Reviews that mention Chris McGregor

July 11, 2014

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Procession (Live at Toulouse)
Ogun OGCD 40

By Ken Waxman

The best jazz is often created through the synthesis of conflicting, sometime clashing musical impulses. So it was with the work of South African pianist Chris McGregor (1936-1990), whose all-star Blue Notes band of the ‘60s combined hard bop and (South) African musical influences. McGregor’s references multiplied during his European expatriate years when he created the Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) big band. On these live late ‘70s performances, sinuous kwela melodies and bop’s breakneck speed are part of the band’s disciplined Basie-like swing, yet at the same time sound extensions introduced by affiliated European free players have become more apparent in the writing and playing. MORE

July 6, 2014

Harry Miller

Different Times, Different Places
Ogun OGCD 041

Via flamboyant performances from 1973 and 1976, Different Times, Different Places celebrates a particularly fertile period in British Free Jazz by unearthing hitherto unissued performances by two top-flight combos under the leadership of bassist Harry Miller. Importantly, the CD also adds material to the catalogue of three players who have since died. South African-born Miller (1941-1983), killed in an auto accident in the Netherlands; alto saxophonist Mike Osborne (1941-2007), whose mental illness prevented him from playing after the early 1980s; and pianist Chris McGregor (1936-1990), another South African, whose London-based Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) big band was a meeting ground for advanced African and European jazzers. MORE

December 23, 2013

8th Annual Jazz Critics Poll – NPR Music

Ken Waxman
(The New York City Jazz Record, Jazz Word)

NEW RELEASES

1. Convergence Quartet, Slow and Steady (NoBusiness)

2. Andrew Cyrille, Duology (Jazzwerkstatt)

3. Black Host, Life in the Sugar Candle Mines (Northern Spy)

4. Scott Neumann, Blessed (Origin)

5. Michel Edelin, Resurgence (RogueArt)

6. Ab Baars-Meinard Kneer-Bill Elgart, Give No Quarter (Evil Rabbit)

7. Maria Faust, Jazz Catastrophe (Barefoot)

8. Barry Altschul, The 3dom Factor (TUM)

9. Mark Dresser, Nourishments (Clean Feed)

10. Alexey Kruglov-Alexey Lapin-Jaak Sooäär-Oleg Yudanov, Military Space (Leo) MORE

December 8, 2013

Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath

Procession: Live At Toulouse
Ogun OGCD 39

Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton

Live at Maya Recordings Festival

NoBusiness NBCD 55

Butcher/Buck/Mayas/Stangl

Plume

Unsounds 35u

Michel Doneda/Joris Rühl

Linge

Umlaut Records umfrcd 07

Lori Freedman & John Heward

On No On

Mode Avant 16

Matt Mitchell

Fiction

Pi Recordings PI50

Kidd Jordan & Hamid Drake
MORE

January 6, 2013

Chris McGregor

In His Good Time
Ogun OGCD 038

By Ken Waxman

Justly famous as the leader of the South-Africans-in-Europe Blue Notes combo and the Brotherhood of Breath big band, which mixed Apartheid exiles with British free music players, the piano talents of Chris McGregor (1936-1990) were never properly appreciated. This CD should go a long way towards rectifying that. Adding four tunes recorded at the same 1977 Paris concert to the original Ogun LP, In His Good Time confirm McGregor’s keyboard and compositional skills.

Exposed early on to rousing hymns and Xhosa folk melodies while growing up at a Church of Scotland mission in the South African hinterlands, McGregor’s melodies – he composed nine of 13 tracks here – would continue to reflect those influences even as he internalized modern jazz and classical sounds. MORE

December 5, 2011

Ogun Records

Label Spotlight
By Ken Waxman

Nearly 40 years after it released its first disc – and after pressing about 40 LPs and 30 CDs – London-based Ogun Records is still chugging along, with managing director Hazel Miller maintaining it as a one-woman show. Strongly identified with the South African musicians who fled Apartheid for the United Kingdom during the 1960s as well as with the British innovators affiliated with them, Ogun puts out three to four CDs annually. The discs are a mixture of CD transfers of important LPs; newly recorded discs; plus never-before-released historical sessions. MORE

August 8, 2009

Music Outside, Contemporary Jazz in Britain

By Ian Carr
Northway Publications

Hindsight may be 20/20, but this reprint of Ian Carr’s 1973 classic Music Outside, reveals that he beats the law of averages. However, anything written 36 years ago resonates with the attitudes of the time. Some musicians who seemed significant then are more the province of nostalgia than admiration; others mentioned briefly are major figures.

