Wednesday 23 September 2009

South Africa’s Soul Giants – 1968: I Remember Nick

A classic and rare Afro-soul Jazz gem that must be heard. This was recorded in the days when band members such as Barney Rachabane and Dennis Mpale were considered ‘youngsters’. On the record sleeve notes they recall being ‘amateurs’ when they met the great saxophonists Nick Moyake (to whom this LP is dedicated), and Kippie Moeketsi.

Mongezi Velelo (Bass) was a founding band member of the legendary Blue Notes in 1963 (first called the Castle Lager Jazz Band), but stayed on in South Africa when Chris McGregor and others left. Shakes Mgudlwa (piano) the band’s main composer, died in Swaziland in 1971.

Gwen Ansell (Soweto Blues) places this album “in the tradition of intellectually challenging bebop-styled music begun by the Jazz Epistles.” Soul Jazz of the late 60s was a powerful point of identification for black South Africans with the blossoming civil rights and black power agendas in the United States. While LPs like this one were really precious artefacts that were reverently circulated and looked after in the townships, so too were Jazz imports such as the Jazz Crusaders, Modern Jazz Quartet, Miles Davis, Jimmy McGriff – just to list a few recently dug up in Mamelodi, Pretoria – but perhaps more about that in another post.

Producer Ray Nkwe is absolutely right when saying that those who hear this album will want more. He assures the fans that this first record was just the beginning of the Soul Giants and that there were “more groovy things to come”. It seems – please someone tell us we are wrong – that this was the only issue from the Soul Giants.
Mediafire here


  1. Cover already tells me it's going to be epic.

  2. I believed to know much about the south african jazz...but visiting daily your blog (THANK YOU)now I know that there is a world still to discover for me.
    Great record, dedicated to a great, Nick Moyakele "a fountain of love" like Louis Moholo once said.
    fine barney work and in the track "I rember Nick" seems to heard the Mongs voice in the Mpale solo. But my favourite is "Pinese dance".

  3. Wonderful album and thanks for the link which actually I'm battling to get to work.
    Just a small note - the Blue Notes and the Castle Lager Big Band were two different outfilts entirely. The latter was a short-lived big band that only lasted about two weeks, while the Blue Notes were a sextet, later quintet, taht lasted quite a few years, both in South Africa and in Europe.
    Thanks again

  4. Great album, definitely 'required listening' for any SA Jazz fundi! Wondering if anybody knows the composers of these tunes?

  5. Deleted....Can you please re-up it? Thx...

  6. Hi Anonymous - I have just tested both links you reported - and they are both working ... however, as from 19th August they will be less friendly as EJ is not renewing its rapidshare account ... when I get some time I will provide mediafire links to this


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