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Jazz African Jazz


Surrey, UK
I was born in South Africa and lived there for 30 years before coming to the UK. The rhythms and sounds of South African jazz are deep within me, and hearing them calls forth strong emotions. But I've found it quite hard to find written music, backing tracks etc to try to steer my saxplorations in that direction.

The other day I found on the web a book called Cape Jazz Collection: leadsheets of original SA Jazz compositions. Well, it arrived this morning, and I'm hard at work on the first of those tunes, "Bo Kaap" by McCoy Mrubata.

Couldn't find a clip of it, but here's a clip of him playing a different tune:

Anyone know of any other resources for African Jazz, please share!
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and, because it can never be heard too many times, here a link to the Titan of Cape Jazz, Abdullah Ibrahim, with his landmark piece, Mannenberg, with Basil Coetzee on tenor:

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Thanks. Brings back a lot of wonderful memories. Johnny Clegg/Juluka/Savuka, Marimba orchestra in Vic Falls, PJ Powers, Sophiatown and those wonderful harmonies in the singing/choirs there. FNB had regular outdoor lunchtime concerts in Jhb for a while, some great bands... And then there was Pieter Dirk Uys, not musical, but sooo funny....

African Footprint is rather commercial, but good.

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MORE please!

There is nothing better for me than someone doing something they obviously enjoy sharing and all of the above share this in abundance. It's easy to see where the West Indian exuberance in music originates.

Thanks, folks and keep it coming.

Mango Groove.... This is what I was thinking of when I mentioned Sophiatown above. Wonderful. Met their first clarinettist at a party once. Interesting girl, not that I got anywhere, not evena phone number. Their tin whistle were something else....

Now go look up Lucky Dube on youtube......
If anyone is interested, the book I bought is here:

The tune I plan to work on next is "Umlazi" by Basil Coetzee.

No youtube link, but look for the music player on this page: Umlazi is the third piece, and has a very typical African feel in the main melody (comes in on horns after about a minute) - I wish I could capture what it is that gives that feel: something yearning in the notes, set against a very relaxed and "sprung" rhythm.
Really wish I'd been able to see this guy:


I got to play three gigs and spend some time with Winston back in 1987. A lovely man and incrediable musician.
Over the course of what was a long weekend I learnt a lot about music and about what was happening in South Africa.

Winston was a very good friend of the South African born bass player Robert Millner, who currently teaches on the Jazz course at Chichester College (West Sussex)
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Similar threads... or are they? Maybe not but they could be worth reading anyway 😀

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