19 febbraio 2016

Dalle registrazioni effettuate nel corso di due frenetiche giornate del settembre 1963 - ben ricordate nel libro di Maxine McGregor Chris McGregor and The Brotherhood of Breath (Bamberger Books, 1995) - scaturì Jazz-The African Sound, il solo album prodotto da Chris McGregor assieme alla Castle Lager Big Band, costituita in occasione del Cold Castle National Festival presso Moroka-Jabavu a Soweto, Johannesburg. Tra gli altri c'erano Dudu Pukwana, Mongezi Feza e Kippie Moeketsi (e anche Louis Moholo, alle prove e tra il pubblico). Degli esiti scriveva in copertina il pianista e leader: "I have wanted for years to hear a big band composed of the brightest stars in South African jazz and my note-books are full of projected personnel and worthwhile compositions for such a venture, the fruits of about five years of listening to and being involved with this lovely thing, jazz music in South Africa. So I can hardly claim to have been taken by surprise by the immediate possibility of such a band becoming a fact, but I must admit that it still seems a dream to me, and one in which I played my own part very badly, considering the possibilities. I can only plead that the real task of arranging came about in practice, with all members present, and that I could not possibly, in the two weeks of economic life granted us by the kindness of South African Breweries (through Union Artists) as a result of the 1963 Cold Castle National Festival, exploit possibilities and potentialities as fast as they became clear to me. I am satisfied at least that the possibilities are tremendous, because I have heard them. I hope that at least a few of them come across on this record."

L'album, fin qui introvabile, è stato ripubblicato pochi mesi fa dalla londinese Jazzman Records, in cd e in una tiratura di qualche centinaio di copie anche in vinile: http://www.jazzmanrecords.co.uk/chris-mcgregor-jazz-the-african-sound-15111

One of the most important African records of all time gets its first ever worldwide release on Jazzman! Chris McGregor's Jazz-The African Sound is a lost global jazz classic, and a true holy grail for collectors of jazz and world-jazz. A cornerstone of South Africa's illustrious jazz history, it has been out of print since before the end of apartheid. Never before released outside of the country, this painstakingly restored reissue is the long-delayed first chance to hear Chris McGregor's debut recording as leader. As well as fully restored audio, the package features unpublished photographs by Basil Breakey and new sleeve-notes by author Francis Gooding.
Ten years before the Brotherhood of Breath blew the cobwebs out of British jazz, Chris McGregor had already recorded as leader with a big band comprised of South Africa's leading jazz lights. Put together in 1963, the Castle Lager Big Band was a multi-racial group, a risky endeavour in apartheid South Africa. Modernist in outlook, and dedicated to showcasing South African composers, the 17-piece band featured a galaxy of South African jazz stars, including Dudu Pukwana, Mongezi Feza, and Kippie Moeketsi. Though the band lasted only a few weeks and played a just a handful of shows, they made it into the studio to record. The result was Jazz-The African Sound, a unique masterpiece of afro-Ellingtonia that the band hoped would put South African jazz on the international map. But history intervened, and their jazz message to the world never arrived. Until now that is, and more than fifty years after it was first recorded, Jazz-The African Sound is finally back in print.