Next Tuesday sees the release of Strut Records' third and final volume of the excellent Next Stop… Soweto series. The first two covered township jive and R&B and psych funk. Vol.3 is subtitled "Giants, Ministers and Makers - Jazz in South Africa 1963-1984" and it chronicles the jazz musicians who did not leave the country during the dark years of apartheid. They stayed and performed under the strict auspices of the Separate Amenities Act. The album features many South African jazz greats like saxophonist Dudu Pukwana and drummer Early Mabuza, and the potent soul jazz grooves of The Heshoo Beshoo Group and The Drive. Some of the artists created unique fusions, like Philip Tabane’s Malombo, mixing African drums and hand percussion with guitar, vocal and flute. This music is a defiant statement in the face of unimaginable cultural repression. You can't help but feel uplifted when you listen and that's a pretty remarkable feat.
Trumpeter Dennis Mpale was one of the regular players on the South African jazz scene splitting time between Cape Town and Johannesburg, and he plays in several of the outfits featured on Next Stop... Soweto Vol. 3. "Orlando" comes from an album under his own name, and is a tribute to his township.