All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Book Reviews

367

Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela

Joel Roberts By

Sign in to view read count
Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela

By Hugh Masekela and Michael Cheers

Crown Publishers
2004

Subtitled the "The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela," this powerful autobiography of the veteran jazz/ world music trumpeter is much, much more: it's the story of a man's—and a nation's—journey through tragedy, turmoil and tyranny to freedom. Set against the background of South Africa's epic struggle, it's also a highly compelling tale of a life lived to excess, fueled by love and sex and drugs and, always, music.

Masekela and co-author Michael Cheers paint an especially moving portrait of Masekela's childhood in South Africa, where, beneath the ominous shadow of racism, he enjoyed a life rich in the joys of family and ever-present music. For those unfamiliar with South African music, the authors offer an overview of this remarkable tradition, pointing out the strong cross-cultural influence of American jazz.

A pioneer in bringing South African music to the rest of the world, Masekela is a truly international artist, whose peripatetic lifestyle found him in the middle of some of the most important musical and cultural movements of the last 40 years. After fleeing South Africa in 1961, he hung out in New York with jazz icons like Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane and Miles Davis; recorded on some of Bob Marley's early reggae sessions in Jamaica; appeared at the first, fabled Monterrey Pop Festival in California; befriended Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone in the heady Flower Power years; and took part in Fela Kuti's explosive Afropop scene in Lagos. He was later a driving force behind the musical "Sarafina" and Paul Simon's Graceland tour, both of which brought South Africa's music and its struggle to wider attention in the West. He finally returned home to South Africa after thirty years in exile following the defeat of apartheid in 1991.

Told with candor, humor and a still burning rage against his oppressors, Masekela's one-of-a-kind story is ultimately the story of all South Africa, one of faith, perseverance, almost unimaginable loss, and, eventually, against all odds, victory.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Mixcloud
Interviews
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
No Borders

No Borders

Universal Music Group
2016

buy
 

Friends

Justin Time
2012

buy
Jabulani

Jabulani

Razor & Tie Entertainment
2012

buy
 

Jabulani

Justin Time
2011

buy
Phola

Phola

Times Square Records
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read Fare Thee Well: The Final Chapter of the Grateful Dead's Long, Strange Trip Book Reviews
Fare Thee Well: The Final Chapter of the Grateful...
by Doug Collette
Published: June 16, 2018
Read Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer Book Reviews
Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer
by David A. Orthmann
Published: June 3, 2018
Read As Serious As Your Life: Black Music And The Free Jazz Revolution 1957-1977 Book Reviews
As Serious As Your Life: Black Music And The Free Jazz...
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 14, 2018
Read Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 Book Reviews
Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968
by Doug Collette
Published: April 14, 2018
Read My Life in the Key of E Book Reviews
My Life in the Key of E
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: March 19, 2018
Read The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums Book Reviews
The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums
by Steve Provizer
Published: March 3, 2018
Read "The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums" Book Reviews The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums
by Steve Provizer
Published: March 3, 2018
Read "Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine" Book Reviews Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and...
by Doug Collette
Published: November 18, 2017
Read "Good Morning Blues" Book Reviews Good Morning Blues
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: January 11, 2018
Read "Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968" Book Reviews Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968
by Doug Collette
Published: April 14, 2018