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Rough Guide To South African Jazz


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Performer Notes
  • This is an Enhanced audio CD which contains regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files. (ECD)
  • Includes liner notes by Graeme Ewens.
  • The rich traditions of African rhythms are echoed in all popular American music, and jazz is no exception. In turn, black South Africans became enamored with the familiar styles and structures of jazz as early as the 1920s. By the '50s, most towns had a few local bands, with Johannesburg boasting the sharpest innovators. The township bands played in a dynamic style that mingled elements of swing with marabi, the three-chord melodies by which African jazz was most popularly known. This excellent collection gives a good idea about the range and expertise of many of the players, from Sipho Mabuse's delicately beautiful sax playing on "Thaba Bosiu" to young Lemmy Special's virtuoso pennywhistle stylings on "See You Later." Although this broad 16-song offering covers the '50s through the '90s, it only includes one vocal performance -- Miriam Makeba & the Skylarks' swinging "Siyavuya" -- making for a lopsided although spectacular view of South African jazz. ~ Rosalind Cummings-Yeates
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