Amazing work from South African jazz legend Dudu Pukwana – a rare album from 1969, plus a never-issued set of tracks done for Atlantic Records at the same time! The core album, titled Dudu Pukwana & The Spears, features Dudu on alto, in the company of a lot of familiar players from his roots – Chris McGregor on piano, Mongezi Feza on trumpet, Louis Moholo on drums, Harry Miller on bass, and Jonas Gwangwa on trombone – plus great organ from Bob Stucky, who'd recorded with Pukwana a bit on the London scene of the 60s – and wholes presence really brings in a nice soul jazz vibe! The style is much straighter than the more avant 70s material of all players involved – and definitely has some of that upbeat South African sense of rhythm going on – nicely rollicking, and starting somewhere in the territory of a Hugh Masekela
record, then moving into more of a Prestige 60s vibe. Titles include "Kwa Thula", "Joe's Jika", "Pho La", "Yima Mjalo", "Pezulu", "Thulula", and "Half Moon". The second batch of material is presented as an Atlantic Records acetate reproduction – a session produced by Joe Boyd, with more work from McGregor, Miller, Feza, and Moholo – plus the very unusual presence of Richard Thompson on guitar! Bob Stuckey plays organ again on a few numbers, and things are much more complex – stretching out on tunes that include "Pezulu", "Izulu Liyaduduma", "Church Mouse", "Sibuyile", and an "Untitled" number.