Friday 28 March 2014

The Huntley Archive Goes Live on Electric Jive

Finally - we have arrived at the point where it is possible for Electric Jive to make Ian Bruce Huntley's recordings and photographs available online. To enter the Huntley Archive  click on the image of the "Keeping Time" book in the right-hand column of this blog.

We are hoping to continue building and adding to the Huntley Archive on Electric Jive. There are many more of Ian's photos that were not included in the book which, over time, we will digitise and share. 

Also, thanks to Rosemary Lombard's eye for detail, Ian has uncovered two more tapes that will be digitised in due course - Tape 42 and Tape 44. For now, you can download just over 56 hours of these historic recordings, you can browse the photos, read reviews of the book, buy the book, and also download a PDF of the book itself. There is place for interaction, comments and contributions from visitors to the site. You can also have archival quality signed copies of the pictures printed and posted to you. Proceeds will go the the Ian Bruce Huntley Trust Fund.

This project has been a collaborative effort of what I like to think of as an ensemble or band of passionate and creative people who together wanted to do something that could not be achieved alone. Ian Huntley as the conductor has always reminded us that none of this would have been possible if it were not for the exceptional dedication and persistence of the musicians themselves. Ian's engagement in this adventure has always been a labour of love, and he is eternally grateful that his musical friends permitted him to photograph and record their music.
Two years ago a non-profit public-good archiving agreement was signed with Ian, undertaking to process and document his archive, to make it accessible on the blog, and to produce a book. The agreement describes our purpose as being “to honour the musicians and their music, to promote the recognition that they are due, and to stimulate wider public interest in and appreciation of this heritage. We do not seek profit or commercial gain in making these recordings available.”
The production of "Keeping Time" and the Huntley Archive on Electric Jive would not have been possible if it were not for the many hours and dedicated contributions of the following good friends - thank you all!

Siemon Allen - wizard of visual conception, design, layout, image colour correction and final cropping, chief whip of verification, index and detail;
Jonathan Eato - author, South African Jazz aficionado, networker supreme, additional identifier of musicians photographed, indexer, namer of unidentified tracks, chief producer of enthusiasm;
Cedric Nunn - photo editor, long hours at the computer restoring digital scans of aged, scratched and mouldy images to their former glory;
Matt Temple - always available with insightful design and production suggestions, proof-reading and feed-back;
Rosemary Lombard - foundation design and technical set-up of the Huntley Archive pages. In photographing Ian's tapes and notes, it was Rose that said, "hang-on - there seems to be a tape that has not yet been digitised."
Ilan Lax - musician, lawyer and friend who drafted the agreement with Ian and did the paperwork in establishing the Ian Bruce Huntley Trust Fund.

Thank you to Matt, Jonathan and Siemon for doubling up as post and packaging workers in distributing the books from London and in the USA.

Thank you also to Andrew Arbuckle for his photographs of Ian's Tandberg Tape Recorder - and also for being Ian's Pietermaritzburg friend who shows Ian the website and lets him see what is happening on it.

Please engage, enjoy and celebrate this heritage.
Chris Albertyn March 2014

Monday 24 March 2014

National Jazz Festival (1976)

South Africa's illustrious jazz history is sadly made more precious because there is much that should have been recorded and documented that exists only in the memories of transitioning generations. Those recordings that do exist become even more precious and important because there was so much more that was worthy of preserving.

While many stellar performances were offered in public places those smaller audiences were no match for the sometimes unruly crowds that were called to the occasional 'super-gig' at stadiums and amphitheatres.  Despite the checquered  past of competitive jazz festivals, combined with the management challenges and cost risks, these festivals did continue to occur during the seventies, especially in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The recording shared today was made at the Jabulani Amphitheatre in Soweto by David Marks, Nino  Rivera and Toma Simons. The six bands featured include: The Jazz Ministers, The Soul Jazz Men, Drive (with all three Sithole Brothers), The Jazz Resurrection, The Shange Brothers, and the Jazz Clan.

The production was undertaken for sponsors, the South African Wool Board and Michelangelo (a company that made wool clothing, including mens' suits). The album was released by WEA Records on the Atlantic Label (ATC8001).

