Hugh Masekela

South Africa’s Trumpet Player and Activist Hugh Masekela Remembered

Text by Dawoud Kringle

On Tuesday, January 21st, 2018, the music world was saddened to hear that legendary trumpet player, composer, and music activist Hugh Masekela passed away from pancreatic cancer. Thus ended a career of over half a century. He was 79.

Masekela began playing trumpet in his teens (an apocrypha of his biography holds that his first trumpet was a gift from Louis Armstrong. Another version of the story holds that the instrument was donated by Armstrong to anti-apartheid chaplain Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, at St. Peter’s Secondary School). At the end of 1959, Dollar Brand (later known as Abdullah Ibrahim), Kippie Moeketsi, Makaya Ntshoko, Johnny Gertze and Hugh formed the Jazz Epistles, the first African jazz group to record an LP. Their 1959-60 concerts in Johannesburg and Cape Town were hugely successful.

March 21st, 1960 the Sharpeville massacre saw 69 protesters killed by police, the South African government banned gatherings of ten or more people, and the brutality of the Apartheid state became intolerable (apparently, the Apartheid government couldn’t understand why human beings refuse to be oppressed and enslaved). With the help of Trevor Huddleston, Yehudi Menuhin, and John Dankworth, Masekela left the country. Dankworth got Masakela admitted into London’s Guildhall School of Music.

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Tommy Smith

Concert Review: Spirit of light by Tommy Smith, featuring Kurt Elling

And the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and Cappella Nova

Date: December 17, 2017
Venue: St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland

Review and photographs by Fiona Mactaggart

Rugged up against the bone-chilling cold in the Scottish capital’s visually and acoustically impressive St Mary’s Cathedral, the full-house audience seem aware they are in for something special. The two-part concert begins with a clear as ice spoken introduction from esteemed New York – based jazz singer and previous collaborator with Tommy Smith and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO), Kurt Elling. With appropriate gravitas, Elling explains that this concert will be “a modern meditation on the delirium that visits us at this season”, and that it would be no regular jazz gig.

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ReverbNation

Gifts of Streaming? ReverbNation Voices Strange Ideas

Commentary by Dawoud Kringle

In a recent article on ReverbNation’s website, musician, blogger, and educator Patrick McGuire espoused the idea that streaming services such as Spotify are a “gift” to musicians. 

According to McGuire, “Companies like Spotify have invested an insane amount of time and money into finding ways to help connect artists with the right listeners. Part human curation, part highly complex algorithm, Spotify’s Discover Weekly Playlist feature builds completely unique and personalized music selections to its users.” 

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SoSaLa

The Long Hiatus has Broken: SoSaLa Returns

“I went to see the musician, Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi of SoSaLa a few nights ago, and I must say, that I was totally impressed by his honesty and sincerity.
That’s perhaps one of the things that is missing in many practitioners of the music.
It was quite refreshing to experience his concert presentation.
Billy Harper

PS. It is sometimes good to get “outside of oneself” and see what someone else may be experiencing about his music.”

Date: December 20, 2017
Venue: CA Music Room (NY)

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