Various Artists - Tales Of Afrojazz S.A.
richness of South African Jazz is endless. Thanks to Sheer Sound we
have the opportunity to listen to a representative survey of this
interesting genre. The label catches the spirit and soul of this
wonderful music and for those who aren't familiar with the interprets:
it's the best starter. For advanced listeners it may be a hint to up
to now unknown artists.
starts with Jimmy Dludlu's Linda taken
from the album "Echoes From The Past" (1997). First of all Jimmy
is a great guitarist. You can compare him with George Benson,
Wes Montgomery or Chuck Loeb. "Echoes from the past" was an
expression of his life-experiences. Besides this historical view this
track is deeply impressing. His music has crossed already all
boundaries and he absolutely deserves the received two FNB Awards for
"Best Newcomer" and "Best Contemporary Jazz
Dyer is a master of saxophone and flute. Best known for his band
"Southern Freeway" in Zimbabwe in the early 1990s, he fuses
contemporary jazz with African elements like percussion and vocals.
The track Qinisa Indlu was taken from his
debut album "Son Of The Soil". Steve is not only a
professional musician but also an experienced producer and musical
is an international star who doesn't need any introduction. Although
acknowledged as one of the best jazz players he found his popularity
in Pop, R&B, Disco, Afro pop and many other genres. The song
"Grazing In The Grass" was a multi-selling hit and his
touring with Paul Simon on his Graceland tour accelerated his
popularity worldwide. The song You Keep Me
Hangin' On also known by interprets like The Supremes, Kim
Wilde, Vanilla Fudge is extremely well performed by this outstanding
artist. This song was originally recorded in 1970 for the album
"Reconstruction". Further artists are among others Larry
Willis (piano), Joe Sample (electric-piano), Arthur Adams (guitar),
Wilton Felder, Monk Montgomery (bass), Al Foster and Wayne Henderson
Makhalemele's Emakhaya is
the perfect township jive, the South African groove, which let us
swing. He was one of South Africa's leading saxophonist and worked
with Champion Jack Dupree, Joe Henderson, Chick Corea, Curtis
Mayfield, and Clarence Carter. He also toured with Paul Simon (He
played uncredited on his Graceland album) and Miriam Makeba. He passed
away in May 2000. The song Emakhaya was
recorded on his album "Searching" (1999).
traditional South African vocal style is presented by the group
Sankomota and its lead singer and bass guitarist Frank Leepa, who
passed away in 2003. The great accident of the group was in 1996, when
four members of the internationally-acclaimed Lesotho band Sankomota
were killed in a road accident. Now
Or Never is taken
from the "Best of" album. The song is filled with positive
Mrubata is a special cjazz sax player. On this album he performs
the "Marabi" style with the track Face
The Music. The
story of Marabi can
be read here.
McCoy Mrubata caught this musical trend and lifestyle in this dynamic
Bosman's heritage is the gospel music. She has sung with many famous
South African musicians, amongst them Sibongile Khumalo, Moses
Molelekwa, Sipho Mabuse, Vusi Mahlasela, James Philips, Victor Masondo,
Hugh Masekela and Jonas Gwangwa. The song Amaqwati
was produced for her album "Tranquility" (1999). The power
of her voice has found a strong feed back. Although not all critics
loved her interpretations in English language.
The South African flavor turns on with Botsotsi
Kupi's album Loxion
(2002), which was produced by Andy Narell.
The song is especially recommend to fans of percussion music.
Concerning the title "Bo-Tsotsi"
I suggest to read C. Glaser's book about the Youth Gangs of Soweto.
It's also a traditional folk tune that was popular in the townships when
Prince Kupi was growing up. You will love Prince Kupi's guitar skills.
the title song form Louis Mhlanga's
album (2001) means "friends". We are all friends. Louis
Mhlanga understands his music as a message. The message of peace.
The harmony of his rapid but complex song structure is his signal.
Jive , Sipho
Gumede's title says it all. Great South African brass and bass.
Township Jive is music which originated from the townships around
Johannesburg, South Africa. A fusion of dance music, Pop and local
music streams, since Paul Simon's "Graceland" the world
knows this style. Sipho Gumede is the icon of South African Jazz Pop,
a blend of Pop and Jazz music.
As a champion of the Penny-whistle
style we can listen to "Big Voice" Jack Lerole. His device
was: "The music is in my veins. I don't have to say anything. I
am music." Jack played the penny-whistle,
inexpensive fipple flute, like no other. In the 60's he was one of the
kings of penny whistle jive, or kwela. This music was influenced by
marabi, a mixture of South African rural and Western big-band jazz and
swing music. The distinctive vocal ultra-bass sound he developed
("deep rasping groaning") made him to a hero of vocalists. A
cancer killed him in 2003. The song Across
Africa is from his album "Zimanukwenzeka"
("Things Just Happen") (2003).
Errol Dyes' Sonesta
presents a special guitar sound called "Cape Jazz Flavour".
"More than anything, it is Cape Town that has influenced my
sound", comments Errol frankly. It's the special vibe of this
area Errol inhales and breathes out again. The track is taken from his
album "Kou Kou Wa" (2000).
Mankunku Ngozi is a living jazz legend in South Africa. The song Give
Peace a Chance (Een Liedtjie vir Saldanha Bay) is published on
his album "Abantwana Be Afrika" ("Children of
Africa"), 2003. Most critics describe this album as a return to
Winston's musical roots, Bop, Hard Bop and Classic Jazz. Winston is
famous for his creativity and intensity of performance.
music is uncommon and novel. Jazz Avantgarde or New School is a
possible term to characterize his freedom of expression and onomatopoeia.
Kwedini is taken from his album "Zimology", recorded
in Oslo (Norway) 1998.
Hanmer has a great affinity to solo piano play. You often find some
pieces of this kind on his albums. Paul Hanmer's performance has a
deepness and loftiness
that immediately enchants the audience. After
Cecil And Alarice Marry from his album "Windows To
Elsewhere" (1996) is no jazz at all. It's a melody which Paul
develops and lets grow like a flower carefully fostered. "I
belong to South African music, but not necessarily jazz", he
explains. But Paul continues: "If you mean jazz in the general
sense of the term, then yes. If jazz incorporates folk music, the
country's indigenous culture, then yes. If jazz incorporates the use
of European, American, and African harmonic forms, then yes. If it
incorporates improvisation, yes, definitely, I play jazz".
album is as many-layered as the country from where its music is coming
from. Certainly its only a small glimpse of the many variations of
jazz one can find in South Africa, but really a fantastic one.