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SOUTH AFRICAN FREE JAZZ CAPE TOWN 1964-1967

The IBH Jazz Archive: Recordings Made at Live Jazz Performances in Cape Town over the period 1964 – 1966: with one or two recordings made a little later. Recorded by Ian Bruce Huntley on a Tandberg 6 Tape Recorder at 7 1/2 “ / Sec on 1/4” Tape (some mono and some stereo – some with two microphones on stage, and some with up to four microphones).

Musicians are healers. Where there was division in society there was unity in the music. What builds a scene of music is as much as all the support, it is the musicians themselves. There is a lot of healing taking place. And at the darkest time in our society healing is at its greatest.

In the early to mid 1960's the spirit was high. As high as it had ever been and as high as it would ever be (until now ish.) There was a global movement to unity and in America and all over Africa, people of African origin (so called blacks) were making profound steps in setting themselves free from the divide and conquer regime of the racists, fascists and white suprremecists.

South Africa at the time was no different in intent to the rest of the world `but slightly different in circumstances. Where America offered the 'African American' people civil rights in 1968 and a number of colonisers offered African countries independence throughout the 60's, the African people of South Africa were discriminated against even more. This energy of unity swept the entire world shifting humanity to a greater understanding of spirituality and themselves. This expanse in unity and human consciousness was short lived in America possibly ending with the murder of JFK and the addicting of the African American musicians to heroine, however it achieved certain shifts in consciousness that were recorded and documented for future generations to bulid upon. The energy of unity swept throughout South Africa yet no shift of consciousness was achieved at that time. The reason for this is the apartheid regime and their secret service agents were hard at work to ensure that jazz would be silenced. It was almost as if even though the world had highlighted the negative effects of racial hatred and discrimination, South Africa was allowed to continue with this social order as an experiment at the behest of the ruling elite.

Jazz music was unity manifested. And apartheid hated that. Jazz music embodied a canvas for the expression of the African person and the excellation of the African person and apartheid hated that.

Thus in that exact era in and around 1966 the jazz music of South Africa, was met with its greatest opponent and nemesis, political fascism. Apartheid thought they would keep the indigenous African man supressed and enslaved for eternity. They were wrong. Just like Mandela found his way out of jail, so too did our South African Jazz music, however it took a lot longer than 27 years ... more like 47 years ...

By December 1966 within South Africa there was a movement of free South African jazz that ran in parallel to America's movement marked at that time by Coltrane, Davis et al. If only we knew! It would have changed everything. Civil Rights by 1968? South Africa was there through her musicians. The evidence has been bottled up for 46 years and now it is bursting free ! So, civil rights 2013? At least :

Imagine if the music of John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Sun Ra, etc. was only being released today. Imagine if America had to wait to hear that music. No Blue Note records for sure would have existed. And I tend to guess no civil rights movement either would have happened. A man's destiny is intricately tied into his culture. And by culture we mean culture (that which comes from within). Jones puts it eloquently in writing about jazz in America. “Expression is Life. Life is Beauty.” Culture is the means of our expression. If it is hidden from us, we become hidden from ourselves. And thus these archives make a significant contribution to the extraordinary effect apartheid had in limiting our human growth, development, potential, power and being.

Cape Town 1966 was an epic period : there were niches, cliques and venues. There were protaganists and antoganists, there were musicians and friends of music. And jazz brought it all together. In Cape Town it was on the efforts of a number of extraordinary musicians that this everlasting jazz memory was created. These were a group of distinguished young men with the musical energy of the globe. Mankunku, Pike, Lissack and Schilder, the Cape Jazz Quartet of '66 were musical super heroes. Dennis Mpale, a trumpeter with a clear and rasping tone led the Jazz Disciples from the front. There was the ever present musicality of Mertyn Barrow, equally at home on piano and vibes. The musical humour of alto saxophonist Barney Rachabane bounced alongside the solid playing of tenor saxophonist Ronnie Beer, together in the Jazz Disciples. The grandfather saxophone teacher Cups n Saucers Nkanuka shined alongside his fellow African Jazz musicians. The prodigious efforts of saxophonist Morris Goldberg brought white and black alongside at the front of the bandstand. The virtuoso works of Dudu Pukwana and Nick Moyake would not be forgotten and would always raise the collective sound. Tete Mbambisa was blusey and magical in any line -up and many other names like the flautist and pennywhistler Robert Sithole or the singer Donald Tshomela would shine in this illuminated jazz company.

