Saturday, 27 February 2010

South Africa's Jazz Ministers Continued

Despite its 1984 date, this accessible, swinging, trumpet-driven African Jazz has a seventies urban South Africa feel. A follow-up to an earlier ElectricJive post, Nomvula’s Dance, herewith another offering from the Jazz Ministers.

This recording is a great example of how a cluster of good musicians continued to excel after the death of their leading light. Jazz Ministers founder Victor Ndlazilwana died in 1978. Trumpeter, and tireless teacher of jazz, Johnny Mekoa took over leadership of the Jazz Ministers and produced this gem.

The Jazz Ministers were the first African jazz band to perform at the Newport Jazz Festival in New York.

Mediafire here
Rapidshare here

Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Sound that Stood the Test of Time

A very special LP is shared with you today, one that has stood the test of time - much like the Castle Lager beer slogan. It features some of the last recordings made by Chris McGregor in South Africa before departing for exile. Soon after the festival McGregor put together a prize winners band that recorded the LP Jazz: The African Sound. Try inconstant sol for more details The annual festivals - of which performances from the 1962 and 1964 concerts have been issued on record - were sponsored by Castle Lager, keen to win more customers and leveraging the link between beer, drinking, shebeens and jazz. The 1962 concert and this LP collects many of the top jazz bands of the day. Whilst many of the performances are middle of the road jazz covers it is the tracks by Chris McGregor and Eric Nomvete (featuring Dick Khoza on drums) that stand out. In 1964 Castle cancelled any future festivals apparently due to gang rivalry and the inability of the organisers to guarantee the safety of the crowds.

1. When the Saints Come Marching In - The Chris McGregor Septet
2. Blues Story - The Chris McGregor Septet
3. I Like That - The Chris McGregor Septet
4. Let The Good Times Roll - Ben Masinga
5. This Can't Be Love - The Woody Woodpeckers
6. A Baptist Beat - The Jazz Giants
7. Kentucky Oysters - The Jazz Dazzlers
8. I Got Rhythm - Ben Masinga
9. String of Pearls - The Woody Woodpeckers
10. What is There to Say? - The Jazz Ambassadors
11. Pondo Blues - Eric Nomvete's Big Five


Monday, 15 February 2010

Global Grooves on SA Radio and streaming

Its great to see growing South African horizons and interest in music from around the world. Another streaming and radio destination worth noting - especially for Cape Town readers, but also for curious web-streaming listeners. From Fine Music Radio (FMR 101.3) in Cape Town, this monthly programme brings you an eclectic mix of music from around the world presented by Chris Wildman and compiled by Paul Whelan.

"We dont want to pigeonhole the music we attempt to cover, but here are some broad categories: modern sounds from Africa, vintage recordings from around world especially West and Central Africa and Ethiopia, global fusion, Central Asian music, Americana, British folk revival from its roots to its current flowerings, Scandinavian folk."

The programme airs this month on the 17th February, 22h00 to 24h00 South African time, FM 101.3 in the Cape Town area. You can live stream it anywhere from: here (
"Other presenters spin music from around the world in same time slot on Wednesdays".

As concerns ElectricJive - some long lost cold castle jazz brewing up very soon.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Lost Letta

EJ readers have been asking us to try and find the lost Letta Mbulu LP. After an extensive search we are pretty certain that copies of the LP have not been circulated in collectors circles. In all likelihood its still sitting in a tape box in New York City. The album in question is known as "Mosadi" or "I'll Never Be the Same" and according to the authoritative Doug Payne discography it contains the following tracks:

Uyaz Gabisa
Because of You
Now We May Begin
I'll Never Be The Same
We've Got To Learn To Love

It just so happens that the first four tracks on this LP were also issued on a compilation entitled Africa 68 on the UNI LABEL. We are not sure if the songs were re-recorded for the lost Letta Mbulu album. In any case here is the full Africa 68 compilation for your listening pleasure. BBE did a great job a few years back of delving into the Chisa archives and uncovering a number of gems that had only appeared on 45 or were sitting - like this Letta LP - unreleased. This release is well worth checking out and is still in print and available from BBE Records.