Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
ep1str0phy

"South African Jazz"

259 posts in this topic

...in quotation marks to account for the semantic nightmare. As contentious as the phrase is, there's little doubt that there is and has been a flourishing South African improvised music scene for decades--even now, after apartheid, when the caprices of nation building "do and don't" provide an environment conducive to the survival of the music (certain parallels exist between the circumstances of the contemporary SA improviser and the indignities our fellas suffer over in the States). One salient commonality: there's little information available over here--even insofar as regards their nominal and effective legends (Kippie Moeketsi, Chris Columbus "Mra" Ngcukana, Nick Moyake... or even the more widely recorded, like Louis Moholo-Moholo)--regarding discographical, biographical (etc.) specifics. It's a sorry state of things, especially because there's a tremendously rich heritage there, and (for the marginally more self-interested) one intertwined with the progress of various improvised/jazz musics abroad.

Duke, Don Cherry, Wes Montgomery, Charles Mingus, Evan Parker, Joe McPhee, Keith Tippett, Mal Waldron, John Tchicai, Alan Skidmore, Harry Beckett, Elton Dean, Blue Mitchell, Harold Land, Marc Charig, Nick Evans, Gary Windo, Peter Brotzmann, Frank Wright, Mike Osborne, Billy Hart, Archie Shepp, Radu Malfatti, Kenny Wheeler, the Art Ensemble of Chicago (particularly Lester Bowie), and Miles Davis are just a few of the musicians who have interacted with and, often times, developed from their interactions with SA improvisers (and that list involves acquaintance with members of the Jazz Epistles and Blue Notes alone).

We have interested parties on this board--so (having not managed to locate a thread along these lines, tho we should bump one in the event...) recommendations, thoughts, hagiography goes here.

To start: the Sheer Sound label, started up by SA entrepreneur Damon Forbes, has long (over a decade) provided a nurturing environment for modern, adventurous creative music. Among the faces on its roster are Pops Mohamed, an associate of Abdullah Ibrahim's (Pops's recent Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow is a fine showcase for the contemporary flourishes that are now transforming the mbaqanga and marabi music of yesteryear), and Zim Ngqawana, one of Louis Moholo-Moholo's younger running partners and a master of both SA and American free music traditions. Check it out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a thread about Kippie and one about Dollar Brand, a search for Kippie should help you find them.

There's also a thread about a compilation of current ZA Jazz somewhere (recommendations or new releases).

Ngquawana is a fine musician, I just recently picked up a disc of his:

zimNgq.gif

It features Andile Yenana on piano, another fine younger musician.

Here's a rather useful website: http://www.music.org.za/

It would indeed be good to have some links to good sites here, as I haven't found all that many helpful sites so far, myself.

Website of Sheer Sound: http://www.sheersound.co.za/

Another site, discussing some CDs: http://www.muzikifan.com/southafrica.html

The jazz page of the afribeat site (http://www.afribeat.com/): http://www.afribeat.com/cape%20town/jazzpage.htm

Doug Payne has a Masekela disco up on his site, but I can't access it right now (having trouble displaying other sites, too, so I hope the problem is on my end): www.dougpayne.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How does Joe Malinga and his marvellous album ("Tears for the Children of Soweto") fit in the larger picture? I am aware that the LP was recorded in a small village nearby where I grew up, and it seems like half of the musicians are swiss or german, but does anyone have any background info? I'm much too young to know...

Zurich was, way before Malinga, one of the havens for ZA musicians. There was a club where Dollar Brand used to play. I think the saga goes that Sathima Bea Benjamin dragged Duke Ellington there, after he gave a concert in Zurich, and he was impressed enough to hire Abdullah for a US tour, and the first record also was called "Ellington Presents..."

