Monday 13 February 2012

Song of Soweto: The Mallory Hall Band (1974)

Two more tight and enticing offerings this week from the twelve-piece band of U.S. jazz musicians that backed Lovelace Watkins on his extended stay in southern Africa during 1974. This time guitarist Charles Mallory and trombonist Al Hall jnr come to the fore with excellent compositions that reflect their time on the sub-continent.

Al Hall in Cape Town - 1974
UPDATE: Since commenting on this post below, Al Hall has been in regular contact with Electric Jive. Al has been trying to get hold of the original master tapes of these recordings from Gallo (IRC/Teal originally owned these, but Gallo would own them now) - but he has had no joy from the company. To hear a recent interview with Al Hall, during which he talks about his music, and his time and recordings in South Africa, and the African roots within jazz, visit the Jake Feinberg show HERE and download the MP3 recording (right click and "save as").

A friend of Charles Mallory (Sharon Hall), and Charles' brother Richard have written to EJ to inform us that Charles passed on in February 2012. See a letter from Richard below in the comments section.
L to R: Tommy Cab Cortez, Pearl Ukumane, Delbert Hill,
Julius Billy Brooks, Sanifu Al Hall, Jr; Ray Nkwe (pic supplied by Sanifu Al Hall Jnr

If you have not had chance to connect with Kirk Lightsey and Rudolph Johnson’s “Habiba”, and Monk Montgomery’s live set in Soweto – do yourself a favour - here and here. These four recordings should really be enjoyed as one volume expressing a growing and shared experience which results in a funky soul-jazz interpretation of southern Africa at the time. Johnny Boshoff very ably again steps in for a contractually tied Monk Montgomery on bass.

Despite an impressive list of credits, this particular Charles Mallory is surprisingly scarce on the internet. He appears along with Herman Riley on a 1968 “Big Black” album with Caiphus Semenya ; and then on a 1973 funk-soul offering: “Hodges, James and Smith – Incredible”.

 The record sleeve credits Mallory as having been musical director of Martha and the Vandellas, two years as guitarist for Diana Ross, and as guitarist and conductor for Dusty Springfield’s band for a similar period. Other credits include playing for Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder Tuijuana Brass, John Lee Hooker, O.C. Smith, and so the list goes on. On these sessions he treats us with five sensitive and strong funky soul-jazz compositions. I would love to know what became of him.

Al Hall jnr already showed us what he could produce with his great “Blues for Nkwe” track on the Monk Montgomery live offering. Hall went on to arrange, conduct and lead Johnny Hammond’s 1977 jazz-funk offering “StormWarning: on Milestone Records. Hall’s writing, arranging and playing pedigree can be checked out here.

The two albums being showcased this week (the second one will come through in a few days) are surprisingly rare, and should really be better known. The tracks were recorded over three days from 7th to 10th December 1974 at the Video Sound studios in Blairgowrie, Johannesburg.
Recorded by Nino Rivera and John Lindemann.
Re-mixed by Johnny Boshoff and Nino Rivera.
Cover Art from original paiting by Eli Kobeli.
Marshall Royal (Alto sax and flute)
Herman Riley (Tenor Sax and flute)
Kirk Lightsey (Keyboard);
Rudolph Johnson (Tenor Sax / Flute);
Johnny Boshoff (Bass - and Congas over-dubbed on Hamba Samba);
Curtis Kirk (Drums);
Charles Mallory (Guitar);
All Hall jnr. (Trombone);
Delbert Hill (Clarinet);
Danny Cortez (Trumpet).
Tommy 'Cab' Cortez (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
George 'Buster' Cooper (Trombone)

1. Song of Soweto (9.24) - Mallory
2. Hamba Samba (9.34) - Hall
3. Cape Town Blues (9.11) - Hall
4. Moroka Rock (4.34) - Hall
5. The African Night (8.10) Mallory

Rapidshare here
Mediafire here


  1. Thank you for the great vibes and all the hard blog work - its really appreciated even though we don't often get to comment.

    Mediafire link is for different record...I assume its - (the second one will come through in a few days)???

    Henri Worthington

  2. Good to hear from again Henri, and thanks for the words of appreciation. You are spot on - the next post has just gone up and contains the other record. I mixed up the links by mistake :-)

  3. Thank you so much for this excellent post. I was elated to have found it. I had the pleasure of being a part of these sessions. My copies of them are either lost or packed away.Hopefully, I can locate them and post some of the tracks on Youtube. I tried contacting Gallo and IRC(TEAL) several times over the years to attempt to purchase the masters for release via my USA based production co.; but, no luck. Sadly, they seem to be lost to time. Keep up the good work; wishing you success as you go.......Sanifu Al Hall, Jr.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Chris, one important--and omitted-- personnel credit should be mentioned here; Johnny Boshoff added(via overdub)the outstanding Congas track on Hamba Samba.

  6. Thank you for adding the update here Chris.As for the 'masters' you sited; I'd like to add that some were also originally owned, as you know, by Teal/IRC.......still seeking the whereabouts of them--all

  7. Hi there,

    I was so happy to have found this post. My name is Sharon and had been great friends with Charles Mallory for about 7 years since he came to Phoenix AZ in 2005. Sadly, he passed away this Feb.(by the tennis court). I have never heard him play but heard so much about his music and people he played with as well as his South African tour. I would love to hear from some of his music people and chat. Thanks.

  8. Email to contact Sharon:

  9. This comment was mailed to me on 20th September 2012 by Charles Mallory's brother, Richard:

    Dear Chris,
    I was directed to your site by friends who thought I might be able to help you. You had asked for information about Charles Mallory; maybe I can help. Here,s what I know. His entire life was devoted to the arts. As an adolescent he was a talented painter and sculptor. I,m sure that if his heart had taken him in this direction he would have been outstanding.
    Charles found music at the age 0f 14 or 15 and it quickly became his first love. Besides being a gifted guitarist, he loved to write and arrange music. Through the 70,s 80,s and early 90,s his love for music took him all over the world.
    It seems to me that somewhere in the early 90,s the allure to perform and travel no longer excited him. On occasion he would still perform at some venue in the Los Angeles area which is where he lived up until approximately 2001 when he made a move to Phoenix Arizona which is where he died in January of this year at the tender age of 67. He was working on a book at the time of his death which unfortunately was never completed. I didn't mention that he was also a talented writer.
    So Chris, this is what became of Charles Mallory, who will be loved and missed by all who we're fortunate enough to have known him. I hope that I have been helpful. if there,s any information I can give you I would be glad to do so. Sincerely Richard Mallory

  10. Thank you for sharing that Richard. We ( Charles & I) made good music and a solid friendship at that time; afterwards , we lost contact. I often think of him.

  11. My good friends Charles Mallory and AL Hall, contact me....

  12. Still seeking any information on the master tapes of these sessions. I would be thankful for any help in that regard. Thanks.


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