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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

Sony Jazz 508295 2



Hugh Masekela - flugel.
Prince Lengoasa, Sydney Mavundla, Sam Nako.
John Davies, Jasper Cook, Mokone Senkhane.
Khaya Mahlangu, Sydney Mnisi - Tenor
McCoy Mrubata, Barney Rachabane - Alto
Karabo Mohlala - Baritone
Basic Rhythm Section:
Mandla Zikala - Electric Bass, Upright Bass
Sello Montwedi - Drums
Arthur Tshabalala - Keyboards
John Hassan
Rhythm Section:
Lawrence Matshiza - Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
John Blackie Selolwane - Electric Guitar
Dumisani R Hlela - Drums
H.K. "Ezbie " Moilwa - Keyboards
Hugh Masekela, H.K. Moilwa, Lawrence Matshiza,Swazi Dlamini, Vicki Vilakazi, Margaret Motsage, Letoya Makhene, Andrew Maloisane, Lesley More, Lucky Ramodibe, Siphiwo Sibeko, Thabo Tsotetsi.

1. Send Me
2. Happy Mama
3. Conchita
4. Ce Soir
5. Mamoshaba
6. Magic
7. Thimlela
8. Saduva
9. Part Of A Whole
10. Change
11. Old People, Old Folks

On first hearing this disc I must confess to having no great liking for the music contained here. However, with subsequent playing I find myself more and more drawn to this latest release from Hugh Masekela and am in fact listening to it for pleasure instead of as a work to review. I suppose that the initial impression was given because I did not expect this type of album from Masekela. I normally associate the artist with swinging, mellow flugelhorn sounds with a strong African overtone - in fact Masekela has almost become part of the establishment in recent years. The lyrical flugel is still there and so is the African influence - this perhaps even more so than of late. However, it just goes to show that it is totally wrong to attempt to categorise a truly first class artist. Much of the music contained here is nothing more or less than African protest music -and highly powerful and moving it proves to be.

Perhaps some of this is not protest in the sense of being a direct political comment but there is a feeling throughout of addressing the problems faced by society, with a particular emphasis on Africa, by referring to such issues as aids and politicians abusing power and overstaying their welcome ( "Send Me" and " Change" clearly illustrate these points).

Songs such as "Conchita " are in a different vein - this particular number serves to emphasise Masekela's early experiences of Latin music, whilst " Ce Soir" is a satiric love song in French written with his sister in mind. This number has a very good guitar solo and features some highly appropriate flute playing as an obligato to the vocal.

Masekela may not have the greatest of voices, but it works in a broken manner to achieve great expression on this material. His playing is absolutely wonderful - he is able to produce a really smooth style, but there is always that undercurrent of the blues and a certain vulnerability in his sound. " Mamoshaba" which is a traditional Guinean lament is an excellent example of his instrumental prowess - there are no fireworks, just an atmosphere of complete control and an ability to extract the maximum pathos from this simple melody.

The arrangements are all very well conceived and the supporting musicians of a very high standard. This disc could well become a classic of its type - miss it at your peril !

Dick Stafford


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