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MUSICIAN Born:

Winston Mankunku Ngozi

He was born in Retreat, Western Cape, in 1943, the first child in a musical family. He played piano at the age of seven, and later clarinet and trumpet. In his mid-teens he learned the alto and tenor saxophone. He cites John Coltrane, local saxophonist "Cups & Saucers", pianist Merton Barrow, as well as bassist Midge Pike as major influences. Mankunku chose to remain in his native Cape Town during apartheid. This meant that he was subjected to the Separate Amenities Act and similar apartheid legislation. A classic tale tells of his performance with an all-white big band in the Cape Town City Hall in 1964, where, because a mixed-race band was unlawful, he was forced to play behind a curtain so as to remain out of sight. In 1968 he recorded the famous blockbuster "Yakhal' Inkomo", with Early Mabuza, Agrippa Magwaza and Lionel Pillay

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Sisonke Xonti: A Leap of Faith

Read "Sisonke Xonti: A Leap of Faith" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

Known for years as an outstanding saxophonist and first-call collaborator in a variety of top South African Jazz ensembles, in recent years Sisonke Xonti has rightly earned acclaimed for his own talents as a bandleader and a composer. Notably, Xonti's 2017 debut release Iyonde not only provided a stellar showcase for his superlative horn ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Those Who Remained Behind, Part 1

Read "Those Who Remained Behind, Part 1" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

Many Jazz artists leave South Africa for exile in the 1960s and 1970s, but many remain behind, facing horrifying working conditions and oppression. In these two episodes, we'll explore their music and their efforts to resist apartheid within South Africa. Playlist Chris McGregor and the Castle Lager Big Band “Now" from Jazz/The African Sound ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Dan Shout: In With a Shout

Read "Dan Shout: In With a Shout" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

While it might be a cliché to say it, one can expect the unexpected when listening to the music of Dan Shout. An exceptional saxophonist and composer, the Cape Town-based artist has also built a sterling track record of creating highly distinctive and exciting albums. While he initially made a splash in 2012 with ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Dave Ledbetter: Diversity and Unity

Read "Dave Ledbetter: Diversity and Unity" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

Even the most cursory listen to South African music yields an embarrassment of riches in the realm of guitar talents. Indeed, throughout the country's musical history innovative figures have forged a near universe of unique approaches to the instrument, fusing the many musical traditions of Southern Africa with popular styles into a staggering array ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Nicky Schrire: Permission to Be Yourself

Read "Nicky Schrire: Permission to Be Yourself" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

To follow the recordings of Cape Town-based vocalist and composer Nicky Schrire is to watch an artist evolve right in front of your eyes. With her 2012 debut Freedom Flight, Schrire demonstrated a supple soprano vocal technique and a knack for intelligent arrangements of unusual repertoire choices. Following it up the next year with ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Destination South Africa (Part 2)

Read "Destination South Africa (Part 2)" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

One episode was not enough, so we needed more time to cover the South African scene. This week we look back at an earlier phase of the history of jazz in South Africa, focusing on some foundational bands and musicians, and the musicians they inspired both in South African and elsewhere. Playlist Ben Allison ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Yakhal' Inkomo: A South African Masterpiece at Fifty

Read "Yakhal' Inkomo: A South African Masterpiece at Fifty" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

On July 23, 1968, a now-legendary recording session took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, one that would ultimately prove a defining moment in the country's Jazz history and development. Led by tenor saxophonist Winston Mankunku Ngozi, a quartet that included pianist Lionel Pillay, bassist Agrippa Magwaza, and drummer Early Mabuza would record the album Yakhal' Inkomo. ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Salim Washington: To Be Moved to Speak

Read "Salim Washington: To Be Moved to Speak" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

To audiences in Boston or New York, Salim Washington is not just a great musician, he is a community builder. Having first established the Roxbury Blues Aesthetic, then the Harlem Arts Ensemble, Washington has throughout his career carefully nurtured collectives of musicians who in turn generated irreplaceable music scenes at venues like Connolly's in Boston and ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Linda Sikhakhane: Two Sides, One Mirror

Read "Linda Sikhakhane: Two Sides, One Mirror" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

Though it has not received the level of press attention it warrants, South Africa's Jazz scene of the past decade has experienced an astonishing flourishing of artistry and development. While the scene lost some of its titans like Zim Ngqawana, Winston Mankunku Ngozi, and Bheki Mseleku, it has also found new paths through the efforts of ...


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