album "Revival" on the Heads Up label is recorded solely by South African musicians. Masekela is known for music styles of Kwaito, a music style with a message, township jive, jazz and afrobeat. ďKwaito is going to be around for a long time. Itís going to become an integral part of South African mainstream music. Itís the core of the feeling of todayís township youth,Ē comments Hugh Masekela.  Most of his music is entertaining or better: This music makes fun.

After the first notes of After Tears you smell the South African sun. But the surprise starts in the middle of the piece when I hear reminiscences of "Shaft". There is also a lot of fine percussion on very edge.

On Woman Of The Sun Hugh Masekela is the storyteller in a dialogue with the background vocals. Talking drums are accompanying his trumpet.

Hugh Masekela often sings a simple melody like on Spring. His vocals are rough comparable with Joseph Shabala (Ladysmith Black Mambazo). But incomparable is his mastership on trumpet and flugel horn.

District Six was named the Sixth Municipal District of Cape Town in 1867. In 1966, it was declared a white area under the Group areas Act of 1950, and by 1982, the life of the community was over. 60 000 people were forcibly removed to barren outlying areas aptly known as the Cape Flats, and their houses in District Six were flattened by bulldozers. The District Six Museum is reminding at this act of cruelty. Masekela has perfectly captured the spirit of this area. Corlea, called a "rising star",  is certainly a female singer which deserves more attention. 

Open The Door is a flaming speech for freedom. Great vocals.

Masekela's concept is convincing: a melody, a chorus line and a magnificent flugel horn as shown up on Nontsokolo

With Zwai Bala's Fresh Air Masekela leaves the South African area and steps into Contemporary Jazz. His muted trumpet is breathtaking.

Smoke is a further tune in the Kwaito-style. Masekela's story is mixed with the muted trumpet. Excellent arrangement and interplay.

On Ibala Lam Masekela convokes the great choir in African tradition.

Sleep sounds like an uptempo version of Woman of the Sun. But Masekela's song has a critical touch this time.

The instrumental For The Love Of You has a bit of Dr. Hook, a bit of Lou Rawls, a bit of smooth jazz, definitely radio-like. What a groove! 

The start of Working Underground could be an old Tavares song but Masekela's vocals reminds you: This is African Pop. Masekela is crossing all borders of styles. One cannot pigeonhole his music on one genre.


 

  • Bio

     

  • CD available
    • Release Date: May 24, 2005

     

  • Label
  • The Players

    Hugh Masekela - Trumpet, Keyboards, Flugelhorn, Vocals
    Jimmy Dludlu, Themba Mokeona, John Selowane, Lawrence Matshiza - Guitars
    Ngoako Manamela - Vibes
    Zwai Bala, Artur Tshabalala, Ezbie Mollwa, Godfrey Pilane & Hugh Masekala - Keyboards 
    Moses Khumalo - Sax
    Khaya Mahlangu - Sax, Flute
    Lucas Senyatso - Bass
    Sello Montwedi - Drums
    Zwai Bala, Corlea, Malaika - Vocals