Thursday, October 6, 2011
Jazz and Hot Dance in South Africa 1946-1959 (1985)
Jazz and Hot Dance in South Africa is a compilation of early jazz recordings from that country. The bopping begins with the Manhattan Brothers, and it does not slow down through 16 songs lasting 43.5 minutes. These are African mutations of American jazz from earlier decades, treasures from the shabeens that grew into distinctive township jazz. There are too many bands to name, but the highlight for me is the early Dorothy Masuka hit, "Ba Zali Bami." The hip song from the Shanty City Seven is sweet, and the closing track spotlights well-known penny-whistle jive master, Spokes Mashiyane.
This collection reminds my of John Storm Roberts' Original Music efforts due to its unearthing of rare vintage recordings and their detailed presentation. Every track has all available details included on the record sleeve: musicians, original publishing date and source, and English translations of song titles. I've included close-up photos of the extensive notes in the download, but a better option is to head over to the wonderful archive FlatInternational, where all the notes are published on the web.
Most, if not all of the songs, were taken from original records, so there is normal surface noise, but that does not detract at all from the great music. Jump and jive to this one, baby!