South Africa’s The Jazz Epistles Reunites for the First Time in 56 Years on South African Freedom Day at Town Hall
The Town Hallhttp://thetownhall.org/
123 West Forty-Third Street, New York, NY 10036
This show, presented by Town Hall and the heavyweight Greenwich Village club Le Poisson Rouge, encompasses so much history. First, the bebop group, The Jazz Epistles, created the first major jazz recording to be introduced to the world (The Jazz Epistles, Verse 1) by incredible South African black jazz musicians. Recorded when the ruthless apartheid system ruled the beautiful country, the subversive album was deemed revolutionary for the time period. But because of its exploration into the modern sounds of jazz, it bombed as far as record sales goes. Its 500 pressed copies was later to be valued as a prized find. But the band never truly got off the ground. The apartheid regime, fearing the sound of freedom the music inspired, forced the group members into exile—foremost among them the brilliant pianist Dollar Brand (now known as Abdullah Ibrahim) and the today-superstar trumpeter Hugh Masekela.
For the first time since they recorded their controversial album in 1959, Ibrahim and Masekela will reunite in North America to revisit the music. The concert will take place on April 27, South Africa Freedom Day, which commemorates the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. Special show that’s not be missed. —Dan Ouellette