As a whole, their musical contributions to an era and a history is, was and always be a musical revelation. to be enjoyed and revealed. Some of these musicians went into exile, however the most of them remained and are known as our Inxiles. INXILES is the chapter of our jazz history that went underground for so many years and only now (post Madiba in the flesh) is re-emerging for humanity to enjoy and grow from.

The change we feel today and tomorrow is built on the sacrifice of our inxiles. Against all the mechanism of fascism they kept on making music and as a result future generations will benefit from their work. Sun Ra once said, an African Man is a mythological being because as he has no given rights in society on earth and as aresult must fight for his rights so therefore cannot be from here. This too is true of the African Jazz man - s/he lives beyond time and space and inhabits the place of freedom from which s'he plays her/his music with the greatest degree of patience and humility.

At the time (particularly 1968) South Africa was dealt a painful blow. Our inxiles had so much taken away from them and living and performing in apartheid hell was the greatest sacrifice that brought the inxiles face to face with suffering on a daily basis. A great example of how suffering was imposed on genius is Kippie Moeketsi, a saxophonist known to be a father of jazz music. Imagine being a great musician whose work will live on for hundreds of years to come yet being forced into an economic corner whereby you experience yourself as a failure and you die thinking you are a failure. Imagine that! Today one can buy or sell any Kippie Moeketsi recording at a profit greater than he would have made throughout his whole life. This was the economic consequence of the apartheid hell imposed on our musicians. Not only were they bullied and silenced in their lifetimes but their music was robbed for money to be gained after their death.
We areinterpreting the true value of our jazz past and how the message will bring us freedom of being into the present moment. Of course there was the dying beast of political and economic fascism, however there was the mythological being of the creator, composer, musician and African Jazz Man. As he lives beyond time and space, so too does he live beyond right and wrong, blame and hatred. He like Madiba lives in the state of acceptance, compassion and forgiveness. This we look at the role that apartheid and its employees, spies and supporters played as an act upon a stage, an act that today is finally exposed as antiquated and no longer necessary to our social, moral and ethical human development. For the truth exists that not only is African jazz Man a man of mythology, a man that has no rights in modern society, but that is true for humanity at large. Society is an artificial construct and consipracy of inequality that holds no moral life. We are all mythological beings.

That period of time around 1966 was marked by a sublime tolerance and forgiveness from the musicians themselves. They gave all and expected nothing in return. And what they got in return was an emotional jail that attempted to bottle up their pure genius through isolation and division. It is through the pure originality of the jazz music alone that we witness the power of love to conquer everything.

The musicians bring their emotions to the forefront, even though their humanity, togetherness and music is frustrated by the circumstances. Wherever these musicians go the security police are there, actually in the venue, checking out a black man, named MAN and a coloured man, named Chris making music amongst whites like Morris, Midge, Selwyn and Mert and blacks like Robert, Tete, Dennis and Barney.

In the early to mid sixties with the great expanse of unity consciousness across the globe it may have appeared for a brief moment that like the American Jazz cats had won their civil rights so too would the African Jazz Men of South Africa but by 1968 it had dawned on these great young giants of South African Jazz music, that unity was lost in this country. We were going to be oppressed for another 27 years until Madiba was released and the gold stolen. And twenty more on top of that until Madiba's death and the leadership of the country stolen.

The inxiles musical opportunities were limited into te late 60's until drying up in the 70's. Yet, as much as possible they would keep playing jazz, "playing through the changes."

Some of the venues operating in Cape Town were The Zambezi Restaurant in Hanover Street, District Six, The Ambassador's Jazz Club In Woodstock, The Vortex in Upper Long Street, The Art Centre, Kings Hotel, the Grand Prix Restaurant in Sea Point, The Room At The Top in Bree Street, The Troubadour in Gardens, Stables on Loop Street and in private homes such as Selwyn Lissack's Room and garage and the Moses's house in Smart Street.

The Art Centre offered a permanent venue for the musicians to entertain and experiment. Throughout the musical collaborations that took place there between 1964 and 1967 we see a kind of progression and building. The musicians are always expanding in their repertoire, in their treatment, in their personnel and in their collaborations.

