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Friday, May 02, 2008

The joy and pain of South African Jazz

On an afternoon in summer, the farm Quaggasfontein in the Great Karoo. About 200 years ago, after 13 years of work, two slaves are said to have completed the building of this wall which surrounds the farmyard.
Near Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape. December 1966

I realized that the Megaupload way of getting the four files I compiled some time back when doing a blindfold test on the Organissimo board was still working - here are the links:

[links removed, go to this new post to find the new links, eventually - and stop bitchin' around!]


All infos can be found here:
Disc 1 (first two files):
Disc 2 (last two files):

The old discussions can be found here, in case anyone cares to read:
Disc 1:
Disc 2:


Photographs by David Goldblatt (wiki)

A new shack under construction, Lenasia Extension 9, Gauteng
5 May 1990


Allow me to repeat myself - in case not everyone clicks on the above links, here's some of the info I posted back then:


AMG South African Jazz Page:
Homepage of photographer Jürgen Schadeberg (Drum): (tons of info, mainly short artist biographical sketches):
The African Music Encyclopedia:
Afropop Worldwide:

Graves of the Griquas.
...The Griquas were coloured men and women. They were descendants of early Afrikaner frontiersmen; of the remnants of Khoisan tribes, hunters, gatherers, and pastoralists; of escaped slaves from the wine and wheat farms of the south-west Cape; of Free Blacks from the colony who could find no acceptable place for themselves in it; and of African tribesmen, detached from their tribes by war or by choice. They formed a community which attempted to discover what their role in South Africa was, or if there was none, to create one for themselves. In the end they could not do this ... (Adam Kok's Griquas: A Study in the Development of Stratification in South Africa, by Robert John Ross, Cambridge 1976)
Philippolis, Free State, 27 August 1986


The Development of South African Jazz (by Hotep Idris Galeta):
Forced removals in apartheid South Africa:
Bebop and beyond the blues – South African Jazz History:
Drum Magazine:

Kite-flying, near Phuthaditjhaba, in the Qwa Qwa bantustan, now the Free State.
1 May 1989


Basil Coetzee (1944-1998)

Mackay Davashe
great Schadeberg photo here:

Johnny “Mbizo” Dyani (1945-1986)
album listing:

Abdullah Ibrahim (*1934) (discography there is pretty incomplete!)

Robbie Jansen (*1949)

Chris McGregor (1936-1990)
Berlin 1969 by Karlheinz Klüter here: (great site, worth browsing around!)
The Blue Notes (lenghty wiki entry):
Brotherhood of Breath disco:;threadid=18348
A remembrance by Chris’ brother Tony:
A tribute (introduction to Maxine McGregor’s book):
(Note: a Blue Notes box set is scheduled to appear soon on Ogun records!)

Miriam Makeba (*1932)
Terrific 1955 photo by Schadeberg here:

Shopping on 14th Street, Pageview, Johannesburg. The suburbs Pageview, which was mainly Indian, and Vrededorp, which was mainly Afrikaner working-class, were next to each other. The Vrededorpers did much of their shopping in Pageview (as did people from many other parts of the city). When the Group Areas Act was enforced in 1977, the Indian population of Pageview was forcibly removed, and their shops and homes were destroyed to make way for Whites.
Pageview, Johannesburg, Gauteng. July 1985

Hugh Masekela (*1939)
Biography & discography by Doug Payne:
Biography (& more):
Interview (2002):

Pat Matshikiza (*1938)
Biography (from a recent CD’s liners):

Harry Miller (1941-1983)
Detailed info on “The Collection”:
(Don't by all accounts miss the Isipingo disc released on Cuneiform! It's the best way to get acquainted with Miller these days, as the Ogun box has been out of print for a while now...)

Louis Moholo (*1940)
Article by Gary May (May 2005 of ImproJazz, no. 115):

Winston “Mankunku” Ngozi
Reissue of "Yakhal 'Inkomo" (with Chris Schilder Quintet feat. Mankunku "Spring"):

Edmund Ntemi Piliso (1925-2000)
Short bio:
African Jazz Pioneers:

Dudu Pukwana (1938-1990)

Dolly Rathebe (1928-2004)
another great Jürgen Schadeberg photo here:

Lemmy Special
one more by Schadeberg:

Philip Tabane

Xhosa man and V N Zote's children, Flagstaff, Transkei, Eastern Cape.
9 October 1975


