|Morris Goldberg, Chris Schilder and Midge Pike at the Art Centre, Cape Town (1966). |
Pic by Ian Bruce Huntley
Best wishes to you from us here at Electric Jive for 2013. Before sharing another previously unheard gem from the Ian Bruce Huntley jazz archive, an update on Electric Jive for the year ahead.
When comparing burn-out symptoms at the end of 2012, the four of us who run this blog agreed that something had to change. In addition to our own working lives we have other voluntary projects besides Electric Jive that we are also committed to. So, we plan to slow down and publish less frequently this year. We are also more likely to mix up the post format, length, and content. Each contributor will have a two-week slot in which at least one post will be shared. Sometimes we may post more often within that two-week slot than in other times. All of us are committed to keeping this blog going for as long as our energies enable us to.
We kick of this year with an eighth instalment from the Ian Huntley Jazz archive. Ian has often pointed out to me that ‘free jazz’ was a lot more popular amongst South Africa’s 1960s jazz musicians than we realise.
My friend Max Annas reckons that much of the written history of jazz in South Africa has been shaped largely by the evidence of relatively few studio recordings. He agrees with Ian in pointing out that the narrative of jazz history in South Africa has little to say of the enthusiastic embrace by important musicians of the Free Jazz movement.
There is still quite a bit of ‘free jazz’ to share from Ian’s archive, including a number of private sessions of “Experiments in Selwyn’s Garage”, with Winston Mankunku Ngozi and Chris Schilder mixing their own musical chemistry. There are also a number of sessions at the Art Centre in particular which are most certainly ‘free’ in character. Perhaps Cape Town audiences were more receptive and just as enthusiastic in wanting to break with convention at that time?
Today’s session was recorded at The Art Centre on 20th August 1966. While a bop idiom provides lyrical foundation, and there is a meter that keeps the likes of me interested, huge spaces are created for the musicians to express their own voice in the moment. The opening track “Free Thing” features fairly frequently on Ian’s tapes. The second track “Ole” is the Coltrane composition that featured on the introductory post to this archive. The outstanding third track “Poor” was previously unknown to me and showcases Mankunku and Goldberg taking their instruments to new places. Does anyone recognise "Poor"? Can you tell us more about it?
In addition to having Morris Goldberg and Winston Mankunku Ngozi to hand on saxophones, there is a double-up in having Midge Pike and Philly Schilder on double-bass. Chris Schilder’s brilliance shines through on piano, while Selwyn Lissack's drumming is clearly happy ‘out there’ in the experiment.
Please – if any of you has anything you could add by way of information or have a reaction to this music, we would very much welcome a few words in the comments section below.
Mankunku and Goldberg Go Free in Cape Town
If you have not yet listened to the earlier postings from Ian’s archive, you can find them here:
7. Kippie Moeketsi: The album he never made