By December 1966 within South Africa and captured live in Cape Town there was a movement of free South African jazz that ran in parallel to America's movement marked at that time by Coltrane, Davis et al. If only we knew! It would have changed everything. Civil Rights by 1968? Musicians are healers. Where there was division in society there was unity in the music. What builds a scene of music is as much as all the support, it is the musicians themselves. There is a lot of healing taking place. And at the darkest time in our society healing is at its greatest. South Africa was there through her musicians. The evidence has been bottled up for 46 years and now it is bursting free ! So, civil rights 2013? At least:

This archive (recorded by Ian Bruce Huntley) preserves our greatest memory of our jazz fathers in their jazziest phase ever. Mankunku, Pike, Lissack and Schilder were musical super heroes. A lasting archive of Dennis Mpale, and many other musical highlights like Mertyn Barrow on the vibes, Barney Rachabane, Cups n Saucers Nkanuka, Morris Goldberg and Dudu Pukwana are recorded. This recorded work is a musical revelation to be enjoyed and revealed. The live recording sessions were conducted at the Ambassadors hotel; the Zambezi in District Six, Room on the Top, The Troubadour in Gardens, Stables on Loop Street and in private homes such as Selwyn Lissack's Room and garage and the Moses's house in Smart Street.

The musicians represented on these recordings were our inxiles. The exiles did good but these were the some of the sons of our soil. The change we feel today and tomorrow is built on the sacrifice of our inxiles. Future generations will benefit from their work. They knew it. South Africa was dealt a painful blow. Imagine being a great musician whose work will live on for hundreds of years to come yet being forced into an economic corner whereby you experience yourself as a failure and where like Kippie Moeketsi you die thinking you are a failure. Imagine that! There is a lot of healing to be done in interpreting the true value of our jazz past and the living legends are taking full responsibility for that.

And thus the delightful sound of South African Jazz is preserved despite all that stood against us. And now the pathway is open for expression to flow freely. In the words of Jones: “Expression is Life. Life is Beauty.”

The musicians were speaking in tongues that was so far away and ahead of their oppressors that it made their oppressors mad with anger. They found this multi racial genius contemptuous of their own abilities and sought to destroy it. Hence the total destruction of District Six in Cape Town, the escape of the exiles and the silencing of the inxiles through blocking their recording projects. But, love speaks louder than hate. When these musicians were cooking on their instruments there was nothing the thought police could do.

That is what makes these Cape Town jazz musicians of the 60's some of the top musicians in the world of all time. These musicians knew that fascism would not last forever. It was their privilege and duty to share their jazz music with the intensity of projecting light into a dark room. It is within this context that we can take a trip to the music.

SA jazz buoyed by uBuntu : evidence of the Inxiles

From the Story of South African jazz Volume One we have learnt how the early 1960's is referred to as a ‘lost era,’ ‘hidden era,’ ‘stolen era’, and ‘destroyed era.’ During the time when apartheid ravaged the country, the only jazz that is known is the jazz that the exiles made famous in Europe and America.

SA jazz researchers from abroad: writer Lars Rasmussen said, “The whole story of South African Jazz music is that it has not been written yet;” And Dennis Constant Martin said : “There was a sort of gap from '60 when most of the creative musicians were gone.”

Now we have a vast volume of evidence to fill that gap. And it is all about the Inxiles: those that stayed at home to keep the music alive and created a great and vibrant jazz scene throughout the country exactly in that period of the late 1960’s.

Mankunku / Schilder / Pike / Lissack performing and recording all over Cape Town in 1994 - 1967. They were in their early 20's. A musical memory is preserved here that is deep enough to set people free of hatred and mental slavery.

The urgency to document our legends (not only of jazz but mythology, tradition, culture, etc) is to preserve the magic on which humanity was born. It is with tremendous sadness that so many musical greats have died never being realised. And thus where there is a legend who has maintained his truth there is gold, greater than all the royal palaces of the world. For these are the sound brahman, the healers, the wisdom keepers, the alchemists who make my life journey (and possibly yours and the human race.)

 

