August 9, 2013 – 4:55 am

HUGH MASEKELA R.I.P. 1939 - 2018

Legendary South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela has died on January 23, 2018 at the age of 78 after a decade-long fight with cancer, according to a statement from his family on Tuesday (Jan 23). Often called the “Father of South African jazz,” Masekela died in Johannesburg after what his family said was a “protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer.” Trumpeter, singer and composer Masekela, affectionately known locally as “Bra Hugh,” started playing the horn at 14 and quickly became an integral part of the 1950s jazz scene in Johannesburg as a member of the Jazz Epistles.

In the 1960s he went into exile in the United Kingdom and the United States, where he collaborated with American jazz legend Harry Belafonte and used his music to spread awareness about the oppressive system of white-minority rule in South Africa. He also scored an international number one hit in 1968 with “Grazing In The Grass.” He collaborated with many musicians including Paul Simon and Herb Alpert. He was married to South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba for two years.

Many of his compositions were about the struggle for majority rule and full democratic rights in South Africa. Masekela’s catchy composition “Bring Him Back Home” calling for Nelson Mandela to be released from prison became an international anthem for the anti-apartheid movement. “Hugh’s global and activist contribution to and participation in the areas of music, theatre, and the arts in general is contained in the minds and memory of millions across six continents,” the family statement read. In October last year, Masekela issued a statement that he had been fighting prostate cancer since 2008 and would have to cancel his professional commitments to focus on his health. He said he started treatment after doctors found a “small ‘speck’” on his bladder, and had surgery in March 2016 after the cancer spread. - Billboard

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Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Texas 2013 [no label, 2CD]

Live at Dosey Does Big Barn, The Woodlands, TX; June 13, 2013. Very good to excellent audience recording.

Thanks to BlowHole who recorded the show and sharing it at Dime; and also for the artwork.

BlowHole’s notes:

Location, Location, Location! As you’ll hear in the introduction, the Big Barn is an acoustically perfect 165-year-old tobacco barn. From any seat, you can hear almost every sound in the room from the creaking of the wooden chairs to glasses clinking. It has a small stage perfect for a two-man show. As the shows there include dinner beforehand, seating is at picnic tables. From my seat next to the stage, I had to literally rest my feet upon the stage in order to face it.

This is a stunning and unique recording. Unique in that vast majority of the sound on this recording is directly from the stage without amplification. Both [pianist] Larry Willis and [trumpeter] Hugh Masekela were about a meter away and I could have reached out to shake hands with either of them at any time. The stage was so small, there were no stage monitors and no speakers closer than Hugh and Larry. This recording is a capture of the pure ambient sound from the grand piano, flugelhorn, and vocals. Listening to the talking, there is a very clear distinction between the sound when Hugh is standing next to me and when he has moved to the other side of the stage. Only during the latter is amplified sound evident.

You can clearly hear Larry tapping his foot while playing, Hugh clearing his spit valve, tightening one of his valves that came loose, and if you listen carefully, Hugh instructing Larry back to the head or tail of the song coming out of a jam. Yes, you even hearing the creaking of the wooden chairs. At lower volumes, this may sound like a static pop. At higher volume, this is clearly heard to be a squeaking chair. This recording is likely the closest that you’ll ever come to having two jazz legends performing for you in your living room.

Additional notes:

Longtime friends and former bandmates Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis have now completed a very short tour celebrating the 50 years they have been friends and played together after meeting at the Manhattan School of Music in 1963. (Their school mates there included Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Donald Byrd, and a who’s who of later jazz greats.)

Hugh and Larry just completed a 10- city, 16- show tour stretching from one coast to the other and starting in the middle. Dosey Does is an intimate around-300-person venue inside of an acoustically perfect, 165-year-old barn that was relocated there from Kentucky. This tour is a celebration of their friendship, their music, and those jazz standards that they always loved so much. The music they played was a combination of those early songs they played together on the Ooga Booga record and the standards of Armstrong, Monk, Holliday, Hancock, and others. Watching the two of them on stage and hearing the stories of coming of age together, you get a real feel of the friendship, love, and admiration they share. This tour is indeed very special to them as they get to re-explore their musical chemistry on stage and to wind down their careers as they began. May they both continue to play and play together for many more years!

Recording: Edirol R-09 using internal mics > PC > Sound Forge for tracking and gently limiting audience applause > Traders Little Helper for encoding to FLAC. 44.1khz/16bit wav
Position - Pure stage recording with almost no amplification from my location. Front Row against the stage. One meter from Larry Willis and his piano and one meter from Hugh Masekela.
A Fly On The Tarp Production.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Please Do Not Hammer The Links. Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. The tracks should still be around. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

The names following each title is not to give credit to the songwriter, but rather to the musician that inspired Hugh and Larry to learn the song.

Disc 1
Track 101. Introduction (4.4MB)
Track 102. Hi-Fly (Art Blakey) (19.1MB)
Track 103. Talk - The Story of Larry And I (16.0MB)
Track 104. Easy Living (Billy Holliday) (13.2MB)
Track 105. Abangoma (Miriam Makeba) (14.9MB)
Track 106. When It’s Sleepy Time Down South (Louis Armstrong) (19.2MB)
Track 107. Talk - Fats Waller (1.3MB)
Track 108. Until The Real thing Comes Along (Fats Waller) (8.9MB)

Disc 2
Track 201. Talk - Thelonious Monk (1.7MB)
Track 202. Monk’s Mood (Thelonious Monk) (14.5MB)
Track 203. Talk - Hi To Joe Sample (The Crusaders) and Charlie Parker (3.0MB)
Track 204. Billy’s Bounce (13.9MB)
Track 205. Talk - Into To Bajabula Bonke (1.3MB)
Track 206. Bajabula Bonke (Miriam Makeba) (9.7MB)
Track 207. Rockin’ Chair (Armstrong) (9.8MB)
Track 208. Talk - Into To Grazing In The Grass (1.5MB)
Track 209. Grazing In The Grass (11.0MB)
Track 210. Applause (1.1MB)
Track 211. Talk - Manhattan School Of Music (2.0MB)
Track 212. Cantelope Island (Herbie Hancock) (14.2MB)

Click here to order the four-CD Friends by Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis, released in 2012.

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  1. 7 Responses to “HUGH MASEKELA AND LARRY WILLIS - TEXAS 2013”

  2. Thanks again, bigO!

    By NAMoosedog on Aug 10, 2013

  3. Very cool show, what I’ve heard so far. They got the spelling of the title of track 212 incorrect though. It’s Cantaloupe Island.

    By Motorvilleboy on Aug 15, 2013

  4. Two giants of jazz!I remember Larry with BS&T for many years

    By eric on Aug 20, 2013

  5. A really special show, great talent on display here.

    By Jack on Aug 22, 2013

  6. tx for this one !!!

    By fruchtas on Jan 24, 2018

  7. Great stuff. Thanks.

    By Kurt on Jan 30, 2018

  8. Wow, I’m commenting on this a second time! I have tickets to see Hugh and Abdullah Ibrahim in April and have been so excited! It was a Jazz Epistles tribute. Hugh pulled out of it and was substituted. Now I guess it will be a Hugh Masekela tribute. RIP.

    By Motorvilleboy on Feb 3, 2018

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