African Jazz Pioneers – Sip 'n' Fly (Gallo) [Ntemi Piliso & his gang back at the game in 1992]
The Blue Notes – In Concert Vol. 1 (Ogun – OOP) [don’t have this one for real…]
The Blue Notes – Township Bop (Proper) [early sessions (1964) by the group, still in South Africa – I assume this is the one Proper release I really, really love!]
**Pierre Dorge & New Jungle Orchestra – Brikama (Steeplechase) (incl. Johnny Dyani) [great, joyful and crazy small big band stuff, similar vibes in there as you can hear with the Dutch bands of the time]
*Johnny Dyani – Witchdoctor’s Son (Steeplechase) [a classic, I assume, but one I haven’t gotten yet]
Mongezi Feza – Free Jam (Ayler, 2CD) [Feza guesting with Bernt Rosengren’s group]
Anders Gahnold – Flowers for Johnny (Ayler, 2CD) [trio w/Dyani & Gilbert Matthews]
Abdullah Ibrahim – African Space Program (Enja) [one of his best, just look at the line-up: Enrico Rava, Sonny Fortune, Carlos Ward, John Stubblefield, Hamiet Bluiett, Cecil McBee, a.o.]
Abdullah Ibrahim – African Marketplace (WEA) [one of his greatest, Carlos Ward is the main soloist, Craig Harris is there as well, and Cecil McBee anchors it on bass, great blowing, plenty of spirit and soul]
Abdullah Ibrahim – all the “African Recordings” (African Sun, Voice of Africa, Tintinyana, Blues for a Hip King) (KAZ/Camden) [the early/mid 70s material from after Dollar Brand went back to SA, featuring Kippie, Basil Coetzee, Robbie Jansen, Barney Rachabane and others, but also a date with Blue Mitchell, Buster Cooper and Harold Land alongside Coetzee and a few other SA musicians]
Abdullah Ibrahim – African Piano (JAPO) [one of his best, an early solo outing]
Abdullah Ibrahim – Yarona (Enja) [1996 trio set from Sweet Basil in NYC, glorious!]
Abdullah Ibrahim – African River (Enja) [one of the best Ekaya albums]
Abdullah Ibrahim – South Africa (Enja) [a great live set with Carlos Ward]
Abdullah Ibrahim – Africa -Tears and Laughter (Enja) [a meditative set with Talib Kibwe]
Abdullah Ibrahim/Johnny Dyani – Good News from Africa (Enja) [duos, sublime!]
Abdullah Ibrahim/Johnny Dyani – Echoes from Africa (Enja) [more duos, almost as good]
Robbie Jansen – Nomad Jêz (Mountain Records)
The Jazz Epistles – Jazz in Africa, Vol. 1 (KAZ/Camden) [with John Mehegan date, see Masekela disography for details]
Chris McGregor – Very Urgent (Polydor – OOP) (to be reissued by Fledg'ling
Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath (self-titled) (just reissued by Fledg'ling)
Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath – Brotherhood (just reissued by Fledg'ling)
Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath – Bremen to Bridgewater (Cuneiform. 2CD)
Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath – Travelling Somewhere (Cuneiform)
Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath – Eclipse at Dawn (Cuneiform) [might be the best of these live releases...]
Chris McGeegor’s Brotherhood of Breath – Country Cooking (Virgin) [one of hist last releases, mostly with UK sidemen, pretty good!]
Hugh Masekela – Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of H.M. (Blue Thumb) [a nice compilation of mostly early material]
Lulu Masilela & Thomas Phale – Cool Down (Gallo) [short - only 26 minutes - but very sweet, contains two lenghty jams]
Harry Miller – The Collection (Ogun, 3CD – OOP) [all his Ogun albums, solo, duo with Radu Malfatti, Isipingo, the album with Breuker, Trevor Watts and the Tippet(t)ses, as well as the Harry Miller Quintet album with Charig, Wolter Wierbos, Han Bennink and Sean Bergin, originally on Varajazz]
Harry Miller’s Isipingo – Which Way Now (Cuneiform) [terrific live recording by this great band!]
*Louis Moholo – Spirits Rejoice (Ogun) [OOP?]
McCoy Mrubata - Face the Music (Sheer Sound) [a lovely 2002 album by some younger musicians, including Zim Ngqawana, Prince Lengoasa, Marcus Wyatt and Paul Hanmer]
*Benny Gwigwi Mrwebi – Mbqanga Songs (Honest Jon’s)
Winston "Mankunku" Ngozi – Yakhal ‘Inkomo (Gallo) [also contains Chris Schilder's Spring]
Zim Ngqawana – Zimphonic Sounds (Sheer Sound) [a younger man’s celebration of the great tradition, the music in all its glory and pain]
Bra Ntemi [Ntemi Piliso] – At Mavuthela Vol. 1 - 1975 (Gallo)
Bra Ntemi [Ntemi Piliso] – At Mavuthela Vol. 2 - 1975 (Gallo)
Bra Ntemi [Ntemi Piliso] – At Teal Records - 1976 (Gallo)

*) albums I don’t own in any form (some of this stuff has been around in the blogosphere…)
**) albums that are not actually “South African jazz,” whatever that is

Freedom Blues: South African Jazz Under Apartheid (Nascente) [mostly classics by Mankunku, The Blue Notes, Harry Miller’s Isipingo, The Jazz Epistles, a.o.]
Africa Straight Ahead (Heads Up) [mostly younger musicians, Zim Ngqawana, McCoy Mrubata, Bheki Mseleku, Hotep Idris Galeta, Paul Hammer, a.o.]
African Horns (KAZ/Camden) [a great teaser, including “Thsona” (see below) as well as a few other lenghty jams, plenty of great sax players featured, incl. Kippie, Coetzee, Jansen & Barney Rachabane]
Jazz in Africa, Volume 2 (KAZ/Camden) [includes Kippie’s terrific album “Tshona”, as well as two looooong jams with Dollar Brand]

Further metion: Golden Afrique Vol. 3 (Network), dedicated to the music of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Sambia (Volumes 1 & 2 are highly recommended, too - for Europeans, I assume the best place to get them is here: These aren't jazz releases, of course, but they contain plenty of wonderful music attractive to the jazz audience, too...

