Jazz great Winston Mankunku has died in Cape Town. The masthead photo of ElectricJive (above) features Mankunku centre-stage on his soprano saxophone playing at the Langa Town Hall in 1972. It was taken by Ian Huntley, a long-time friend and supporter of this great musician.
John Coltrane was Mankunku's greatest source of inspiration and his respect and admiration for "Trane" endured throughout his career. Ian Huntley recalls many car journeys with Mankunku in the backseat where he would play multiple ongoing looping variations of "My favourite things" as they drove to and from gigs. We in KZN were blessed in the 1980s to witness his special talents when he gigged at the Rainbow in Pinetown and at Eddels in Pietermaritzburg - on the same day!
In 1968 Mankunku recorded the famous Yakhal'Nkomo album together with Early Mabuza, Agrippa Magwaza and Lionel Pillay. Although he received the Castle Lager "Jazz Musician of the Year" in the same year, and despite the fact that the album sold well, Mankunku received little of the royalties.
In celebration of this great musician's contribution to enriching all of our lives, we share this rare and funky 1975 recording of Mankunku with The Cliffs - Alex Express.
Hamba Kahle Baba!
1. Alex Express
2. Over the Cliff