South Africa / USA
“ ... and Hugh Masekela’s music was as black as night”, Eric Burdon reported from the Monterey Pop Festival, which took place in the “Summer of Love” 1967. The trumpeter Masekela, born in 1939 in South Africa already succeeded in enrapturing a colourful pop audience with the “shit from home” as he put it—his afro jazz. This musician, married to Miriam Makeba and who found a mentor in Harry Belafonte, was simply too flexible for stereotyping. He played jazz with Dollar Brand (aka Abdullah Ibrahim), rocked with The Byrds, made a pop hit in 1968 with “Grazing in the Grass”, invented afro funk at the side of Fela Kuti, and entered the dance charts in 1984 with “Don´t go lose it Baby”—and he fought against apartheid. Since the early 1990ies, the bustling politically and socially minded musician has been living in South Africa again. Masekela and the pianist Larry Willis are old friends, they studied together in the early 60ies at the Manhattan School of Music, recorded the formidable 4 CD box “Friends” with standards and two Michel Legrand compositions: “Almost like being in Jazz” (as the title of an older album ironically goes).