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THE RECORDINGS ARCHIVED ACCORDING TO ARTIST / GROUP

WINSTON MANKUNKU select reviews

Art Centre – no number tape 2 tracks at 56:36

Experiments At Selwyn's Room, tape 50 Untitled Music 1:29:57

Stables – no number tape 5 tracks at 32:13

Tape 25: At Selwyn Lissack's Room (1966) 5 tracks at 44:44

Tape 26 Practice At Selwyn's Place – Bantry Bay + Art Centre 7 tracks at 1:10:20

Tape 28 Another DATE 5 tracks at 50:00

Tape 29 Art Centre, Cape Town 31st July 1966 8 tracks at 2:00:33

Tape 29 The Troubadour, Gardens, Cape Town, August 1966

Tape 30 Art Centre August 1966 1 track at 10:59

Tape 30 Art Centre August 1966 4 tracks at 1:02:15

Tape 31 Art Centre 20th August 1966 3 tracks at 43:19

Tape 32 Art Centre 18th September 1966 4 tracks at 36:52

Tape 32 Selwyn's Studio – “Film Music” ; 17 tracks at 46:12

From Tape 33 Art Centre September 1966 ; 5 tracks at 59:00

Tape 34 Art Centre ; 2 tracks at 22:00

Tape 36 Art Centre (1966) 12 tracks at 1:33:20

Tape 38 Selwyn's Studio ; 8 tracks at 1:03:22

From Tape 40 Art Centre, 4 tracks 38:00

Tape 41 Art Centre , 6 tracks 56 minutes

From Tape 41 Art Centre; 16 tracks at 2:05:10

At Selwyn's Room 3 Tracks at 26:08

Tape 50 Experiments At Selwyn's Garage Studio – 1966 , 4 tracks 57 minutes

Tape 55 Ambassadors (1965) 7 Tracks at 1:30:18

CHRIS SCHILDER select reviews

Tape 13 3 tracks at 23:00

Tape 14 Chris Schilder – solo piano 10 tracks at 46:05

Tape 20 Moses House – Smart Street8 tracks at 1:05:09

Tape 24 Ambassadors 4 tracks at 47:25

Tape 24 At The Art Centre 5 tracks at 66:41

Tape 25 Art Centre (1966) 4 tracks at 39:36

From 29 The Troubadour August 1966, 1 track16 minutes

Tape 30 Art Centre August 1966 4 tracks at 1:02:15

Tape 30 Troubadour 4 tracks at 41:03

From Tape 31 Art Centre 20 th August 1966

From Tape 33 Art Centre September 1966 ; 11 tracks at 1:54:21

From Tape 36 Art Centre (1966) ; 4 tracks at 47 minutes

Tape 38 Selwyn's Studio ; 8 tracks at 1:03:22

From Tape 41 Art Centre; 16 tracks at 2:05:10

Tape 46 At The Art Centre 13 tracks at 1:46:59

Tape 50 Experiments At Selwyns Garage Studio – 1966 ; 7 Tracks at 1:28:31

CHRIS and PHILLY SCHILDER select reviews

Tape 20 Art Centre 4 tracks at 37:12

Moses House – The Schilder Brothers 1 track at 7:59

Tape 21 At the Zambezi 5 tracks at 37:08

Tape 28 Art Centre (1966) 8 tracks at 1:25:49

Tape 28 Steven Gradner's Cape Town 10th July 1966 5 tracks at 41:40

Tape 28 Troubadour, Cape Town (1966) 4 tracks at 41:44

Tape 31 Art Centre 20th August 1966 3 tracks at 43:19

SOUL JAZZMEN select reviews

Ambassadors (1965) 6 tracks at 48:19

MIDGE PIKE select reviews

Midge Pike – Bass Solo Six Tracks at 26:43

THE JAZZ DISCIPLES select reviews

Thibault Square Studio Recording (Cape Town 1964) ; 4 tracks at 30:38

Tape 4 Room At The Top 3 tracks at 44:57

Last Night at the Room on the Top ; 4 tracks at 1:11:02

Tape 17 Zambezi (1964) COMPILATION ALBUM

Tape 18 Room at the Top (1964) 7 tracks at 2:11:25

Tape 43 Room At The Top 19 Tracks at 3:03:30

TETE MBAMBISA select reviews

Tape 9 Room At The Top – 1964 ; 3 tracks at 20:00

Tape 43 Room At The Top; Tete Mbambisa Solo Piano 2 tracks 17:00

ROY PETERSON select reviews

The Roy Peterson Trio 3 tracks (16:00)

ROBERT BEER select reviews

Tape 21 Robert Beer blows at the Art Centre 5 tracks at 38:35

RONNIE BEER select reviews

Tape 21 Grand Prix 6 tracks at 76:27 Some tracks have been added from Tape 17

MORRIS GOLDBERG select reviews

Tape 34 Art Centre 5 tracks at 1:09:09 *

Tape 35 Art Centre 6 tracks at 1:18:13

Tape 37 Troubadour (1965); 6 tracks at 1:27:44

Tape 39 Art Centre (1967) 8 tracks at 1.23:47

Tape 40 Art Centre 5 tracks at 51:00

MERTON BARROW select reviews

Tape 26 Live at the Art Centre 7 tracks at 1:10:20

Tape 29 Art Centre, Cape Town 31st July 1966 8 tracks at 2:00:33

From Tape 41 Art Centre; 8 tracks at 54 minutes

Tape 47: The Art Centre Cape Town 9 tracks at 63 minutes

 

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