Long term readers of EJ contributor Matt’s pioneering Matsuli Music blog might recall a post from 2009 which showcased two jazz collections issued on Robin Taylor’s Satbel label in the late 1970s, Super Jazz vols. 1 and 2 (here). Stand out tracks on these collections are the two contributions by legendary guitarist Allen Kwela, ‘Black Beauty’ and ‘Quaphela’. Both titles were lifted by Satbel from the LP Black Beauty, a record originally issued on the Satbel subsidiary label Soweto, and it is this LP we share today.
Durban born but Johannesburg based for most of his life and career, the felicitously named Allen Kwela (1939-2003) was one of the pioneers of modern jazz guitar in South Africa, and played a formative role in the development of kwela through his productive early association with Spokes Mashiyane. Kwela never enjoyed the success found by his one-time band mate, and recordings by him are scarce. His 1973 LP Allen’s Soul Bag is can be found here, along with some links to biographical information (see also here). Black Beauty is a further addition to the slim discography. The LP sleeve gives no detailed information on the personnel, with the exception of one name whose presence provides a further reason to treasure this music: gracing the session on alto, Kippie Moeketsi.
edit: herewith larger scan of the back cover