134

Winston Mankunku Ngozi: Abantwana Be Afrika

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Winston Mankunku Ngozi: Abantwana Be Afrika While legions of South African jazz artists left the country in the '60s to escape apartheid, saxophonist Winston Mankunku Ngozi stayed home, and he paid a heavy price for his choice. Expatriates like Abdullah Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela circulated within American and European jazz communities, earning exposure and recognition. Mankunku labored under a regime which restricted his personal and musical freedom, sometimes performing under a psuedonym or behind a curtain. But his 1968 record Yakhal' Inkomo stands as one of the greatest masterpieces in South African musical history.

In contrast to that forward assertion of identity, Mankunku's music has become much more soft and meditative in recent years, with Molo Africa (1998) an optimistic highlight. The all-acoustic Abantwana Be Afrika ("Children of Africa") represents a return to roots, a middle ground for the saxophonist, with ten traditional jazz cuts in a (mostly) quintet setting.

His band brings together heavy hitters from the present day, most notably pianist Andile Yenana, whose firm but understated support recalls similar '60s efforts by McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock. Drummer Lulu Gontsana has an unerring sense of swing that regularly adopts light shades of Latin and funk styles. And Mankunku himself sounds calm, self-assured, warm, and articulate. The title tune (with vocals and a melody that beckon "Children of Africa" to dance) has an irresistibly catchy groove; the other selections tend to be more serious and reflective.

Abantwana Be Afrika represents a dramatic return for Winston Mankunku Ngozi, a reminder that he hasn't forgotten his roots or lost the ability to express depths of emotion through deceptively simple words.


Track Listing: Give Peace a Chance (Een Liedtjie vir Saldanha Bay), Ndizakuxhela Kwamajola, Bantwana Be Afrika (Children of Africa), George & I, Lakutshon' Ilanga, Dedication (to Daddy Trane & Brother Shorter), Inhlupeko, Tshawe, Ekuseni, Thula Mama.

Personnel: Winston "Mankunku" Ngozi - tenor & soprano sax, Prince Lengoasa - flugelhorn & vocals, Andile Yenana - piano & vocals, Herbie Tsoaeli - acoustic bass & vocals, Lulu Gontsana - drums & vocals.

Title: Abantwana Be Afrika | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Sheer Sound


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Day After Day CD/LP/Track Review Day After Day
by John Eyles
Published: July 21, 2017
Read We Know Not What We Do CD/LP/Track Review We Know Not What We Do
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Slade Alive! CD/LP/Track Review Slade Alive!
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Hope CD/LP/Track Review Hope
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2017
Read The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Oaktree" CD/LP/Track Review Oaktree
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 12, 2017
Read "Spirits" CD/LP/Track Review Spirits
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 2, 2017
Read "Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Journey To The Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Journey To The Heart
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 12, 2016
Read "Closer To The Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Closer To The Sun
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "Petite Afrique" CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!