The site of the local club "Bazillus" (founded by trumpet player Beat Kennel in the early 60s, longtime as an illegal cellar club, now completely legal with a funny website - check the "lookingBack" link) has some history bits, including one about that legendary club which was called "Africana", I copy some of the images from there (http://www.bazillusclub.ch/):

ACFZKs1v1.jpg

Early sixties THE BLUE NOTES Concert at Africana ON PICT:CHRIS MacGREGOR’S BLUE NOTES from Southafrica f.l.t.r. Nikele Moyakhe,ts Chris MacGregor,p Johnny Dyani,b Louis Moholo,dr FOTO BY: ART RINGGER

ACFdMN2Zx.jpg

Early sixties THE BLUE NOTES Concert at club Africana ON PICT:DUDU PUKWANA as FOTO BY:ART RINGGER

10.jpg

YEAR. Early sixties THE BLUE NOTES Concert at club Africana ON PICT: Nikele Moyakhe,ts FOTO BY: ART RINGGER

and somewhat related, since Ibrahim was her initial main influence (to be suprassed by CT later):

9.jpg

mid-sixties IRENE SCHWEIZER QUINTET IRENE SCHWEIZER,p WALTI LEUTENEGGER,fl behind MANI NEUMEIER,dr ALEX ROHR, ts and behind ULI TREPTE,b IRENE belongs to those musicians, who started all that free-style jazz and became very known all over Europe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of beautiful music from this scene: the British free scene is of course heavily influenced by a lot of the South Africans, even though very few here/surviving (of the 'greats').

A name that hasn't come up yet (doubtless completely unintentionally) - Mongezi Feza - one of the biggest trumpet sounds I can think of (check him out with Harry Beckett as a section in the BoB!)

Lots of nice hybrid UK/Dutch/SA bands as well -

Trevor Watts' various groups; Alex Maguire's Cat O'Nine Tails (Maguire, p; Louis Moholo, Steve Noble, d; Pete McPhail, Alan Wilkinson, Sean Bergin, saxophones; Paul Rogers, b; Alan Tomlinson, tb; Claude Deppa, t); Harry Miller's Isipingo (now those Ogun's are *fine*!)

And - on a less obvious tip - how about Derek Bailey, Louis, and Thebe Lipere on Derek's 'Village Life'? Fantastic!

Saw Moholo last night with Foxes Fox (Kenny Wheeler sat in), and he was awesome as ever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

re: clem--my thesis was nowhere near what I wanted it to be when it got turned in (a computer malfunction killed an entire chapter, forcing me to scrap the entire section on the Blue Notes--always back up your files). Anyhow, the Pukwana/Dyani photo above was frontpaged for a period. I'm trying for a program that may give me some additional avenues of research, so hopefully I can accomplish some cohesive scholarship on the Brotherhood/Blue Notes scene soon (the guys I've talked to have been really encouraging, and completely aware of the dearth of research on these guys, so things are looking positive).

As far as I can tell (someone please inform me), only two books have been written specifically about the Blue Note axis of improvisers: a book on Chris McGregor written by Maxine McGregor, and a book on Johnny Dyani, edited by Lars Rasumussen (I haven't read more than excerpts from either, but the Dyani book--alongside some other SA stuff--seems to be available here: http://www.booktrader.dk/books.html)... for an excerpt, again, from the Dyani book, check here: http://www.kultur-im-ghetto.de/Texte/WILSON-Text.pdf (from what I can gather, the book was sectional--so Wilson isn't the sole author).

As far as the genres mentioned/recordings: a lot of it has to do with the state of the recording industry in 20th century South Africa, which was, Boer dominated (and in a historically well-documented fashion), astonishingly inconducive to the recording and development of new styles. The governing forces/culture warriors (manifest in the national radio organiation, the SA Brodcasting Company) maintained that no more than colonialist niceties (for the Boers) or syncretic/synthetic tribalistic musics (for the Black Africans) were allowed to filter through the dominant commercial avenues. This meant that both those more radical idioms (for example, free improv or even, I understand, white "new" music) as well as self-constructed, supra-tribal/amalgamated genres were barred and brutalized in the fashion you'd imagine.

