A South African jazz set from the 70s, but one with a very different vibe than most – stretched out nicely in ways that really let the tunes find their way! The group here is led by alto saxophonist H Sithole, but even more important is the work of a young Bekhi Mseleku – an artist we love for later recordings, who really adds a lot to the sound here on Hammond and electric piano – working in these long-spun lines that dance around the bass, guitar, and drums – while brothers open up on solos too – S Sithole on tenor and baritone, and D Sithole on trumpet. Titles include "Way Back Fifties", "Together", and "Can You Feel It". LP, Vinyl record album
Eboni Band —
Eboni Band ... LP Eboni/WeAreBusyBodies (UK), Early 80s. New Copy (reissue)...
A really unique record, and one with a very unusual pedigree – as the group features key members of some acts from the Ivory Coast in the late 70s, mixed with various Motown session players in the studio – all in a way that offers up a completely different take on Cali soul from the time! The African artists contribute a lot of vocals and work on kora that's especially beautiful – and the other players are led by Gregg Middleton on bass, who also does all the arrangements – and the combo features Ernie Fields on saxes, Nolan Smith on trumpet, and Fred Wesley on trombone! Every song has a nicely different flavor – and titles include "Fasso", "Sing A Happy Song", "Desire", "I Love All", and "Mogofindeou Sopeunte". LP, Vinyl record album
Heshoo Beshoo Group —
Armitage Road ... LP Little Giant/WeAreBusyBodies, 1970. New Copy (reissue)...
A rare South African jazz treasure – a set that's much more obscure than some of the bigger names of the scene, and which has a sound that's very different too! There's maybe a stronger American influence taking place here, especially in the rhythms, but also in the phrasing – and the twin alto and tenor in the lead, played by Henry and Stanley Sithole, respectively, really makes for a soulful, and dynamic sound! Instrumentation also includes guitar from Cyril Magubane, who holds the role that a piano might – and his sense of tone and phrasing are very unique, and bring a lot of special elements to the record – alongside bass from Ernest Mothle and drums from Nelson Magwaza. Titles include "Armitage Road", "Wait & See", "Amabutho", "Lazy Bones", and "Emakhaya". LP, Vinyl record album
Kippie Moketsi & Hal Singer —
Blue Stompin ... LP Gallo/WeAreBusyBodies (UK), 1977. New Copy (reissue)...
A record that features a great guest appearance from American tenorist Hal Singer – a player who always seemed to do some of his most interesting work overseas – but a set that's an even greater testament to alto saxophonist Kippie Moketsi and some of his key collaborators on the South African scene! The record's got a great blend of American jazz and South African rhythmic currents – maybe more of the former than some of the other 70s albums on the Sun/Gallo label – served up with this open, flowing style that makes plenty of use of the long space of the album's four tracks! Singer blows tenor on "Blue Stompin", which also includes piano from Alain Jean Marie – and other tracks feature equally wonderful tenor from Dudku Makasi, and electric piano from Jabu Nkosi on two cuts, and from Pat Matshikiza on one more. The tunes "Yes Baby" and "Scrap Iron" also feature additional alto from Barney Rachabane and guitar from Enoch Mthaleni – and the final track on the album is "Hang On There". A great set throughout – a real gem from the 70s SA scene! LP, Vinyl record album
Peace Flag Ensemble —
Noteland ... LP WeAreBusyBodies (UK), 2021. New Copy ...
A jazz group, but one with a very different approach – as the core energy here comes from the piano improvisations of Jon Neher, which then draw all the other musicians together, as they find ways to slide their own contributions into the fold! There's a very cohesive sound to the music – this isn't some sort of long-distance phone-in project – and the organic quality of the music reminds us a bit of some Japanese minimal projects from the 80s, but also maybe with a bit of the better side of ECM too – although there's nicely not the same sort of darkness in the production, as the instruments come off with a nice sort of glow. Other players include Travis Packer on bass, Dalton Lam on trumpet, Paul Gutheil on saxes, and Michael Scott Dawson on guitar and electronics. Titles include "Your Father Is In The Yard Counting Sparrows", "Marginalia", "Wilted Sax", "Human Pyramid", "Hilma Af Klint In Ab", and "The Right To Silence". LP, Vinyl record album
A very different album than usual from the South African jazz scene of the 60s – much more rootsy, and very personal sounds – and hardly the kind of nationwide expression you might guess from the title! Instead, the whole thing is very much it's own kind of record – jazz, in ways – but not really a straight jazz record either – as Philip Tabane works all these unusual guitar lines next to percussion, but with a moodier, slower-building vibe than anything that might be in the vein of highlife, or other West African styles! The whole record really takes its time to find its sound – and when vocals come into the mix, they're very well situated – maybe bowing more to the overall instrumental soundscape, instead of leading it – as the group moves with very unified energy on titles that include "Tsela", "Mahlomola", "Dithabeng", "Babedi", "Ke Utlwile", and "Man Feeling". LP, Vinyl record album
Heshoo Beshoo Group —
Armitage Road ... CD Little Giant/WeAreBusyBodies, 1970. New Copy ...
Out Of Stock
A rare South African jazz treasure – a set that's much more obscure than some of the bigger names of the scene, and which has a sound that's very different too! There's maybe a stronger American influence taking place here, especially in the rhythms, but also in the phrasing – and the twin alto and tenor in the lead, played by Henry and Stanley Sithole, respectively, really makes for a soulful, and dynamic sound! Instrumentation also includes guitar from Cyril Magubane, who holds the role that a piano might – and his sense of tone and phrasing are very unique, and bring a lot of special elements to the record – alongside bass from Ernest Mothle and drums from Nelson Magwaza. Titles include "Armitage Road", "Wait & See", "Amabutho", "Lazy Bones", and "Emakhaya". CD
Incredible late work from the great West African dance band Vis-A-Vis – a brilliant set from 1977 that demonstrates good and well why the band were so greatly in demand both live and in the studio! The group had spent quite a bit of time backing the great Ghanaian singer K. Frimpong in the mid-to-late 70s, sometimes billed as the Cubano Fiestas, but as you're hear on this great set, they're just as great out on their own. They show a pretty amazing range – with a raw, yet dexterous African funk sound on some numbers and the entwining melodies of high life on others. The 12-piece group features a trio of vocalists led by "Superstar" Isaac Yeboah, plus Anthony Yeboah and Ayim Bediako, with Sammy Cropper on guitar, Slim Mau on bass, drummer Gybson "Shaolin Kung-Fu" Papra, George Asante on conga, Tonny Dozis on keys and synth, Kofi Abrokwaa on tenor sax, Paul Winter on trumpet, Daniel Asare on maracas and Alex Jubin on cowbells. Includes "Obi Agye Me Dofo", "Kankyema", "Gyae Su", "Gladys Mmbobor" and "Susan Suo". LP, Vinyl record album