Thursday 13 August 2009

Groove Brother with Imperfect Timing

Now here’s a special one-of-a-kind recording – its just that Groove Holmes caused a stir by breaking the cultural boycott against apartheid to come and tour and record with some very good South African musicians in the 1980s: Barney Rachabane, Johnny Fourie, Pops Mohammed included.

From the cover notes: “This is an unique album of Afro-American Jazz. It combines South African Mbaqanga with North American funk and the mixture seems as though the music has one foot in Soweto and the other in New York. But both feet are firmly planted and the roots dig deep down into the earth. .. The combination explodes on such tracks as “Mannenburg”, “Barney’s Groove”, and “Mr Magic”. Benny Golson’s classic, “Killer Joe” is updated with an Afro-funk rhythm that underpins a lunging alto solo, some straight ahead guitar and a Groove Holmes outing that has him riffing and sustaining notes against his own intricate bass lines.”

Richard "Groove" Holmes is revered by the world’s soul jazz afficionados, and especially by those (myself included) with a soft spot for the Hammond Organ. The Acid Jazz set was turning on to him big-time in the early nineties before his untimely death in 1991 at the age of 60.

Barney Rachabane has already featured on ElectricJive. A new and welcome entrant is South African guitarist Johnny Fourie – also sadly departed. Fourie recorded with the likes of Billy Cobham and Charles Earland in New York (1972), and was a long-time resident guitarist at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London. ElectricJivers will be further treated to Pops Mohammed in due course.

The LP on offer today does not seem to officially exist in the published Richard Groove Holmes discographies – another vinyl I can’t find reference to on the internet. No doubt, the furore created by Groove Holmes’ country-wide tour of South Africa in the early 1980s was not the stuff that made for international popularity. After all, Groove Holmes was known for opening a Malcolm X Los Angeles rally in 1963 with 45 minutes of Jazz organ.
This LP was released in 1988 quite some time after it was actually recorded. Produced by Rashid Vally. Enjoy!!

Killer Joe
Dark Clouds
Since You’ve Been Gone
Barney’s Groove
Mr Magic


  1. Exciting music, sad story behind it. And horrifying politics of both countries involved at the time. R.I.P Groove! I like both african Capetown Jive and I Love Hammond Jazz so I'm very grateful that You chose to announce Your post of this record over at My Jazz World. Thanx 4 sharing.

  2. Dollar Brand couldn't spell the name of the Cape Town ghetto, and here it was subjected to further spelling liberty. The correct spelling is, of course, Manenberg.

  3. Just found your site. Been looking for this album for years. Thanks!
    Two errors on side 2:
    Track 1 is 'Mr Magic'
    Track 3 is 'Since I fell for you' a somg by the great Buddy Johnson.


  4. Thanks Al for taking the trouble to comment. Interesting to note the errors you point out in the sleeve notes track listing.

  5. wow, Chris. thanks so much. another priceless jewel with some of my faves: Mr Groove and Pops Mohammad!

  6. Merci pour ce disque dont je n'ai appris l'existence que 3 minutes avant de le trouver ici ! Sitôt dit, sitôt fait !
    Merci et respect.
    Free Funky Fred From France

  7. Thanks Sanifu for stopping by. wishing you and Aljoni Music well!


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