Saturday, December 24, 2022

Brotherhood of Birth


Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath - Duku

Happy Christmas Eve to all who celebrate! And speaking of celebration, it's birthday tribute time.

And celebrate we shall, with what would have been the 86th b'day of probably the most significant Jazz cat ever born in South Africa not named Hugh Masekela.

I first heard of Chris McGregor when I got into this tremendous record label back in the 1980s called Ogun, an imprint which, to my knowledge, has never produced one single release that wasn't a masterpiece for the ages.

Jumping off into the Louis Moholo end of the Ogun pool -- he's a drummer that I swear I am gonna cover on this page someday very soon -- it wasn't long until I found my way to a group in which Louis drummed for years, called The Brotherhood of Breath.

The leader and mastermind of this group -- and pretty much the only white guy in the 14-man band -- is today's honoree, not just a stellar musician but an anti-Apartheid warrior from ancient times and an undeniable force majeure in the history of the music of South Africa.

Our hero began in Johannesburg in the early 1960s with a group called The Blue Notes, in which he first found the company of giants like reeds deity Dudu Pukwana and trumpet master Mongezi Feza, both of whom he would later recruit for the Brotherhood of Breath.

By the end of the 1960s he formed the first version of that seminal group, recording and touring it around the globe before his (too soon) death from lung cancer in 1990.

In 1981, he and the BoB did a week's residency at a club in France, the last two nights of which are where their tremendous live LP Yes Please -- never issued on CD or streaming in the digi-age -- comes from.

Lucky for us that France Musique, in 2014, had the good sense to rebroadcast an entire show from earlier in that residency, huh?

Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath
Festival d'Angoulême
Théâtre Municipal
Angoulême, France

01 Sonia
02 Duku
03 Maxine
04 Human and Animals
05 Kwa Tebugo I
06 Andromeda
07 Uqonda
08 Burning Bush
09 Sea Breeze
10 Atlantic Island Dreams
11 Duke
 12 CM announcements
13 Kwa Tebugo II
14 Yes Please

Total time: 2:09:55
disc break goes after Track 07

Chris McGregor - piano & flute
Harry Beckett - trumpet & flugehorn
Mark Charig - cornet & alto horn
David DeFries - trumpet & flugehorn
Peter Segone - trumpet
Nick Evans - trombone
Radu Malfatti - trombone
André Goudbeek - alto saxophone & bass clarinet
Bruce Grant - baritone saxophone, oboe & flute
John Tchicai - alto saxophone
Louis Sclavis - soprano saxophone, clarinet & bass clarinet
François Jeanneau - soprano & tenor saxophones, bass clarinet
Caroline Collins - cello
Didier Levallet - double bass
Ernest "Shololo" Mothle - electric bass
Brian Abrahams - drums
Jean-Claude Montredon - drums
the ensemble, as well as the audience, is responsible for the vocals in Track 04

digital capture of a 2014 France Musique 256/48k digital rebroadcast of the complete concert
spectral analysis goes past 22k, so this is equivalent to a pre-broadcast source
volume boosted throughout & converted to 16/44 CD Audio -- with a couple of dropouts repaired -- by EN, December 2022
700 MB FLAC/direct link

OK? I'll be back after Christmas so don't drink to much grog or you'll miss out!

And of course we remember Chris McGregor -- one of those rare people who are able to utilize music to lead by example to a better place for everyone -- who was born on Christmas Eve in 1936.--J.

12.24.1936 - 5.26.1990