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Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis: Phoenix, AZ, June 18, 2013

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Hugh Masekela and Larry WillisMusical Instrument MuseumPhoenix, AZJune 18, 2013A duo concert by flugelhorn master Hugh Masekela and pianist Larry Willis was billed as a salute to The Great American Songbook, but the performance offered as much storytelling as music. Masekela's endearing persona emerged as he related jazz history and his own life path, eliciting gentle laughter from the audience, many of whom may have known of him only from his 1960s pop-jazz hits “Up, Up and Away" and “Grazing in the Grass."The 74-year-old South African and the 70-year-old American had met as ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hugh Masekela: Jabulani

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At the age of 72, South African vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Hugh Masekela is still making music with as much energy and passion as he did in the days of “Grazin' in the Grass" at the height of his international fame in the 1960s and 1970s. Historically, Masekela has used his music as a form of social and political activism to combat issues like Apartheid. Jabulani strays from this trend of defiance and instead focuses on the joys and drawbacks of marriage, a highly ritualized and ceremonial institution in the South African village where Masekela was born.Masekela surrounds himself ...

INTERVIEWS

Hugh Masekela: Strength in Music and Character

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“I think it is incumbent, not just on every artist, but every person who has as their source communities that are disadvantaged, to give back," says Hugh Masekela, antiapartheid champion, friend of the downtrodden and musician extraordinaire who is still going strong at the age of 70. “If you don't give back, I think you end up somewhere down the line looking at yourself in a mirror that will eventually crack."

He's spent his life doing just that. Playing his flugelhorn with force and finesse, he's traveled the world spreading a message of concern for those ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hugh Masekela: Phola

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Phola celebrates Hugh Masekela's 70th year and marks the South African trumpeter's half century of bringing the music of his homeland to many ears throughout the world.As such, this musical statement--the 35th under Masekela's own name--seems to call for a glorious, celebratory mood. Instead, it is more of a quiet reflection on life, love, politics and social consciousness.Nothing wrong with that. Masekela, a true hero in his homeland, is an expert at such reflections. Phola was made, as Masekela's liner notes indicate, to help us “get well, to heal. To relax, to chill." Certainly, he achieves ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Hugh Masekela at SOB's

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Hugh Masekela SOB's New York City April 25, 2006

2006 is going to be the year Hugh Masekela reminds the world why he is a musical legend. Following the somewhat lackluster kwaito experiment with his 2005 Revival, Masekela opened 2006 with the excellent Hugh Masekela Presents the Chisa Years 1965-76, a collection of tracks he performed on or produced. He has also recently undertaken a US tour.On April 25th, Masekela (or, to be truly South African about it, Bra Hugh), appeared at SOB's in New York. Opening the set with one of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hugh Masekela: Revival

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Hugh Masekela, 66, sings and plays his horns on Revival with the same spirit that drove his worldwide commercial success nearly forty years ago. His flugelhorn and cornet still have that smooth sound: a bit frail, but always filled with seamless phrases that bounce fluidly along a trail that's easy to latch on to. This time out, he sings the lead vocal part in a concert that folds in South African elements of a contemporary nature.

Masekela wrote “Spring" to remind us how the earth's cycles provide comfort and joy. He sings it as a happy folk song ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela

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Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela By Hugh Masekela and Michael CheersCrown Publishers 2004

Subtitled the “The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela," this powerful autobiography of the veteran jazz/ world music trumpeter is much, much more: it's the story of a man's--and a nation's--journey through tragedy, turmoil and tyranny to freedom. Set against the background of South Africa's epic struggle, it's also a highly compelling tale of a life lived to excess, fueled by love and sex and drugs and, always, music.

Masekela and co-author Michael Cheers paint an especially moving portrait ...



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