Articles

Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

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Interview

Matsuli Music: The Fight Against Forgetting

Read "Matsuli Music: The Fight Against Forgetting" reviewed by Seton Hawkins


Now approaching a decade of operations, Matsuli Music has placed itself at the frontline of reissuing some of South Africa's most influential, important, and yet nevertheless now difficult-to-find albums in pursuit of its stated mission: “The Fight Against Forgetting." Indeed, to that end, founder Matthew Temple has done extraordinary work, as thanks to his efforts, classic 1970s fare like Dick Khoza's Chapita, Ndikho Xaba's Ndikho Xaba and the Natives, Sathima Bea Benjamin's African Songbird, Pacific Express' Black Fire, and others ...

746

Interview

Sathima Bea Benjamin: Song Without End

Read "Sathima Bea Benjamin: Song Without End" reviewed by Maxwell Chandler


Sathima Bea Benjamin's amazing life reads like the plot to movie. She took time out of her busy schedule to recollect her life's journey from her childhood in pre-apartheid South Africa singing during movie house intermissions to self-imposed exile in Europe where she and pianist composer husband Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim) were discovered by Duke Ellington. Despite witnessing and being part of not just her country's history, but her chosen art's as well, this singer remains, to the casual listener ...

294

Album Review

Sathima Bea Benjamin: A Morning in Paris

Read "A Morning in Paris" reviewed by Donald Elfman


This recording belongs alongside the famous Reprise recording of Duke Ellington Presents the Dollar Brand Trio (Warner Bros., 1963)--now Abdullah Ibrahim. It comes from the same period and introduced the world to Ibrahim's then girlfriend, Beattie Benjamin (now Sathima Bea Benjamin). Actually, Benjamin heard Ellington in Zurich and convinced him to come hear Brand perform. Ellington also insisted that Benjamin sing for him, and the subsequent recordings were thought to be lost until relatively recently. Benjamin is ...

305

Album Review

Sathima Bea Benjamin: SongSpirit

Read "SongSpirit" reviewed by AAJ Staff


To celebrate her recent septuagenarian status, vocalist Sathima Bea Benjamin selected twelve tracks spanning eight releases for inclusion on SongSpirit, from her first early-'60s sessions to her latest disc (Musical Echoes, 2002), in essence releasing a “greatest hits compilation--though who in jazz makes hit records?! Benjamin wisely selects an array of gems, particularly her standout original South African roots numbers “Africa and “Children of Soweto. Both are features for two close musical partners: bassist Buster Williams--whose inimitable ...

224

Album Review

Sathima Bea Benjamin: SongSpirit

Read "SongSpirit" reviewed by Andrew Rowan


Legions of jazz singers are out there these days with good chops and solid work. What is often missing, however, is that individual spark, those personal qualities that set the singer apart from the rest. Sathima Bea Benjamin possesses that spark, with a unique, aching quality in her voice that meshes well with the spirituality that informs her song readings. She can seamlessly move from mournful expression to joyous near exultation, and the SongSpirit compendium brims with these gifts.

This ...

217

Album Review

Sathima Bea Benjamin: SongSpirit

Read "SongSpirit" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone


Having had the pleasure of hearing the most recent of Sathima Bea Benjamin's albums, Musical Echoes, some six months ago, I'm hesitant to add any more superlatives now that this retrospective look at the career of one of our finest jazz vocalists is about to be released. SongSpirit covers recordings made from 1963-2002. This collection of recordings shows Benjamin's affinity for pianists and includes the participation of some of the best: including Duke Ellington, Kenny Barron, Larry Willis and, of ...

598

Megaphone

The Cape Town Jazz Scene

Read "The Cape Town Jazz Scene" reviewed by AAJ Staff


By Sathima Bea Benjamin

Its jazz is both similar and different from American jazz. First of all, at the time--the late '40s-50s--we wouldn't even call it jazz if we didn't identify so completely with Black Americans, both in social and political ways. In South Africa and Cape Town especially, you've got the White people and African people and their tribes, but the Coloreds were like a buffer zone--we were never made to feel a sense of pride in our heritage. ...


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