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Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela was a world-renowned flugelhornist, trumpeter, bandleader, composer, singer and defiant political voice who remained deeply connected at home, while his international career sparkled. He was born in the town of Witbank, South Africa in 1939. At the age of 14, the deeply respected advocator of equal rights in South Africa, Father Trevor Huddleston, provided Masekela with a trumpet and, soon after, the Huddleston Jazz Band was formed. Masekela began to hone his, now signature, Afro-Jazz sound in the late 1950s during a period of intense creative collaboration, most notably performing in the 1959 musical King Kong, written by Todd Matshikiza, and, soon thereafter, as a member of the now legendary South African group, the Jazz Epistles (featuring the classic line up of Kippie Moeketsi, Abdullah Ibrahim and Jonas Gwangwa).

In 1960, at the age of 21 he left South Africa to begin what would be 30 years in exile from the land of his birth. On arrival in New York he enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music. This coincided with a golden era of jazz music and the young Masekela immersed himself in the New York jazz scene where nightly he watched greats like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Mingus and Max Roach. Under the tutelage of Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong, Hugh was encouraged to develop his own unique style, feeding off African rather than American influences – his debut album, released in 1963, was entitled Trumpet Africaine.

In the late 1960s Hugh moved to Los Angeles in the heat of the ‘Summer of Love’, where he was befriended by hippie icons like David Crosby, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. In 1967 Hugh performed at the Monterey Pop Festival alongside Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar, The Who and Jimi Hendrix. In 1968, his instrumental single ‘Grazin’ in the Grass’ went to Number One on the American pop charts and was a worldwide smash, elevating Hugh onto the international stage.

His subsequent solo career has spanned 5 decades, during which time he has released over 40 albums (and been featured on countless more) and has worked with such diverse artists as Harry Belafonte, Dizzy Gillespie, The Byrds, Fela Kuti, Marvin Gaye, Herb Alpert, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and the late Miriam Makeba.

In 1990 Hugh returned home, following the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Nelson Mandela – an event anticipated in Hugh’s anti-apartheid anthem ‘Bring Home Nelson Mandela’ (1986) which had been a rallying cry around the world.

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Play This!

Hugh Masekela: Grazing In The Grass

Read "Hugh Masekela: Grazing In The Grass" reviewed by Chris May


Lest we forget the total blast that was the late Hugh Masekela, caught in the act of breaking big in the US in 1968. Like Fela Kuti, Masekela kept the good times rolling and the message loud and clear. ...

25
Album Review

Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela: Rejoice

Read "Rejoice" reviewed by Chris May


"Unfinished" is the kindest word to describe this album, recorded in 2010 and left on the shelf until its release was prompted after Hugh Masekela passed in 2018. It should have stayed on the shelf. The album consists of eight tracks of noodling by Masekela, accompanied by autopilot timekeeping from Tony Allen, who passed a few weeks after the album was finally released in spring 2020. Masekela and Allen had recorded the tracks unaccompanied and on the ...

5
Album Review

Hugh Masekela: Masekela '66 - '76

Read "Masekela '66 - '76" reviewed by Chris May


Like his compatriot and close contemporary Abdullah Ibrahim, Hugh Masekela has a 24-carat discography which stretches back six decades and digs deep into the taproot of jazz. Ibrahim is still with us--he has a new album scheduled for June 2019--but Masekela passed in January 2018. Among the several solid Masekela compilations on the market, this 3-CD set is the most welcome. It deals with the most prolific phase of Masekela's career and brings back into circulation material from landmark albums ...

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Radio & Podcasts

Jazz in Exile, Part One

Read "Jazz in Exile, Part One" reviewed by Seton Hawkins


South Africa's Jazz enters a period of exile following the Sharpeville Massacre. Artists like Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and many more leave the country in order to be able to continue performing their music. Playlist Miriam Makeba “Pata Pata" from Mama Africa: The Very Best of Miriam Makeba (Manteca) 2:24 Miriam Makeba “Ndodemnyama Verwoerd" from Africa (BMG) 5:19 Gwigwi Mrwebi “Nyusamkhaya" from Kwela (Honest Jons) 10:09 Hugh Masekela “U, Dwi" from Grrr (Verve Music) 13:28 Hugh Masekela ...

4
Radio & Podcasts

Hugh Masekela Mix

Read "Hugh Masekela Mix" reviewed by Emily Jones


(If this program is unavailable in your country from Mixcloud, please scroll down and listen via Soundcloud.) Hugh Masekela passed away just a few weeks ago at the age of 78, leaving a powerful legacy of music and activism. This month's mix showcases ten key moments in his musical life, handpicked from his 40 albums. Those moments range from playing in The Jazz Epistles at just 20 years old, to afrobeat with Fela Kuti, to what was to ...

1,520
Interview

Hugh Masekela: Strength in Music and Character

Read "Hugh Masekela: Strength in Music and Character" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


This article was first published at All About Jazz in May 2009. “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 ...

3
Live Review

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

Read "Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis: Phoenix, AZ, June 18, 2013" reviewed by Patricia Myers


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, ...

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Recording

Hugh Masekela Releases Posthumous Album 'siparia To Soweto'

Hugh Masekela Releases Posthumous Album 'siparia To Soweto'

Source: Shane Dahler

After the rousing reception of “The Meeting Place (Amapiano Version)” alongside Soca legend, Machel Montano, the late legendary South African trumpeter, composer and vocalist, Hugh Masekela, and the Trinidadian steel orchestra, Siparia Deltones, announce the release of their highly-anticipated collaborative album, Siparia To Soweto, released through Gallo Record Company and Montano’s Monk Music Group. This album is not just a musical collaboration—it is a story of a man, a people, a land, and a drum that built a bridge between ...