From what I can gather, the better part of historically resonant SA jazz was recorded in Africa, only that media machinations and uncongenial fiscal options have prevented most of that music from reaching anywhere overseas (much less the fellas back home). Certain albums, though, like the Abdullah Ibrahim stuff that has been reissued on Camden/Kaz, might testify to the fact that there was indeed some sort of guerilla SA recording scene operable in the peak years of unrest. What we tend to hear is the exiles' material, which is altogether tragic (but on a different, parallel wavelength).

And there is a genre called "boerpunk"--a sort of socially-conscious SA rock music that flourished among rebellious (predominantly) white youth in the later-20th century--but I'm not sure that too many of us will be able to hear that stuff in our lifetime(s) (for the reasons above).

For a good historical account (I have nothing to compare it to, really), I'd recommend Gwen Ansell's Soweto Blues. Also, The World of South African Music: A Reader by Christine Lucia seems to be available online--haven't read it, but will soon.

Red--I would love to hear Moholo^(n) live, but stateside trips are nonexistent. Maybe a trip is in order...

Mongezi Feza, despite the hushed tones and conspiratorial shadowboxing that seems to surround his death, will always be life to me. Throw on "Tunji's Song" from Live at Willisau or, in a much stranger way, Blue Notes for Mongezi, and you can hear the blood rush. It's beautiful stuff.

Edited by ep1str0phy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

don't know if any of the Brits out there remember anything about, but when I was in London in 1970 I went to a club called the Phoenix and saw Feza and Pukwana with an Ornette-type group. Wonderful night and they were two very sweet and friendly guys - I was only 16 so I don' remember it as well as I would like to but it was quite an experience -

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not much to add here, but I look forward to hearing more about your research ep. Please keep us posted!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will do--but most important of all is that we get more people out there working on this subject. Only one of the Blue Notes is left, and many of their major cohorts are dead or inaccessible (like Ronnie Beer--stand-in for Nick Moyake and frequent tenor for the Blue Note side gigs--is living in Spain and--reportedly--not really playing). The Blue Note contingency and South African "struggle culture" music is important both microhistorically (within the context of the country) and macro (instrumental toward defining a major wing of European improvisation). Y'all know this as well/better than I, but it's something that bears repeating...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Blue Note contingency and South African "struggle culture" music is important both microhistorically (within the context of the country) and macro (instrumental toward defining a major wing of European improvisation). Y'all know this as well/better than I, but it's something that bears repeating...

Well put.

I haven't many examples of Ronnie Beer's playing, though from what I can tell, I like him and would like to hear more.

Myself, I'd like to hear more of the SA contingent outside of the BOB scene, that is, players who ran on their own. Sadly, without much access to the music produced in SA during the '60s that didn't make it far outside the country, it may be damn well impossible to get a clear picture of other strains.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are several indications that "freer" elements had quite a bit of cache in apartheid-era SA, although the larger contingent only followed a post-Coltrane modal vein (i.e., advanced playing but w/a fairly conventional harmonic/textural backdrop). I'd say, however, and many have positied, that SA musicians were generally more receptive to free jazz-level freedoms than most Americans. Anecdotes recount how cats like Chris Ngcukana ("Mra", after which the Pukwana tune is named) were playing something at the caliber of the Americans back in the early 60's, and even in a lot of the most conventional, "smooth" material, it's not unusual to hear the sax go apeshit (a big reason I like this music so much). As far as groups that stayed at home--there was another "Spirits Rejoice" (not Moholo's group) in the SA mid-late century, and there are even several recordings by a group called Abstractions playing in what sounds a lot like a McLaughlin/ECM vein. Stuff like this seems to have been common.

Now with exiles--Ntshoko ran on his own for a bit, and I think his contributions to sideman ops (like w/Joe McPhee on The Willisau Concert, with Dyani on Song for Biko and Waldron in a couple of cases) in more progressive areas have been extremely impressive. Lissack was pretty hard, too, and I think (for what it's worth) your earlier review was instrumental toward getting the DMG issue underway (or at least getting the talk boiling). Now for the Colbeck album...

