Accompanied by the English Chamber Orchestra, Ladysmith Black Mambazo combines classical European pieces with the traditional music of their South African homeland on one program. The well-known vocal ensemble finds that both areas of music fit together well when they're doing the interpreting.
"Amazing Grace" is presented in English. The arrangement contains a lustrous African interlude in which the vocal ensemble's traditional spirit soars. They sing in their native language as well as in the classical Latin tongue. Refrains of Bach, Schubert and Mozart combine with country chants from a far-away land. The Zulu language is quite effective at expressing the feelings of this veteran ten-voice choir.
"Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" begins with its classical origins. Lead vocalist Joseph Shabalala takes this one spiritually higher and higher. Robert Brooks adds a vibrant Italian tenor voice to the recipe, bringing the piece along several paths at once. Again, on Schubert's "Heilig, Heilig, Heilig," stirring African and European voices combine to carry the piece on raised emotions.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo has long represented vivacious South African traditional music. With a little help from their friends, they've managed to universalize their performance. Sometimes it works; sometimes it's a stretch. The veteran vocal ensemble is at its best with traditional South African fare. No Boundaries has plenty of examples of each.
Track Listing: Jabulani-Rejoice; Homeless; Amu Wemadoda; Amazing Grace; Dona Nobis Pacem; Ngingenwe Emoyeni (Wind of the Spirit of God); Umzuzu Nayi Ujesu; Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring; Sanctus (Heilig, Heilig, Heilig); Ave Verum Corpus; Lifikile Ivangeli; Walil' Umtwana (The Child is Crying).
Personnel: Joseph Shabalala, Jockey Shabalala, Msizi Shabalala, Thulani Shabalala, Sibongiseni Shabalala, Thamsanqa Shabalala, Albert Mazibuko, Abednego Mazibuko, Russel Mthembu, Jabulani Dubazana- vocals; Ofer Falk, Benjamin Buckton, Alison Dods, Matthew Elston, Gillian Findlay, Richard George, Matthew Scrivener- violin; Clive Howard, Matthew Souter, Josephine St. Leon- viola; Lionel Handy, Simon Wallfisch- cello; Stephen Williams- double bass; Dawid Venter- flute; Simon Ball- bassoon; David Cohen- clarinet; Isak Roux- piano, harpsichord; Hanneke ver Schoor- English horn; Tim Roberts- oboe; Amarille Ackermman- harp; Barry van Zyl- African drums, drum set, percussion; Bernard Kisby-Green- timpani, timbales, percussion; Magda de Vries- marimba, vibraphone, percussion; Robert Brooks- added vocal on "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" and "Sanctus."
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.