South African jazz pioneers Abdullah Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela reunite on stage for the first time since the end of apartheid to tell the almost forgotten story of South Africa’s most important jazz collective, The Jazz Epistles.
In 1959, South Africa’s top musicians—Hugh Masekela on trumpet, Abdullah Ibrahim on piano, Jonas Gwangwa on trombone, Kippie Moeketsi on alto saxophone, Johnny Gertze on bass and Makaya Ntshoko on drums—created what Gwen Ansell, author of Soweto Blues, described as “the first all-black modern South African jazz recording.” It was revolutionary for that time, yet its contemporary sound and controversial nature caused it to flop commercially— only 500 albums were originally printed. Forced into exile, The Jazz Epistles disbanded and their music was buried and almost forgotten.
Remarkably, Ibrahim and Masekela achieved world-wide success on their own while in exile, becoming potent symbols of the Pan-African movement. Now, half a century later, these two giants of jazz are reunited in concert. We are thrilled to welcome them to our stage at Royce Hall.