Monday 12 November 2012

Chris McGregor Quintet: Live in Geneva (1965)

Following their European debut at the Antibes Jazz Festival in July 1964, the Blue Notes took up club residencies in Geneva and Zurich, before heading for London in April 1965.

The ever intrepid Ian Bruce Huntley made the recording we share here today straight off a radio broadcast. The date of the original recording is not known, but it was probably in the early part of 1965, after Nick Moyake had returned to South Africa, and just ahead of their residency at Ronnie Scott’s Club in London.

In trying to understand why the band was called the Chris Mcgregor Quintet in this recording – when four of the seven compositions are from the pen of Dudu Pukwana – I came across an interview that jazz journalist Olivier Ledure did with Louis Moholo-Moholo in 2010, originally published in the French magazine ImproJazz. In referring to Chris McGregor, Moholo-Moholo says the following:

The quintet: Zurich 1964/5
“Ah, sweet heart! He died for South Africa. He was one of the white guys who really died for it. Such a darling, such a friend! He was not our band leader, but the western people made him such because they could identify with him. There were a lot of reporters that would come to us, as if they were reporters, but they really were Special Branch. There were people sent to come and interrogate us. They’d come to us to see how we spoke about South Africa: those white guys gave us liquor and make us talk about South Africa. In the end, they came to see and interrogate our mothers. We were so afraid to talk to these people. So, of course, we’d use Chris McGregor to get gigs: he could relate to white people. You see! It is like getting a woman to do things, they will always get it! (laugh) That kind of scene, you know. I’m sure, I’m sure. Even the world is like this!
Chris McGregor could identify with these people, so we could get gigs through Chris. He was such a big composer as well, I rate him to be like Duke Ellington, to be Count Basie.”

The Youtube clip below has excerpts of the Blue Notes playing at the Antibes Jazz Festival in 1964

Chris McGregor Quintet
Recorded live at the Blue Note Jazz Club, Geneva.
1.     Vortex Special – Chris McGregor
2.     Monk’s Blues – Dudu Pukwana
3.     Blessing Light – Dudu Pukwana
4.     Like You did Yesterday – Dudu Pukwana
5.     Monde – Chris McGregor
6.     Teb’s Delight – Dudu Pukwana
7.     Now – Chris McGregor

Rapidshare here
Mediafire here


  1. Another fantastic piece of documenting the Blue Notes music. The first time I can hear the Blue Notes in Switzerland.
    Thanks for Chris to make us discover Ian's invaluable tapes.

  2. Wow! You keep raising the bar for awesome - thank you very much Chris and Ian for your fantastic work. Cheers, MB

  3. Thank you - much appreciated - Fred21

  4. Great! A big thanks for this gig and for the interesting Moholo interview.

  5. Just when I think I have no more breath to give, you take it away all over again. Thank you Chris.

  6. Great stuff! Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. this is great, thanks for sharing. Keep the Blue Note stuff coming!

  8. Great to see the Mediafire link still alive May 2015.
    Fantastic, and thanks.

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