6

Chris McGregor: In His Good Time

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Founder of South African group the Blue Notes and, later in London, the Brotherhood of Breath, pianist Chris McGregor (born in the Transkei to Scottish missionary parents) was among the first musicians to take what became known as "township jazz" beyond South Africa, when he and the Blue Notes went into voluntary exile in 1964. Like pianist Dollar Brand (later Abdullah Ibrahim) and trumpeter Hugh Masekela, who had both left the country in the wake of 1960's Sharpeville massacre, McGregor no longer felt he could live and work under the barbarism of the apartheid regime, in which the Blue Notes' situation was exacerbated by the presence of both black and white musicians in the group.

The classic Blue Notes' lineup featured alto saxophonist Dudu Pukwana, tenor saxophonist Nick Moyake, trumpeter Mongezi Feza, bassist Johnny Dyani and drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo. A bigger band, Brotherhood of Breath included several members of the Blue Notes along with musicians prominent on London's free jazz scene.

McGregor, who died in 1990 in his adopted homeland of France, rarely recorded solo. Two albums for the French Musica label have long been collectors' items, as has In His Good Time, recorded at a Paris concert in 1977 and first released by Ogun in 1979. This reissue is the first time the disc has appeared on CD. It comes with around 40 minutes of additional material and presents the first set of the concert in its entirety, followed by five tunes from the second set. The sound, using the original analogue tapes, is excellent.

McGregor had a thick, rolling piano style, more or less equal parts jazz and traditional black South African music; like township jazz in general, his playing had the emotional intensity of African American gospel music and touched the same bases. On In His Good Time he plays a mixture of originals and traditional folk tunes, along with Mongezi Feza's "Sonia" and Dudu Pukwana's "The Bride." There is a purity—a straightforward joy—in McGregor's performances, which communicates itself powerfully. The 54-minute first set is played as a continuum, uninterrupted by opportunities for audience applause, and becomes pleasingly hypnotic.

Among the other fine recordings issued by Ogun on CD is The Blue Notes Legacy: Live in South Afrika 1964, recorded live in Durban by the classic sextet prior to the Blue Notes' departure to the Juan-Les-Pins Jazz Festival and exile.

Track Listing: Green Hymn; Kwa Tebugo; Sonia; Call; Raincloud; Umhome; Burning Bush; Shekele; Yikiti; Mngqusho; In His Good Time; The Bride; Ududu Nombambula.

Personnel: Personnel: Chris McGregor: piano.

Title: In His Good Time | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Ogun


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Triple Double CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2017
Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "Algorithmic Society" CD/LP/Track Review Algorithmic Society
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959" CD/LP/Track Review Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 7, 2017
Read "Beginnings" CD/LP/Track Review Beginnings
by David A. Orthmann
Published: September 25, 2017
Read "Jorg Schippa's Kiosk" CD/LP/Track Review Jorg Schippa's Kiosk
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 24, 2017
Read "Awakening" CD/LP/Track Review Awakening
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 5, 2017
Read "Pocono Git-Down" CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 1, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.