Monday, August 02, 2010

Next Stop...South African Jazz

Even before Strut records released the third and final volume of the critically acclaimed compilation series Next Stop...Soweto, the label had put together an astonishing selection of underground South African music that ranged from soul and funk, to the golden age of the Zulu-influenced sounds of mbaqanga. With this month's release of Next Stop Soweto Vol 3: Giants Ministers & Makers: Jazz In South Africa 1963-1978, Strut certainly saved the best in the series for last by putting together an impressive collection of hard-to-find jazz gems that surfaced in the South African region during the sixties and seventies. The music on this compilation captures some of the best South African jazz music that was able to survive a region that, at the time, was full of radio restrictions, government repression, and an environment full of hostility. Some of the highlights include Spirits Rejoice's "Joy", The Heshoo Beshoo Group's "Emakhaya", Mankunku Quartet's "Dedication (To Daddy Trane & Brother Shorter)", Dennis Mpale's "Orlando", among many others. The jazz music here at times features elements of Afrobeat and highlife, showcasing some amazing instrumentation and complex arrangements. Overall, the third volume of the Next Stop...Soweto series is a powerful and brilliant compilation that results in one of the year's best releases, making the "final stop" a remarkable one. Enjoy!

Dennis Mpale - Orlando

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