Various Artists: Next Stop…Soweto Vol.3: The Giants, Ministers & Makers: Jazz In South Africa 1963-1984

Various Artists: Next Stop…Soweto Vol.3:The Giants, Ministers & Makers: Jazz In South Africa 1963-1984
With the world’s eyes firmly planted on the World Cup in South Africa, what better time for Strut Records to release the third and final installment of their Next Stop…Soweto series? As with the rest of the series, Vol. 3 focuses on the music of South Africa but unlike the other volumes, this one focuses specifically on jazz.
African jazz has a long and storied legacy. Strut Records has released several compilations of Mulatu Astatke, Ethiopia and perhaps the African continent’s finest jazz musician. Focusing specifically on jazz made in South Africa during the Apartheid rule sheds light on a new group of jazz musicians that would have otherwise gone completely unknown in the outside world.
The influence of jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington are easily felt in the music. “Dedication (To Daddy Trane And Brother Shorter)” by Mankunku Quartet features a hard bop sound similar to Miles DavisKind of Blue while the track title obvious eludes to jazz pioneers John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter.
But not mean every selection on the CD is heady jazz. As with the other volumes of the compilation, Volume 3 shows a great swath of influences in South African music. Allen Kwela Octet’s “Question Mark” features a funk drum beat suitable for The Jackson 5 while more than capable saxophonists and guitarist solo over it. The track features no vocals but the musicianship more than makes up for it.
I am not sure if volume 3 is the most successful of the Next Stop…Soweto series but for fans of jazz, the album will surely delight. The album delivers a great sampling of the variations of jazz in South Africa during the apartheid rule.
Rating: 7.2/10
MP3: Allen Kwela Octet “Question Mark”

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