Edited by ep1str0phy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea on Ntshoko; I'd be curious to hear the band he led for Enja, Makaya and the Tsotsis, at some point.

Hopefully the Lissack will draw some attention, despite the fact that re-playing a drum solo seemed to be a strange response to the original's sloppy editing (which, I admit, is hard to detect).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the right research funding is there, it might be worthwhile coming to the UK. Whilst none of the Blue Notes remain here (remember Moholo is back in SA, although he is over once a year - which happens to be at the moment, for about a month), there are a load of guys around who knew them and played with them - Evan, Harry Beckett, Lol Coxhill, Pete McPhail, Jason Yarde, Claude Deppa, Keith Tippett, Trevor Watts, etc. etc. etc.

Allen - could the group have been Dudu's 'Spear'? Dudu, Mongezi, Harry Miller, and Louis Moholo...Apparently, as you say, Dudu was a very nice guy - someone was saying he had a reputation as a serial 'sitter-in', and that it got a bit hard to turn him down, however appropriate/not he may have been to the situation..!

BTW - I like Ntshoko a lot on Scwheizer/Tchicai's 'Willi the Pig'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would suggest you contact Roswell Rudd, who knew those guys, including Chris McGregor, quite well (one of the pieces on a CD he did with me was dedicated to McGregor) - shoot me an email at alowe@maine.rr.com and I can get you his phone number -

it may very well have been that group; the passage of time has eroded any more specific memories, though I did have a very nice conversation with Pukwana and Feza -

Edited by AllenLowe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

re: clem--my thesis was nowhere near what I wanted it to be when it got turned in (a computer malfunction killed an entire chapter, forcing me to scrap the entire section on the Blue Notes--always back up your files). Anyhow, the Pukwana/Dyani photo above was frontpaged for a period. I'm trying for a program that may give me some additional avenues of research, so hopefully I can accomplish some cohesive scholarship on the Brotherhood/Blue Notes scene soon (the guys I've talked to have been really encouraging, and completely aware of the dearth of research on these guys, so things are looking positive).

As far as I can tell (someone please inform me), only two books have been written specifically about the Blue Note axis of improvisers: a book on Chris McGregor written by Maxine McGregor, and a book on Johnny Dyani, edited by Lars Rasumussen (I haven't read more than excerpts from either, but the Dyani book--alongside some other SA stuff--seems to be available here: http://www.booktrader.dk/books.html)... for an excerpt, again, from the Dyani book, check here: http://www.kultur-im-ghetto.de/Texte/WILSON-Text.pdf (from what I can gather, the book was sectional--so Wilson isn't the sole author).

As far as the genres mentioned/recordings: a lot of it has to do with the state of the recording industry in 20th century South Africa, which was, Boer dominated (and in a historically well-documented fashion), astonishingly inconducive to the recording and development of new styles. The governing forces/culture warriors (manifest in the national radio organiation, the SA Brodcasting Company) maintained that no more than colonialist niceties (for the Boers) or syncretic/synthetic tribalistic musics (for the Black Africans) were allowed to filter through the dominant commercial avenues. This meant that both those more radical idioms (for example, free improv or even, I understand, white "new" music) as well as self-constructed, supra-tribal/amalgamated genres were barred and brutalized in the fashion you'd imagine.

From what I can gather, the better part of historically resonant SA jazz was recorded in Africa, only that media machinations and uncongenial fiscal options have prevented most of that music from reaching anywhere overseas (much less the fellas back home). Certain albums, though, like the Abdullah Ibrahim stuff that has been reissued on Camden/Kaz, might testify to the fact that there was indeed some sort of guerilla SA recording scene operable in the peak years of unrest. What we tend to hear is the exiles' material, which is altogether tragic (but on a different, parallel wavelength).

