African Jazz Pioneers

Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival

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In the late '50s, there was some jazz in South Africa which mixed together folk melodies and aspects of bebop. While Chris McGregor's Blue Notes and Abdullah Ibrahim immigrated to Europe in the early '60s, other musicians were left behind, struggling in anonymity in a racist country. Thirty years later, veteran tenor saxophonist and arranger Ntemi Piliso put together a new band that brought back the older style, utilizing jazz improvisations with South African melodies and rhythms. They appeared at the 1991 Montreux Jazz Festival, a performance that was recorded and released five years later by the Intuition label. The six-horn tentet is often rollicking on eight pieces (mostly by group members), playing with plenty of spirit and utilizing infectious rhythms along with occasional vocals by Giant Molokomme. Although not essential, this release sheds light on a long-lost area of African jazz.

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