Friday, 4 May 2012

Hidden Winston Mankunku Ngozi gem found


Something unusually special today. This 1965 recording is of a live performance at the Stables in Loop Street, Cape Town. It is previously unpublished and gives a unique and surprising peep into the live Cape Town jazz scene at the time.

Recordings of saxophone legend Winston Mankunku Ngozi are few and far between.  In today's posting, lasting a little over half an hour, the twenty-two-year-old Mankunku makes magic with Dave Galloway on organ,  Midge Pike on bass and Selwyn Lissack on drums. Think Jimmy Smith in a bop fusion spiced up with Mankunku’s own special flavouring.

Selwyn Lissack went on to become a renowned, but somewhat mysterious international free jazz drummer, who made two recordings and then stopped recording and branched off into a collaborative artistic relationship with Salvador Dali. In 2006 Lissack re-mastered and re-issued his two recordings, and was listed by Thurston Moore as amongst his "Top Ten from the Free Jazz underground".  Read more about Lissack here.

Midge Pike (1967)
Picture by Ian Bruce Huntley
Mankunku would often acknowledge bass player Midge Pike in the same breath as mentioning John Coltrane as being key in shaping his music. In writing the liner notes for Mankunku's Yakhal' Inkomo, Ray Nkwe describes Midge Pike as "South Africa's greatest bassist". Nkwe goes on to quote Mankunku as saying: "Midge was really the man behind my success. He really helped me a lot, I take my hat off to him." Midge left South Africa for the United States in 1973 where he continued to compose and play. He died in September 2008.

Dave Galloway was (is?) a professional musician who played trombone for the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra at the time. He was last heard of as working in Vryheid as a music educator for the provincial education department.

There are five tracks in today's share - any help in identifying them would be greatly appreciated. So far, we have:
1. "Taps Miller" (Buck Clayton)
2.?
3. "A Taste of Honey" (Bobby Scott / Ric Marlow)
4. "Well You Needn't" (Thelonius Monk).
5. "How High The Moon" (Hamilton/Lewis)

(Thanks Bob and Howard for your input)

We hope in the coming months to be able to bring you a few more Cape Town jazz gems like this one. We are working on that possibility, so please understand if we cannot say more right now. Tony McGregor does a great job in painting a picture of Mankunku and the sixties Cape Town jazz scene here.
If you have not yet heard Mankunku's recording with the Cliffs, do have a look at this 2009 electric jive posting. And futher posts available here and here.
Rapidshare here
Mediafire here

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this special treat,Chris.I recently came across the Friendship Next Of Kin on the Goody label,but was already tied down with other records,and a bit free for my liking.But I might just retrace my steps and see if it is still around.Lissack certainly has an interesting biography. Cheers Koos

Chris Albertyn said...

Great to hear from you Koos. I read that the original recording was not good sound-wise, but that the 2006 re-master addresses that.

Siemon Allen said...

Nice one, Chris!

Howard Barnum said...

Chris, thanks for this fantastic recording, which I'm enjoying greatly. Not only a historical document, but with music of timeless interest. The fifth track (following Well You Needn't) is a rather uptempo How High the Moon. The first is quite familiar but the name doesn't come to mind.

I'm just getting into South African jazz following a month in the Cape---I'll be looking in much more depth at your site. Thanks again!

Chris Albertyn said...

Thanks Howard for the note and additional track title- can anyone else help complete the picture?

Bob Davenport said...

And isn't the third item - now I've got that far - a rather elliptical version of 'A Taste of Honey'?

Chris Albertyn said...

Thanks Bob - lets put that in, and if anyone thinks otherwise, we take it from there

Bob Davenport said...

My previous comment seems to have got lost in cyberspace: the first item is a Basie-band number (by Buck Clayton) called 'Taps Miller'.

Mpumi Bikitsha said...

Hey guys, even if I've just accidentally bumped against this site today, 10th Feb 2013, almost 8 months after these postings, I'm thrilled and grateful. My interest has been kindled by a tribute to the late Victor Ntoni by former President Thabo Mbeki. He mentioned all these big jazz giants that we've lost and among them was Mankunku Ngozi. His tribute set me thinking about all these guys that I literally grew up with in Langa, Cape Town. I then set out to google 'Cups and Saucers' Nkanuka, a great musician. We lived in the same street, Sigcawu Avenue nest door to Bhuti Fatayi Hoho. I don't remember him as a musician but all the touring jazz groups that came to Cape Town those years like Havanna Swingsters and Elite Swingsters used to jam at his house. The thing that I lament a lot is that we Blacks did not write about these icons to keep their legacy alive in our societies. I can fill more than a page with their names as I remember them. A book is waiting to be written about these folks.By me. Thanks Chris Albertyn. Thanks so much.

Chris Albertyn said...

Thanks for the kind words Mpumi. It is wonderful to hear your recollections .. yes, please do write! On our side we are planning a small self-published book that presents 100 of Ian's best photos, and also lists all seventy hours of the music he recorded. From this we are hoping to stimulate more people to appreciate and document this amazing part of our heritage. If you have not yet found the Cups and saucers post - here is the link: http://electricjive.blogspot.com/2012/10/mankunku-with-cups-and-saucers-nkanuka.html
Best wishes to you

Peter said...

This fills a big gap. Thanks a lot Chris.

nikki pike said...

Hi Chris,

Midge Pike was my (absolutely WONDERFUL) husband--we were together for 35 years.

I'd love to get a digi-copy of the album but it says "sold out."

If anyone can who reads your blog knows how I can get it & any others, please let me know.

Best regards,
Nikki Pike

Chris Albertyn said...

Hello NIKKI - thank you so much for making contact. I would be very happy to post you a full archive of all Midge's recordings that Ian made - and there are many many hours. The process of producing the book prompted many of Midge's old friends from the time asking for news of Midge. It was with sadness that I had to tell that I could learn from the internet of his 2008 passing. Please do contact me at recordforthe AT gmail.com
Chris Albertyn