Bheki Mseleku - Home At Last


Sheer Sound has released a lot of albums of musicians whose music cannot categorized as "straight ahead jazz". Most of them are influenced by their environment. I use this term not in a local sense but more in a musical one. The South African jazz scene is proud of their South African heritage and most of the musicians intend to integrate the sound of South Africa into their style. After reading his biography you will know that Bheki Mseleku has lived a great part of his time in Londoner exile caused by the oppressive apartheid system. Certainly he has profited by his collaborations with Courtney Pine, Steve Williamson, Eddie Parker, Jean Toussaint, Michael Bowie and Marvin "Smitty" Smith.

"Home At Last" is an acknowledgement of superiority in respect of his homeland and its inhabitants. It's also a reference to his own musical history. No, Bheki Mseleku refuses to be categorized as "jazz pianist" or "South African". So try to listen to his albums without any prejudices.

Sandile is the pre-name of Sandile Shange, a great guitarist from Bheki's hometown Johannesburg. Bheki's piano playing is often compared with McCoy Tyner and fellow South African, Abdullah Ibrahim. Bheki has a smooth contact to the keys, in the beginning a caressing touch his play is increasing to a piano forte accompanied by the typical brass sound. Enoch Mthalane adds some nice guitar slicks in a "Shange" style.

Monwabisi is named for the legendary "Mankunku Winston Ngozi". Mankunku recorded and released the acclaimed album "Jika" in 1986 on the joint record label Nkomo. Recorded both in Cape Town and London, "Jika" featured a number of exiled South African musicians, including Bheki Mseleku, Russell Herman, and Lucky Ranku. It's an enjoyment to listen to the interaction of acoustic bass, saxophone and piano. The tenor saxophone is played by Mankunku. Home again!

Home At Last a celebration of being home again incorporates the ease of existence. Although jazz styled the melodious parts of this song will appeal even the youth. A very hooking potential.

A Journey From Within features Feya Faku on flugel horn. A slow tempo piece with some impressing piano running in between.

Mamelodi is one of the suburbs of Pretoria. A town with a vivid culture, jazz gigs and workshops included. Bheki Mseleku shows his own vision of this sparkling city.

Love Is The Key is a further reverie, a confession to love and music. 

After these contemplative tunes Bheki returns with Dance With Me Tonight to the dance floor. I should better say, it's not danceable but grooving.

Bheki goes his own way of music. Although knowing about the popularity of such grooving pieces he returns to jazz elements with classic rhythm structures. Take for example Mbizo. This tune is dedicated to Johnny Mbizo Dyani, a legendary jazz player (African Jazz, Avant-Garde Jazz).

Imbali a part of the Kruger National Park is the right theme for a further jazz exploration.

Nant's Inkululeko, a feast for brass fans, is the platform for Ezra Ngcukana's tenor saxophone and Feya Faku's flugel horn solos. Bheki Mseleku piano solo is the inauguration of jazz.

A further summit is Belinda Ananda. Improvisation finds a fertile ground here.

Monk The Priest. "The most important jazz musicians are the ones who are successful in creating their own original world of music with its own rules, logic, and surprises." This homage to "Thelonious Monk", the great jazz pianist, follows the path of a legend.

Home At Last offers a glimpse of the musical nature of Bheki Mseleku. John Matshikiza describes Bheki as a "new warrior". I believe he is more an ambassador of his own music. Someone who knows to convince with soft tones.

Further information
  • Bio

  • Label

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  • Musicians:
    • Piano: Bheki Mseleku
    • Double Bass: Herbie Tsoaeli
    • Drums: Phillip Meintjies (on tracks 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 11) Morabo Morojele (on tracks 1, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12)
    • Guitar: Enoch Mthalane
    • Trumpet: Feya Faku
    • Saxophones: Winston Mankunku Ngozi (on tracks 2, 3, 8, 11) Ezra Ngcukana tenor (on tracks 1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10)
    • Percussion: Tlale Makhene

    For further information on the artists and albums contact:

    Leemor Daniel
    International Division - Sheer Sound

    Tel: +27 11 444 1818
    Fax: +27 11 444 2275