And to end things, here's the sleeve of the original King Kong album - the musical which in its cast included many of the luminaries of South African jazz:

Stalled municipal housing scheme, Kwezinaledi, Lady Grey, Eastern Cape.
5 August 2006


ubu said...

Note that the links for files 2 and 3 (or part 2 of disc 1 and part 1 of disc 2) are in wrong order - not that it matters if you grab all of it... don't feel like editing this mother of a post again, after I had to re-do it already...

Hope there'll be some bits of discussion in here, about all this beautiful music!

Barak said...

Flurin, this is an AMAZING post! I missed your BFT completely on the Big O board - here's my second chance.

I know little of South African Jazz, but from what I've heard so far - it's a rich mine that has to be digged.

BoB is one of my favorite modern Orchestras and I love Dudu Pukwana's music as well as M'Bizo's.

I look forward to listen to this collection and read thru the links you've provided.

ubu said...

Good to see you here, Barak! Enjoy the trip!

Oh, and some of the links have changed or gone no good, I didn't have time to double check them all... will likely post some fixed ones in a new post later.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this awesome post! I have been enjoying this music almost obsessively for some time now (Kwela by Gwigwi Mrwebe is a particular favorite) and am looking forward to listening to all of this. I have had some trouble d/l the blindfold test files, though, as part 2 is the only one that is found at any of the hosts.


ubu said...

All the links are working if you choose the Megaupload option - I just tried myself (again). Makes me kind of grumpy that mostly people just comment if they can't get the free music - and are too lazy to even try - or to read the main post, where I already said the Megaupload options of all files were still good... I did of course check that myself, before posting the links!

Anonymous said...

You're right, please forgive my lazy mistake. Thanks again for all the work in compiling this.


ubu said...

Yeah, ok... I'm usually not such a grumpy person, but as I was preparing to react in a "don't shoot the messenger" mode and then realized that the links were still ok, I was a bit annoyed... sorry for that.
Now enjoy the music!

Dr. Puck said...

I'm slightly embarrased to promote my own link for an Abdullah Ibrahim web site that has not been updated for 5 years. Still, it was a labor of love for my friend and it does come from and reaches for a personal point of contact.

Abdullah Ibrahim's Mantra Modes

Incidentally, the Khoi Khoi and San cultures may have sustained an African musical culture for upwards of 100,000+ years. A tidbit worth knowing if anybody ever asks you when jazz was begun.

NYC Teen Central Writer's Club said...

please check the links again they don't seem to be working

Gato Medio said...

I'll probably embarass myself, but I can't find the links to the music. Must be something wrong with my eyesight, or perhaps the brain's going alltogether, but all I see are links to the organissimo discussion forum, where the initial comment mentions download links but doesn't say where they are.

Please help a blind man see!

By the way, I do own a vinyl copy of Witchdoctor's Son by Johnny Dyani. I'll see if I can find somebody here in Brazil who'll help me put it up on the net.


ish said...

Wow. What a comprehensive post. Interesting. Speaking of South African jazz you will probably find this to your taste:

ubu said...

@gato: read the post, there it says all you need to know about the links...
Also there's no need to upload the Dyani - it's readily available on CD!

@ish: good to see you on my place! I found out about your two blogs a couple of weeks ago and loved many of those Strata East shares (your own and those you link to - great service)!
I've not come around downloading that other thingie yet, but I will!

Anonymous said...

I have to second the comments of John B from the Organissimo board: disc 2 #7 BoB's "New Year Carnival" is outstanding, really joyous and raucous ensemble playing. Wow! Thank you for sharing that in particular.

Cheers, MB

oui said...

ça fait une bonne demi heure que je cherche tes liens pour la compilation "JAZZ SOUTH AFRICA" mais j'ai le désagréable sentiment de perdre mon temps!!! aurais tu l'amabilité de me signaler où ils se trouvent STP?

ubu said...

oui, I quote from the above post:

[links removed, go to this new post to find the new links, eventually - and stop bitchin' around!]

enjoy the music!

oui said...

sorry but the new post link didn't lead me to the "JAZZ SOUTH AFRICA" compilation, and i aint more bitchin' than you do, bitch :)
i always enjoy the music, that's why i was seduced by the idea of listening to your compilation but despite my efforts i will obviously never

ubu said...

oui, sorry, I didn't post the links there, indeed, but in a new post:

Anyway, subscribing to RSS-feeds is the easiest way to omit such confusion as you'd have all the new posts right there in your own personal feeds-inbox and you can search them, too! (not for links, as those are mostly in the comments or disguised, but for "south africa", for instance)

Now finally: enjoy the music!