Reviews that mention Mongezi Feza

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

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

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

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

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

May 18, 2008

Selwyn Lissack’s Friendship Next of Kin

Facets of the Univers
DMG ARC 702

Sven-Åke Johansson, Moderne Nordeuropäische Dorfmusik

Berlin Symfonie MIND1968 - 72

Olof Bright Editions OBCD 14-15

Operating in the shade of rock music’s hegemony and somewhat overshadowed by American experiments, in the late 1960s-early 1970s European-based improvisers were creating their own answers to the question of how to forge modern music.

As these little-known period CDs led by drummer-conceptual artists demonstrate, these responses could take a multitude of forms. Better known of the leaders is Swede Sven Åke Johansson, a long-time Berlin resident, whose affiliation with the avant-garde ranges from his early participation in saxophonist Peter Brötzmann’s bands –including the seminal Machine Gun session – to his position today when he still plays with youngish experimenters like trumpeter Axel Dörner. His art is a sideline. MORE

May 18, 2008

Sven-Åke Johansson, Moderne Nordeuropäische Dorfmusik

Berlin Symfonie MIND1968 - 72
Olof Bright Editions OBCD 14-15

Selwyn Lissack’s Friendship Next of Kin

Facets of the Univers

DMG ARC 702

Operating in the shade of rock music’s hegemony and somewhat overshadowed by American experiments, in the late 1960s-early 1970s European-based improvisers were creating their own answers to the question of how to forge modern music.

As these little-known period CDs led by drummer-conceptual artists demonstrate, these responses could take a multitude of forms. Better known of the leaders is Swede Sven Åke Johansson, a long-time Berlin resident, whose affiliation with the avant-garde ranges from his early participation in saxophonist Peter Brötzmann’s bands –including the seminal Machine Gun session – to his position today when he still plays with youngish experimenters like trumpeter Axel Dörner. His art is a sideline. MORE

August 21, 2006

HARRY MILLER’S ISIPINGO

Which Way Now
Cuneiform Records Rune 233

By Ken Waxman

Free Bop with a touch with kwela is probably the best way to describe this CD of never-before-released tracks from bassist Harry Miller’s 1975 Isipingo sextet. But this high quality session consisting of four of Miller’s compositions is more than that. It adds another document to the underrepresented story of South African/British improv.

Starting in the 1960s, usually fed up or fleeing apartheid, a variety of South African musicians abandoned their homeland and set up shop in the United Kingdom. Soon they interacted with some of the more advanced British players to develop a variant of Hard Bop mixed with transformed homeland melodies and touches of Free Jazz. Most – including trumpeter Mongezi Feza and drummer Louis Moholo featured here – were graduates of Chris McGregor’s Blue Notes combo. MORE

January 10, 2005

MONGEZI FEZA

Free Jam
Ayler aylCD-048/049

Historically more striking than they are sonically or musically, the two 60-minute CDs that make up FREE JAM capture a certain time in Stockholm when the advances of Free Jazz had become common musical currency.

Featuring five local improvisers who made up saxophonist Bernt Rosengren’s avant-garde quartet -- and who have since returned to more mainstream pursuits -- the discs from 1972 not only show off the Swedes’ talents, but those of two distinguished visitors. While the five Stockholm residents were adapting variations of the New Thing to local modern jazz and folkloric influences, authentic Third World sensibilities mixed with swing came from the other two. 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