And there is a genre called "boerpunk"--a sort of socially-conscious SA rock music that flourished among rebellious (predominantly) white youth in the later-20th century--but I'm not sure that too many of us will be able to hear that stuff in our lifetime(s) (for the reasons above).

For a good historical account (I have nothing to compare it to, really), I'd recommend Gwen Ansell's Soweto Blues. Also, The World of South African Music: A Reader by Christine Lucia seems to be available online--haven't read it, but will soon.

Red--I would love to hear Moholo^(n) live, but stateside trips are nonexistent. Maybe a trip is in order...

Mongezi Feza, despite the hushed tones and conspiratorial shadowboxing that seems to surround his death, will always be life to me. Throw on "Tunji's Song" from Live at Willisau or, in a much stranger way, Blue Notes for Mongezi, and you can hear the blood rush. It's beautiful stuff.

It seems to me much harder to find information of a general nature about South African music than almost any other African nation. So what you're doing Epi, is pretty hard.

I'm not sure what period you're talking about when you mention that the Boer domination of the recording industry was "astonishingly inconducive to the recording and development of new styles". Clearly, as with the music of other African countries, South African music (even jazz) focuses much more on politics than do Western types of music, and this helps to explain why so many South African musicians preferred exile; at least until the early 1990s when things changed.

Nonetheless, a lot of new South African music styles were developed in the townships. Of course there was a kinship to contemporary US music - Mbaqanga to R&B/Soul of the '50s/'60s; SA Jazz to the Hard Bop and Free movements and so on. Reggae also became very popular. All of these types of music had important political angles, none more so than Reggae. But they were all recorded. Much of this material was recorded by Gallo Records, which was established in the 1920s I think and is a major player in the SA market.

I'm attaching a link to a discography of Lucky Dube (who happens to be one of my favourite Reggae singers). http://www.luckydubemusic.com/discography.html

His recording career goes back to 1981, when he was making Mbaqanga recordings. He started making Reggae recordings in 1984, but also, in 1986, made a highly satirical Rap album in Afrikaans, taking the piss out of the Afrikaaners. As I said, I don't know what period you were talking about, but it seems to me that, in this period, the influence of Afrikaaners was as strong as ever, and yet Lucky Dube, not yet a star, was able to get away with recording the material he did. I do have a strong suspicion that the industry in SA, as elsewhere, put profit ahead of political correctness.

MG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He started making Reggae recordings in 1984, but also, in 1986, made a highly satirical Rap album in Afrikaans, taking the piss out of the Afrikaaners.

Wow - that's far out!

Yes, Gallo is a good label to hunt down for '60s SA music. I believe there was a Chris McGregor on Gallo that's pretty scarce. They also distributed those Dollar Brand LPs on Soultown, iirc. I've had a couple of those before.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He started making Reggae recordings in 1984, but also, in 1986, made a highly satirical Rap album in Afrikaans, taking the piss out of the Afrikaaners.

Wow - that's far out!

Yes, Gallo is a good label to hunt down for '60s SA music. I believe there was a Chris McGregor on Gallo that's pretty scarce. They also distributed those Dollar Brand LPs on Soultown, iirc. I've had a couple of those before.

I realize that this is largely a discussion of South African jazz developments after 1960, but in this thread, and also in the very interesting section in AAJ on "South African Jazz" there is very little mention of the jazz scene in the 1950's. I was there experiencing it. In particular very little is mentioned of two salient events in the late 1950's .. the visits of Tony Scott in 1957, and then Bud Shank in 1958. Both of these musicians recorded while in South Africa, and here again these recordings are never mentioned when trying to decide which was the "first" modern jazz reorded in that country. The Scott recordings (2 tracks) are found on TONY SCOTT IN AFRICA - Music of the World CD 12536; the Shank recordings (7 tracks) are found on BUD SHANK QUARTET - Fresh Sound FSR-CD 129.

