Monday 3 October 2011

Allen Kwela - Black Beauty

Long term readers of EJ contributor Matt’s pioneering Matsuli Music blog might recall a post from 2009 which showcased two jazz collections issued on Robin Taylor’s Satbel label in the late 1970s, Super Jazz vols. 1 and 2 (here). Stand out tracks on these collections are the two contributions by legendary guitarist Allen Kwela, ‘Black Beauty’ and ‘Quaphela’. Both titles were lifted by Satbel from the LP Black Beauty, a record originally issued on the Satbel subsidiary label Soweto, and it is this LP we share today.

Durban born but Johannesburg based for most of his life and career, the felicitously named Allen Kwela (1939-2003) was one of the pioneers of modern jazz guitar in South Africa, and played a formative role in the development of kwela through his productive early association with Spokes Mashiyane. Kwela never enjoyed the success found by his one-time band mate, and recordings by him are scarce. His 1973 LP Allen’s Soul Bag is can be found here, along with some links to biographical information (see also here). Black Beauty is a further addition to the slim discography. The LP sleeve gives no detailed information on the personnel, with the exception of one name whose presence provides a further reason to treasure this music: gracing the session on alto, Kippie Moeketsi.

edit: herewith larger scan of the back cover



  1. Thank you so much, Francis. Any occasion to enjoy some previously unheard Kippie is a treasure indeed. His breezy playing on this session is so dreamy and joyful. The trill he plays during his solo on Quaphela made my heart stop. I am grateful to have this.

  2. Hi, this is really a great blog with lots of wonderful material that would remain unheard otherwise. Just one question: Could you please scan the back side of the Black Beauty cover with a higher resolution so that it becomes readable?

    Thanks again...

  3. great post,really refreshing,btw from which year is this wonderful album?cheers!

  4. Wolfgang - yes sure, not sure why that isn't working

    anonymous - I don't actually know the date, it isn't given anywhere on the disc or sleeve, but I would guess around 75/76, judging by the inclusion of tracks on the Super Jazz LPs

  5. Scans for back info would be great! or fix the link in the thumbnail please!
    Thanks for this afro-jazzy-soul wonderful!

  6. What a revelation.I have been looking for Black Beauty for ages.Well done Electric Jive.Any chance of a download or purchase please?

  7. Click on the "MF" letters highlighted at the end of the post...this should lead you towards a download

  8. Hi Matt,
    Thanks for the share!
    Do you know someone who got a vinyl copy of this LP to sell or trade?
    I'm looking for a copy for ages but never manage to find one...
    Let me know!! Thanks!!

  9. My God, what a killer album. You're work is extraordinary.... And I'm not sure if that word give full justice either.

  10. Thanks so much for this super-rarity. And, oh, yeah, EdEddEddie sent me here!

  11. A wonderful album.
    Thank you so much for giving us the chance to hear it.

    Btw. I think the mix you did a few years ago for Jazzman radio is the best thing that has ever been on there.

  12. Once again, I'm listening to this album on repeat. Therefore, I have to send another "Thank you" for this great share, and for your amazing work


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