MBIZO DAY – today, Wednesday 30th November
The Pan African Space Station (PASS) will host a 24 hour live broadcast of music written and/or performed by healer, musician, composer and painter Johnny Mbizo Dyani (30 November 1945 – 24 October 1986), as well as rare interviews with the artist and comments by people who knew and worked with him.
TUNE IN HERE from 12:00 midday (GMT+2) today, Wednesday 30 November till midday on Thursday 1 December.
This listening session is in celebration of Mbizo’s life work and in commemoration of 30 years of his passing.
During his short life, Mbizo helped to establish the Blue Notes, a group he co-founded with Chris McGregor, Louis Moholo, Mongezi Feza, Dudu Pukwana and Nic Moyake, as the one of the most innovative and powerful forces in jazz. Or more precisely, what he called the SKANGA (a family of black creative musics). Mbizo was a highly sought-after bass player and vocalist who performed with some of the music’s most important figures, including Don Cherry, Abdullah Ibrahim, David Murray, Mal Waldron, Famoudou Don Moye, Khan Jamal and many more. He recorded over 70 albums.
In addition to Chimurenga people, selectors and speakers include Keorapetse Kgositsile, Lefifi Tladi, Marcus Wyatt/Blue Notes Tribute Orkestra, Louis Moholo, Lesego Rampolokeng, Ikapa Jazz Movement, Tete Mbambisa, Maakomele Manaka, DJ Mighty, Tumi Mogorosi, Dala Flat, and many more.
And check out this wonderful performance from July 1971, broadcast live on French television.
It’s weird how the recording industry warps experience. We can sometimes forget that every recording is only one iteration that was captured and set in stone as “The” Definitive Performance, when really it just happened to be captured that particular time among many, many other possible times. Records, like photos, pluck moments out of time and concretise them… And they are the only thing we’re left with later to glimpse a whole era. That’s why densely detailed archives such as Ian Bruce Huntley‘s, where there were many recordings of the same bands made during the same era, are so interesting. I’ve posted here, and in the preceding post, recordings of the same band on two consecutive nights.
One of the lovely things about everyone having a camera in their pocket on their phone is that this is not something that is rare anymore, and the democratisation of shared experience is a very powerful and positive thing. One of the horrible things is that there is just such a volume of recorded stuff (much of questionable quality) being generated that the brightest nuggets of wonder can be drowned in the dross… Too much recording and we have a shaky, pixelated backup of every moment kept on hard drives, that no one ever has time to live through twice, to the extent that everything melts into undifferentiated, indigestible “big data” and can only be apprehended as statistics. I feel very ambivalent about it.
I think it’s really important that, whenever possible, we still have experienced photographers, videographers and sound recorders assigned to do this stuff, so that in years to come what we are left with are some beautiful and considered recordings, and not just a haunted avalanche of muddy glimpses.
An incredible gig at Straight No Chaser, Cape Town, South Africa, 16 January 2016.
Louis Moholo: Drums
Shabaka Hutchings: Tenor Saxophone
Kyle Shepherd: Piano
Brydon Bolton: Double Bass
A koeksuster twist.
This coming Tuesday, find out more about the extraordinary archive of photographs and live recordings made by Ian Bruce Huntley in the 1960s and early 1970s. In 2013 I was involved in putting this archive of recordings online, which you can explore HERE.
Keeping Time: Ian Bruce Huntley’s South African jazz archive
by Jonathan Eato
Ian Bruce Huntley is not a name that you’ll find readily in the burgeoning annals of South African jazz. Unless, that is, you talk to the dwindling generation of jazz musicians who were working in South Africa in the mid-1960s. Tete Mbambisa remembers Huntley as the man who ‘recorded our gold’, and this Huntley did through a series of remarkable photographic images and live audio recordings. Having privately preserved these records for over forty years, throughout the state repression of grand-apartheid and into the democratic era, they have recently been made available for the first time.
This talk will consider how, in the face of increasing political oppression, Huntley’s archive documented a community of vernacular intellectuals exploring and developing ideas in counterpoint to much commercially available South African jazz post-‘Pondo Blues’.
For more info:
tel: 021 650 2888
Facebook event HERE.
NOTES BY ROBERT TRUNZ
“Back in 1994 during the Outernational Meltdown recordings, in the early hours of the morning after we had finished one of the many late night recording sessions, Moses and I were the only ones left in Downtown Studios, Jo’burg. We were hanging out together, with Moses seated at one of the pianos whilst I settled down on the floor next to him. It was there that I first heard him playing solo piano.
Moses took me on a journey that lasted almost 3 hours, a journey that, for somebody who is normally not particularly enamoured by the piano, expanded my horizons and revealed a depth of Moses that few people have probably ever had the privilege to encounter.”
Read more about this recording HERE.