These first time visits by famous American jazz artists had a very strong influence on local musicians, both black and white, not so much in terms of emulation of style, but as a strong of validation of their music. Both Americans also played to all racial groups, thus establishing the universality of the interest in jazz in the complex racial mix that exists in that country. It is a pity that the new political reality of the "Rainbow Nation" has relegated these two momentous occasions to the dustheap of history.

At age 17 I wrote an article that was published in Metronome Magazine about Tony Scott's visit. Here is an excerpt from Scott's official website discussing his visit to South Africa:

He left for a tour in South Africa, organized by manager David Katznelson, and even there reviews spoke about Blues for Charlie Parker performed during the two Cape Town concerts:

"...the highlight of both shows was definitely his 'Blues for Charlie Parker’. Played with intense emotion, this number conveyed to all, the tenderness and adoration Scott held for Parker." (Garth Jowett - Metronome)

"On the 19th of August, 1957, South Afrika had its first visit from an American jazz musician. The man who had the pleasure of ‘breaking the ice’ is poll-winner, clarinetist, Tony Scott, who has toured in all major cities " (Garth Jowett - Metronome)

The man who refused to play only for whites. (Drum Magazine-South Africa)

U.S.A. Agency USIS told Tony Scott they could not help him financially as he was into anti-apartheid territory with his ideas of integrated musicians and public. He decided to go in Africa without the support of USIS, and the tour, occurred during the apartheid era, had a sold-out hall and multi-racial audience; the first time that a concert was held for an integrated audience of Whites, Colored, Blacks, Indians, etc.

Tony Scott played at Johannesburg Jamieson Hall - Cape Town University, and Durban ABC Radio program Artist in Rythm. He was accompanied by Noel Stockton(p), Max Runge(p) (substituted by George Kassel), and Alan Heyes(dr), all white Afrikaans. On his way back through Johannesburg, he recorded for RCA with a groups of African musicians, amongst whom were the pennywhistles Alexander Dead End Kids and an African women’s vocal group. On his return to the U.S.A. in November 1957, the government demonstrated its appreciation for his work with a letter of congratulation :

"While you were visiting the different countries...you were able through the medium of music, to create among the musicians with whom you met, as well your audience, a feeling of friendship for our country I wish to commend you for the part you are taking in helping to establish a firm foundation for good among your fellow men." (Personal letter from Vice President Richard Nixon)

Edited by garthsj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nixon's name on the bottom takes a bit of the shine off that - but the letter was written by an official who knew what he was talking about and doubtless appreciated what Scott was up to.

I'm sure you're right about the importance of those visits.

MG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First--sorry, that was South African Broadcasting Corporation (a lot more sinister, no?), which was instituted in the 1930's and provided the dominant media outlet all throughout the apartheid years (and still today, although there's been some privatization among the airwaves). In reference to what you said, MG, the state apparati working with and along these lines were a large part of what forced people into exile and underground. Of course, new music flourished, but the tastemakers in the state offices weren't really doing much to help. The big change, I think (and as for the period I'm addressing in an unduly broad sense), was after the 1950's when the airwaves were divided into synthetic programming (a coule stations for whites, "special", constructed "tribalistic" programs for the different languages/groups). That's one half of a divide and conquer strategy; the second was escalation in the later 20th century (really bad after Sharpeville and worse still after the student riots in 1976, the nonviolent protests in the 80's...), which resulted in the physical and psychological brutalization of SA jazz musicians at home and abroad. It's a testament, I'd say (anyway), to the strength and resilience of the musicians in those later years that so much music and so many new idioms did get across. (And by certain accounts, the exiles didn't get off easy; there are anecdotes about the government working abroad, and--for example--even some talk about how they drugged up Mongezi Feza right before his double pneumonia. Fucked up, to put it lightly).