3

Obituary

Hugh Masekela Has Died

Hugh Masekela Has Died

Source: Rifftides by Doug Ramsey

Hugh Masekela, a hero of African popular music and an inspirational fighter against discrimination, died today in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was 78. Masekela’s rapid ascent to fame in the 1950s led to international recognition of his trumpet playing and his protests against his country’s apartheid policy that for decades subjugated South Africa’s black people. By the time of his 1968 hit “Grazing In The Grass,” he was a prominent figure in world culture. Masekela was a tenacious force in ...

1

Performance / Tour

Jazz This Week: Hugh Masekela, a New Look For Jazz at the Bistro, a Tribute to Floyd Leflore, Moon Hooch, and More

Jazz This Week: Hugh Masekela, a New Look For Jazz at the Bistro, a Tribute to Floyd Leflore, Moon Hooch, and More

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

It's another busy week for jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with the big news story being the re-opening of the renovated and expanded Jazz at the Bistro with two sold-out performances - one tonight for subscribers and VIPs, the other tomorrow for the general ticket-buying public - by Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Though both nights have been sold out for weeks, if you don't have tickets already, you still can watch the performances ...

1

Performance / Tour

Living Legend, Hugh Masekela Takes the Annenberg Center Stage This April

Living Legend, Hugh Masekela Takes the Annenberg Center Stage This April

Source: AAJ Staff

The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts closes out its 12/13 African Root series with a performance by Grammy award-winning trumpeter Hugh Masekela. “One of the most thrilling live performers around” (Rolling Stone), Masekela is known for his traditional South African jazz inspired sound and his outspoken political voice. This performancewill take place on Sunday, April 14 at 7 PM. Tickets are $20-$70 (prices are subject to change). For tickets or for more information, please visit AnnenbergCenter.org or call 215.898.3900. ...

197

Performance / Tour

Hugh Masekela’s Trumpet Grooves on North American October Tour

Hugh Masekela’s Trumpet Grooves on North American October Tour

Source: rock paper scissors, inc.

The Musical Umbilical Cord that Connects America and Africa: Hugh Masekela's Trumpet Grooves on North American October Tour

Before jazz had a name and “world music" was a concept, a young trumpet player emerged from another hemisphere and landed alongside some of the greatest icons in American music. Louis Armstrong sent him a trumpet. Harry Belafonte arranged for him to come to New York City to study music. Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis took him under their wings. That man, ...

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Performance / Tour

Hugh Masekela: U.S. Dates

Hugh Masekela: U.S. Dates

Source: JamBase

MUSICAL LEGEND BRINGS TRUMPET GROOVES TO NORTH AMERICA Hugh Masekela , born out of apartheid South Africa, has consistently toured worldwide and his genre-bending dynamism has led to his own icon status. His uncategorizable sound comes to life on his October 2010 North American tour. After many years spent in exile from the violence and oppression of apartheid-era South Africa, Masekela returned 20 years ago to help rebuild his homeland. Masekela's live performances continue to demonstrate his status as a ...

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Performance / Tour

Trumpet Legends Terence Blanchard and Hugh Masekela to Perform over the Course of Two October Evenings at the Annenberg Center

Trumpet Legends Terence Blanchard and Hugh Masekela to Perform over the Course of Two October Evenings at the Annenberg Center

Source: AAJ Staff

The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts presents not one but two Grammy award-winning trumpet players over the course of two October evenings. First, Grammy award-winning trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard takes the stage on Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 7:00 PM to perform music from his beautifully haunting and impassioned song-cycle, A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina), about the physical and emotional ravages visited upon the city of New Orleans and its residents by Hurricane Katrina. ...

158

Performance / Tour

Hugh Masekela Amid Cup Fervor, Revisiting Pain of Apartheid

Hugh Masekela Amid Cup Fervor, Revisiting Pain of Apartheid

Source: Michael Ricci

My introduction to Hugh Masekela came in 1968. Amid great turbulence, assassinations and riots, Masekela's hit single “Grazing in the Grass" became the breezy anthem of a hot summer.

Masekela, we learned, was the South African-born trumpet player who had come to the United States in 1960 to escape the tyranny of apartheid. Far beyond the pop appeal of Grazing, Masekelas larger body of music reflected the agony, conflict and exploitation South Africa dealt with. Our paths finally crossed last ...

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Festival

Zimbabwe: Hugh Masekela to Thrill Jazz Lovers

Zimbabwe: Hugh Masekela to Thrill Jazz Lovers

Source: Michael Ricci

Harare -- South African jazz crooner Hugh Masekela leads the list of performers at the Harare Jazz Festival scheduled for Harare Sports Club on April 17. Masekela is a trumpet player and arranger best known for the 1968 jazzy instrumental hit Grazing in the Grass. His other popular hits locally include Mandela (Bring Him Back Home) and Shebeen. The Independence eve festival will see Masekela sharing the stage with Zimbabwean groups among them, the Cool Crooners Mbare Trio and music ...

Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Siparia To Soweto

Monk Music, Gallo Record Company
2023

buy

Rejoice

World Circuit
2020

buy

Masekela '66 - '76

Wrasse Records
2019

buy

No Borders

Universal Music Group
2016

buy

Friends

Justin Time
2012

buy

Jabulani

Razor & Tie Entertainment
2012

buy

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