|Chris Schilder aka Ebrahim Kalil Shihab at the Zambezi Restaurant, |
Hanover Street, District Six, 1965. Picture by Ian Bruce Huntley
|Ian Bruce Huntley in 1967|
My recent spare time has been focussed on organising and digitising and backing up recordings very few people knew existed. Acutely aware of my own deficits in jazz and musical knowledge I am just excited to keep learning further, and to be able to start sharing this important heritage more widely.
|Tete Mbambisa and Psych Big T Ntsele|
Pic by Ian Bruce Huntley
While many Africans were charting new paths and identities, there was a diverse group of Cape Town-based South African jazz musicians improvising in finding their own meaning and inspiration, listening intently to the likes of Coltrane, Davis, Monk, Mingus, Blakey and a host of other bop musicians.
Robin D.G. Kelley sums the period up well in his recent book: “Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times” -: “African musicians did not exist to bring something ancient to African American modernism; rather, they were both creating modern music, drawing on the entire diaspora as well as the world, to do so. Indeed, perhaps with the growth of trans-Atlantic collaborations and dissemination of culture, we can no longer speak so confidently about jazz as an American art form, or render African Jazz musicians outside the pale of the music’s history. And we certainly need to go beyond listening to non-American artists for ways they incorporate “their culture” into jazz – whether we’re talking about South African or Israeli jazz musicians. Jazz reveals that, even in the search for tradition, its chains do not always bind us, and the most powerful map of the New World is in the imagination.
|Kippie Moeketsi, Victor Ntoni and Dani Ndlovu - Langa Community Centre 1971|
Picture by Ian Bruce Huntley
|Ronnie Beer and Tete Mbambisa|
Pic: Ian Bruce Huntley
|Martin Ngijima. Pic by Ian Bruce Huntley|
The final track I share with you today is of Chris McGregor and the Blue Notes playing Mingus’ Boogie Stop Shuffle at Wits University on 22nd March 1963. The recording was made by Professor John Blacking. Ian just happened to transcribe this rarity onto reel-to-reel. The band: Chris McGregor (Piano); Elijah Nkwanyana - trumpet (and also a little baritone sax); Dudu Pukwana – (alto saxophone); Martin Ngijima (bass); we are not certain of the drummer, but believe it to be Early Mabuza. The tape of the full concert will become available in due course.