I'm honestly not hip to Dube, concentrating as I have been on a handful of musicians, but the SA Reggae movement is interesting to me. Again--and this is also why we need more scholars (infinitely more qualified than I am in numerous areas, as at least a couple of us here have listened and have lived it)--nothing to take away from the pre-60's, non-free school, but the Blue Notes's stuff is closer to the immediate experience of those whom I'd probably have access to in the modern improv access. Lord knows we'd do well to have scholarship on marabi, SA soul/R&B, kwela, the Sophiatown jazz scene, and the numerous other examples that inexplicably (save for the resilience of the musicians themselves) flourished in a colonialist environment--but like MG said, it's hard to find the proper information. We do what we can...

Edited by ep1str0phy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about John Mehegan's visit and recordings?

(To be found on the "Jazz in Africa Vol. 1 - The Jazz Epistles" disc on Kaz/Camden, which mentions only hte Epistles, but actually the disc consists of two sessions...)

That was in the 50s, too, wasn't it?

That photographer chap who participated in a (fiction) film a year or so ago might be another person to try and get in touch with. I think he's german (Schadeberg or something?) and he was around in the 50s, too. I don't have the disc here, but I sent a copy at least to Garth, a few years back, of a disc where he was somehow involved, too, called "South African Jazz & Jive". There's a tune or two on that where the Shank drummer from that visit in the 50s sits in with SA musicians. I'll have to look up his name.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about John Mehegan's visit and recordings?

(To be found on the "Jazz in Africa Vol. 1 - The Jazz Epistles" disc on Kaz/Camden, which mentions only hte Epistles, but actually the disc consists of two sessions...)

That was in the 50s, too, wasn't it?

That photographer chap who participated in a (fiction) film a year or so ago might be another person to try and get in touch with. I think he's german (Schadeberg or something?) and he was around in the 50s, too. I don't have the disc here, but I sent a copy at least to Garth, a few years back, of a disc where he was somehow involved, too, called "South African Jazz & Jive". There's a tune or two on that where the Shank drummer from that visit in the 50s sits in with SA musicians. I'll have to look up his name.

UBU ... The name of the drummer that acoompanied Bud Shank to South Africa was Jimmy Pratt. The rest of the quartet was Vlaude Williamson, p; and Don Prell, b. Unfortunately I can find no mention of him on any of the cuts from the "Jazz 'n Jive" CD ... there are no complete listings of the musicians. Howver the album does feature Kippie Moeketsi, the great pennywhistler Spokes Mashiyane, and the legendary, but ignored voice of Dorothy Masuka (who was a particular favorite of mine).

As you and I have discussed before the official discographies for these early South African recordings is very scanty ... too bad, as it would help to establish the real history of South African jazz. For one thing, I know that Gallo was recording jazz, both black and white as early as the 30's, but there is no way that I know of to track down these recordings. I wonder if anyone has ever had access to the Gallo Company's files, if they still exist? (As a practicing historian my mouth always waters at the thought of previously unaccessed files!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Garthsj--where were you situated in the 50's?

I was born in Cape Town in 1940 .... as a teenager heavily into the jazz world, I was involved in arranging jazz concerts at the Weizman Hall in the suburb of Sea Point, and also at other smaller venues. Occasionally these slipped over the apartheid barrier into mixed racial events (Cape Town was always more lax in these matters because of the large "colored" population), and eventually this landed me in a lot of trouble with the local authorities. After being detained at Caledon Square Police Headquarters, and threatened with corporal punishment by the South African police in 1958, I decided to leave South Africa for London. I have been back several times, but never to live there. I have considered going there to retire one day, as Cape Town is a very difficult place to get out of one's blood, but who knows .... ?

Also, I seldom see mention of the important role that "Dave's Jazz Club" played in developing the modern jazz scene in Cape Town. Admittedly most of them musicians who played there were white, but here too, this policy was not always adhered to. It was in that darkened upstairs room on Longmarket Street that musicians like Morris Goldberg, Cecil Ricca, Johnny Marshall, Nolan Ranger, George Kussell, Midge Pike, Merton Barrow, and many others honed their skills playing the jazz that they heard on the imported American LPs.

Mostly happy, but also some sad memories of what might have been in that beautiful, but tragic country ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.