Parenthetically that sense of being of one’s time makes Roger Cotterell’s contemporary postscript frustrating. While he does tie up loose ends and outlines the subsequent career of some musicians, a few are still ignored. His updates are also mostly personal anecdotes. MORE

July 8, 2009

Blue Notes

The Ogun Collection
Ogun OGCD 024, 025, 026, 027 & 028

What regretfully could be subtitled Tale of the Incredible Shrinking Band, this box set collects five CDs by the Blue Notes, arguable the best jazz band to emerge fully formed from Apartheid-era South Africa.

Consisting of sessions recorded from 1964 to 1987, the set traces the band’s evolution from a six-man boppish combo to a smaller group, which energized European – especially British – jazz by intermixing African rhythms and melodies, Hard Bop styling plus emerging Free Music. Leaving aside the first disc, Legacy: live in South Afrika 1964, the other CDs are necessarily reductive. That’s because after pianist and Blue Note leader Chris McGregor organized the Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) big band in 1970, other original Blue Notes left the enlarged group for their own projects for greater or lesser periods. Subsequently the remaining originals only regrouped for one/off gigs such as 1977’s Blue Notes in Concert, or sadly to honor deceased comrades. Blue Notes for Mongezi dates from 1975, and captures most of the 3½ hour improvised threnody the others played to honor trumpeter Mongezi Feza who died suddenly at 30. Finally Blue Notes for Johnny dates from 1987, following a similar post-funeral session by the remaining trio marking bassist Johnny Dyani’s death at 40. MORE

September 18, 2008

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath
Fledg'ling Records FD-3062

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Brotherhood

Fledg'ling Records FD-3063

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Eclipse At Dawn

Cuneiform Rune 262

The Chris McGregor Group

Very Urgent

Fledg'ling Records FD-3059

Nearly 20 years after his death the musical importance of South African-born, pianist Chris McGregor and his pioneering multi-cultural big band Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) that operated both in the United Kingdom and the Continent is being repeatedly reconfirmed. MORE

September 18, 2008

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Brotherhood
Fledg'ling Records FD-3063

The Chris McGregor Group

Very Urgent

Fledg'ling Records FD-3059

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Fledg'ling Records FD-3062

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Eclipse At Dawn

Cuneiform Rune 262

Nearly 20 years after his death the musical importance of South African-born, pianist Chris McGregor and his pioneering multi-cultural big band Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) that operated both in the United Kingdom and the Continent is being repeatedly reconfirmed. MORE

September 18, 2008

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Eclipse At Dawn
Cuneiform Rune 262

The Chris McGregor Group

Very Urgent

Fledg'ling Records FD-3059

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Brotherhood

Fledg'ling Records FD-3063

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Fledg'ling Records FD-3062

Nearly 20 years after his death the musical importance of South African-born, pianist Chris McGregor and his pioneering multi-cultural big band Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) that operated both in the United Kingdom and the Continent is being repeatedly reconfirmed. MORE

September 18, 2008

The Chris McGregor Group

Very Urgent
Fledg'ling Records FD-3059

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Brotherhood

Fledg'ling Records FD-3063

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Fledg'ling Records FD-3062

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Eclipse At Dawn

Cuneiform Rune 262

Nearly 20 years after his death the musical importance of South African-born, pianist Chris McGregor and his pioneering multi-cultural big band Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) that operated both in the United Kingdom and the Continent is being repeatedly reconfirmed. MORE

June 21, 2004

CHRIS MCGREGOR’S BROTHERHOOD OF BREATH

Bremen To Bridgwater
Cuneiform Records Rune 182/183

Count Basie of the Townships could have been the late South African pianist Chris McGregor’s nickname. That is, if his Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) big band, featured on this two-CD set of 1970s performances, didn’t add the colorations of Charles Mingus’ bigger groups and suggestions of Hank Crawford’s arrangements for Ray Charles to its unique mix of modern jazz and South African jive.

Earlier, apartheid era officials went out of their way to discourage the white pianist from mixing with black musicians. Which is why Capetown’s McGregor (1936-1990) and his black fellow players in the Blue Notes sextet ended up living permanently in Europe after 1964. MORE

October 29, 2001

CHRIS MCGREGOR & THE BROTHERHOOD OF BREATH

Travelling Somewhere
Cuneiform Records Rune 152

Illustrating one of the appealing, yet little explored, tributaries of improvised music, this nearly 80 minute blast from the past presents British-South African pianist Chris McGregor's 12-piece Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) recorded live in a 1973 German gig.

Outgrowth of the racially mixed Blue Notes combo that, because of Apartheid, as forced to relocate from Africa to England in the early 1960s, BOB was an altogether more expansive project. With a nucleus of the original combo -- trumpeter Mongezi Feza, alto saxophonist Dudu Pukwana and drummer Louis Moholo as well as McGregor -- it welcomed other immigrants like South African bassist Harry Miller and Barbadian trumpeter Harry Beckett to the fold, and filled out the band with the cream of MORE