Hugh Masekela - Home Is Where The Music Is

2009-08-18 11:13
Home Is Where the Music Is

In '68 the success of his Grammy nominated, Billboard # 1 hit "Grazing In The Grass" had allowed him to kick start his own Chisa Records label. But by 1972 the time's they were a changing. John Coltrane was dead, Miles Davis wanted to be Jimi Hendrix and the home of soul, Motown Records had dropped Masekela's distribution deal. Jazz just wasn't that commercially cool any more.

And after more than a decade in exile Bra Hugh was getting seriously homesick. He knew he couldn't go back to apartheid's madness. But ex-wife Miriam Makeba had gone to Guinea and there was this crazy Nigerian saxophonist preacher, Fela Kuti who was starting his own African musical revolution… so who knows, maybe Home Is Where The Music Is?

Recorded at London's Island Studios a matter of months before his own departure to Guinea these 10 tracks (originally a double LP) find Masekela digging deep into his African jazz heritage. Gone are the patented pop jazz covers, replaced by inquisitive Afro-American conversations that range from rhythm 'n bluesy soaked soul jazz extrapolations on fellow exiled composer Caiphus Semenya's "The Big Apple" to freewheeling Cape to Cuba township bop original groovers like "Maseru"and the lilting ballad "Nomali".

Home isn't just about Hugh getting his swing back though. It's a philosophical statement. "Part of a Whole" is a stunning conversation between American soul jazz and African folk traditions. Later, Brotherhood of Breath alto saxophone firebrand Dudu Pukwana's animated post bop runs and drummer Nakhaya Ntshoko's mbaqanga-kissed fills provide a potent foil for pianist Larry Willis and bassist Eddie Gomez's hypnotic funk soar on spiritual jazz classic "Inner Crisis".

And Masekela? Well he lets rip, channeling Miles Davis' cool timbre on a muted Afro-blues makeover of Miriam Makeba's "Uhome" and easing some Sophiatown sheebeen swing shades into ex-Jazz Epistles cohort Kippie Moeketsi's hard bop "Blues for Huey" before tearing the avant garde roof off on the ancestral Afrobeat seance of the show-stopping "Ingoo Pow-Pow".

By 1972 trumpeter Hugh Masekela was sick and tired of watering down his South African jazz signatures with Western pop repertoire.

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Goda 2009/08/19 09:48
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Jeez! Hugh used to be so damn hot.
dave 2009/08/19 12:56
Fantastic blast from the past. Gonna see if i can find my LP copy and give it a spin.
Nomfundo Siyothula 2010/03/19 12:13
Hi Hughu Masekela I hope you are okay mna ndiyayithanda i Jeez iwesi leyakho Tata hayi ngoku kukho la ngoma indigulisayo ithi Ibalalam ndiyaziqenya ngalo hyuu iyandigulisa leyo ke mmmmm enkosi Tata ngomculo wakho omnandi
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