Mar 13, 2014

Post No. 700: South African Jazz: Ndikho Xaba And The Natives (get it)

MULTI-instrumentalist, actor, composer and teacher Ndikho Xaba has led a remarkable life. Born in Pietermaritzburg in 1934, his adventurous musicianship and radical politics eventually took him into exile in the US: he jumped ship from the cast of the Alan Paton musical Sponono in 1964. But though he stayed close, socially, to the other well known US-based exiles of that time - Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwangwa, Miriam Makeba - his musical direction was rather different.

Xaba's concern was to develop a musical practice that questioned conventions as freely as his politics did. That led him to the improvising lofts of Chicago and San Francisco and now, for the first time, a retrospective collection of some of the music he made in that context has been released. Sunsets contains two tracks from 1970s San Francisco; five from Chicago in the early 1990s; and, to bring the story up to date, two laid down with students when he returned to KwaZulu-Natal in 2003.


Privately Pressed holy grail Afro Spiritual Jazz on the Trilyte label out of Oakland, California. Incredible music in the same vein as Tribe and Strata-East. Thought to be the first ever appearance of Plunky Branch ; Plunky & Oneness Of Juju on a vinyl record. Extremely limited private pressing which is both beautiful & moving Spiritual Free Jazz. It features long groove based tribal jams with "Freedom" being an amazing bluesy soul stomp. The album features some really moving and inspired playing, and even some vocalizing (chanting, singing) J. Plunky Branch is an acclaimed Avant Afro-Funk Jazz saxophonist from Richmond. Bassist Ken Shabala (Kent Parker) came from Brooklyn. They met in college & formed a group called the Soul Syndicate with Kent Parker the lead singer. From 1966-68 they played the New York circuit until moving to San Francisco where in 1969 they met Lon Moshe (Ron Martin) creating this African-Avant-Garde group with Ndikho Xaba. They recorded this one lone lp, led by South African pianist/percussionist, Ndikho Xaba until soon forming Plunky & Oneness Of Juju releasing their first album in 1972 and relocating to New York.


1 Shwabada
2 Freedom
3 Flight
4 Nomusa
5 Makhosi

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