An additional fascination for me is that a number of the artists featured here, were  recorded and photographed by Ian Bruce Huntley some years before, such as Psych Big T Ntsele (of the Soul Jazz Men), Henry Sithole (The Drive), Nelson Magwaza (drums)  and Sandile Shange (Shange Brothers). The Ian Bruce Huntley will soon become fully available via Electric Jive - watch this space.

Today's recording features six bands competing in front of  an enthusiastic audience, bringing some powerful Xhosa rhythym fusions in Nolali,  but also hinting at the early influence of disco and soul via other bands.

This is what Elliot Makhaya, Jazz Critic for The World and Weekend World, had to say:

"The Michelangelo National Jazz Festival was not just another festival. It was the gathering of jazz kings from many parts of the coutnry. They came on that bright and sunny afternoon and seconds after taking the stage they blew our minds - with good jazz vibes. It was a whacking time those jazz ravers had. The bands needed some amount of exporsure and got it - thanks to the Michelangelo and Woolmark.

From the Cape cam the Soul Jazzmen. They gave us a beautiful treat of jazz spiced with Xhosa rhythm. They were powerful and snatched the first prize. From the coast came the Jazz Resurrection and the Shange Brothers. the Drive, Jazz Ministers and the Jazz Clan were among the finalists.

Late in the afternoon a cool breeze blew across the Jabulani Amphitheatre where it was all happening. The musicians, as if inspired by the breeze, rendered really breezu stuff. They exploded to life. They were vibrant, tasty and joyful.

The Michelangelo National Jazz Festival proved that South African jazzophites can be brought together for a mammoth jazz occasion. The festival itself has gone down in the annals of our jazz history. Those who were around will readily agree. To those that could not make it, and missed out on seeing the musicians in action, this album is a showcase of what happened there that bright afternoon. The mood is captured in the album. The music is vibrant and you have got it all on one LP - A FESTIVAL WE ALL LOVED!

The winners, the Soul Jazzmen, romped home because of their outstanding originality. they mixed Western influences with Xhosa rhythm. The Jazz Ministers can close with their stunning jazz ditties. To tell you more about that beautiful afternoon would be tantamount to robbing you of the gem that is about to explode - so go right ahead and play this album at top volume!"
Elliot Makhaya
(The World and Weekend World Jazz Critic).

The Soul Jazz Men (Port Elizabeth)
Psych Big T Ntsele - Bass/leader
Victor Miza - Trumpet
Dudley Tito - Tenor Sax
Castor Bassine - Tenor Sax
Bucs Matiwane - Piano
Bucs Sandi - Drums/percussion
Luluama Gonstana - Drums/percussion

Jazz Clan (Johannesburg)
Peter Segona - Trumpet
Sipho Mabaso - Tenor Sax
Connie Kumalo - Baritone
Rubin Radise - Trombone
Dimpie Tshabalala - Electric Piano
David Ramogasi - Drums
Mongezi Velelo - Bass

Drive (Johannesburg)
Henry Sithole - Alto Sax
Danny Sithole - Trumpet
Stanley Sithole - Tenor Sax
Nelson Magwaza - Drums
Tony Soali - Bass
Bunny Luthuli - Guitar
Lucky Mbatha - Vocal

The Jazz Resurrection (Durban)
Band members not listed

Jazz Ministers (Benoni)
Victor Ndlazilwane - Tenor Sax
Nomvula Ndlazilwane - piano
Johnny Mekoa - Trumpet
Shepstone Sothopane - Drums
Boy Ngwenya - Bass

The Shange Brothers (Durban)
Sandile Shange - guitar
Cyril Shange - Tenor Sax
Claude Shange - Piano
Boysi Shange - Drums
Roger Mthimkulu - Bass

RS here
MF here

Monday 17 March 2014

EJ's Awesome Tapes: Senyaka's Ma-Gents (1993)

Given the recent official release of Penny Penny's Shaka Bundu by Awesome Tapes from Africa I couldn't resist posting this tape by Senyaka. The title tune was a massive hit for Senyaka and could be heard all over the airwaves, taxi's and shebeens back in 1993.

Senyaka's 1986 track African Rap was a forerunner of the then nascent genre Kwaito. Sometimes the ideas were better than the execution, however with this release he sealed his position in kwaito folklore with Ma-Gents, a massive "diss" tune - aimed at Brenda Fassie and her drug habit. You can hear Brenda's partial response on this youtube clip

Senyaka went to to collaborate with a number of kwaito artists including Kamazu whose track Korobela also struck big. As the Hunger Boyz, Senyaka and Kamazu had a further hit with the controversial but topical Fong Kong - a commentary on cheap Chinese goods being dumped into the South African market. Fong Kong has now entered the South African lexicon to mean anything fake.
Senyaka - Ma-Gents (BMG L4 BSP Cassette, 1993)
1. Ma-Gents
2. Bayanyoyoba
3. Kumakhaza
4. Groove
5. Bhek'indaba Zakho
6. Mercy
7. Dali'wami
8. Ma-Gents Dub Mix

Monday 10 March 2014

Rock Party with the Vikings at the Club Pepsi (1959) b/w Rock 'n Roll (c1962)

The album Rock Party at the Club Pepsi from 1959 is acknowledged to be the first LP by a South African rock and roll group The Vikings (an earlier 10" LP  Flying High by Cherry Wainer and Nico Claasens is the first rock and roll album by South African musicians). Whilst at electricjive we have earlier featured rock and roll infused jive, mbaqanga and twist (see The Bogart Brothers , Rock Jive 1, Rock Jive 2 or the earlier compilation African Twist from the old matsuli site) this album represents what white teenagers were listening to in the late fifties and early sixties. Perhaps no surprise that the tunes are mostly a local interpretation of what was happening in the USA and Europe with few nods to local influences. Except perhaps to kwela in the tracks Send Thomas Kwela and Kwaai ("Cool") Kris Kwela. 

And some interesting details about the band - the bassist with the Vikings is none other than Harry Miller, who later played with Manfred Mann. Harry left South Africa for England to take up contract work playing on cruise ships on the Liverpool-New York passage and then got the jazz bug having heard Coltrane, Taylor and Monk for the first time in NYC. Back in the UK he worked with Mike Westbrook, Mike Osborne and John Surman and by the time the Blue Notes arrived in the UK he was fully established. With his wife Hazel, Harry started the still operating Ogun record label. Chris McGregor chose him for his band The Brotherhood of Breath and he also played with numerous other European free jazz musicians. The vocalist with the Vikings is Al Bentley, at one time named South Africa's rock king who went on to play with The Silhouettes and the Hi-Riders before moving to Perth Australia in the mid-sixties (on a personal note I discovered that Al Bentley was my mothers' cousin about ten years ago). The pianist is Paul Ditchfield who has had a long career in the music industry in South Africa.

Rock Party at the Club Pepsi with the Vikings (RCA 31 323, 1959)
1. Intro-Rock around the Clock- Royal Garden Blues
2. Blue Paul
3. Send Thomas Kwela
4. Now is the Time
5. Lonesome Road
6. Intermission Riff
7. Vivacation
8. Kwaai Kris Kwela
9. Jenny Dog
10. Caravan
11. Kansas City
12. Jumping with Symphony Sid

The second album is undated but appears to have been released around 1962 and features six rock and roll groups popular at the time. 

Rock 'n Roll (Renown NLP196, c1962)
1. Guitar Boogie - The Silhouettes
2. Bouncing Halos - The Blue Angels
3. Send Me Some Loving - Al Bentley and the Silhouettes
4. Birks Works - The Cavaliers
5. Baby You Said No - The 5 Teens with Brian Stein
6. Boiler Shop - The Rousers
7. Asteroid - The Silhouettes
8. Rocking Angels - The Blue Angels
9. Money Money - The Rousers with Tony Blight
10. You Break Me Up - The Big Horns
11. Bull Fight - The Cavaliers
12. When the Saints Go Marching In - The Big Horns

Monday 3 March 2014

Sophie Thapedi and Lulama Legola (1975)

Here is a great soul jive LP I meant to post on EJ in 2011 but somehow it slipped through the digital cracks. Produced by David Thekwane, side A features songs by vocalist Sophie Thapedi while side B is all Lulama Legola. It is my best guess that the backing group here is none other than the prolific Movers. Most of the tracks are penned by Sankie Chounyane, the keyboardist for that group, and... to be sure, the 7" single of How Long is credited to Sophie Thapedi and the Movers. How Long is simply a classic! You can also hear Sophie Thapedi on a single with the Soul Throbs from Chris' Soul on Special Offer mix. More pics of the cover can be viewed at FlatInternational. Enjoy!

Sophie Thapedi & Lulama Legola
Soul Soul
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