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Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela has an extensive jazz background and credentials, but has enjoyed major success as one of the earliest leaders in the world fusion mode. Masekela's vibrant trumpet and flügelhorn solos have been featured in pop, R&B, disco, Afro-pop, and jazz contexts. He's had American and international hits, worked with bands around the world, and played with African, African-American, European, and various American musicians during a stellar career. His style, especially on flügelhorn, is a charismatic blend of striking upper-register lines, half-valve effects, and repetitive figures and phrases, with some note bending, slurs, and tonal colors. Though he's often simplified his playing to fit into restrictive pop formulas, Masekela is capable of outstanding ballad and bebop work.

He began singing and playing piano as a child, influenced by seeing the film Young Man with a Horn at 13. Masekela started playing trumpet at 14. He played in the Huddleston Jazz Band, which was led by anti-apartheid crusader and group head Trevor Huddleston. Huddleston was eventually deported, and Masekela co-founded the Merry Makers of Springs along with Jonas Gwangwa. He later joined Alfred Herbert's Jazz Revue, and played in studio bands backing popular singers. Masekela was in the orchestra for the musical King Kong, whose cast included Miriam Makeba. He was also in the Jazz Epistles with Abdullah Ibrahim, Makaya Ntshoko, Gwanga, and Kippie Moeketsi. Masekela and Makeba, his wife at that time, left South Africa one year before Ibrahim and Sathima Bea Benjamin in 1961. Such musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, John Dankworth, and Harry Belafonte assisted him. Masekela studied at the Royal Academy of Music, then the Manhattan School of Music. During the early '60s, his career began to explode. He recorded for MGM, Mercury, and Verve, developing his hybrid African/pop/jazz style. Masekela moved to California and started his own record label, Chisa. He cut several albums expanding this formula and began to score pop success. The song "Grazing in the Grass" topped the charts in 1968 and eventually sold four million copies worldwide. That year Masekela sold out arenas nationwide during his tour, among them Carnegie Hall. He recorded in the early '70s with Monk Montgomery & the Crusaders.

Masekela moved in a more ethnic direction during the '70s. He traveled to London to play with Nigerian Afro-beat great Fela Kuti & Africa 70; then came a session with Dudu Pukwana, Eddie Gomez, and Ntshoko, among others, that resulted in his finest jazz/African album, Home Is Where the Music Is. Masekela toured Guinea with the Ghanian Afro-pop band Hedzoleh Soundz, then recorded a series of albums with them both in California and Africa with guest stints from the Crusaders, Patti Austin, and others. Masekela alternated between America and Africa, cutting a successful pop/dance album with Herb Alpert in the late '70s. During the '80s, Masekela returned to South Africa. He visited Zimbabwe and Botswana, and recorded two albums with the Kalahari Band that once more merged jazz-rock, funk, and pop. Masekela was part of Paul Simon's Graceland tour in the mid-'80s, while he continued recording and produced sessions by Makeba. Starting in the mid-'90s, Masekela began releasing a stream of albums and collections that showed his versatility and growth in South African jazz. He continued to be active into the first decade of the 21st century, issuing Live at the Market Theatre in 2007, Phola in 2009, and a pair of albums in 2012, Friends (with Larry Willis) and Jabulani, inspired by South African wedding traditions Masekela remembered from his childhood. Though the jazz content of his work has varied over the years, Hugh Masekela has far more material on the plus side than the negative. ~ Ron Wynn
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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Great. Sound!!!
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jrdevelopmen t
One of the greatest musical genius from the Mother Land. His is a bold freedom walk that inspires.... w h a t a legacy!
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have long had a profound respect for Mr Masekela.... s u c h a brave and profound sound..much Freedom in his artiistry Dark.
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johnicole200 0
Really nice sound !!
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Really great Trumpet artist his specific trumpet sounds he can really get up there. Absolutely love his artistry.
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bryana.smith 2
Never heard of him but I love this
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he okay on music
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One of the best to ever play and I say this whole hearted travel around the world heard all of the greats he on my list as one of the best ever
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Play it pretty for me Mr. Hugh MaseKela.... . . . . . . . Y E A H baby!!!
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Good music
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this man has been making social comment through his music for generations
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gold....list e n
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Music is awesome
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linksgayaren a
From the Fleetwood juiceie peace
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Lotta soul...
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I said iPhone 5 times
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H-Town~Groov i n ' "In The Jungle"
We-Be-OnIt Funking-For- T h e - W o r l d
LOVE'S Disciple*978 * ~ 7 m 1 4 y ~
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Gotta mellow to this one! YEAAAAAAAAAA ! That's JAZZ BABY!
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Drop it.
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tevaite_2000
Deusludi got off that if you don't do this something bad will happen, thats sooooo dumb .
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This freaked me out! This isn't fake. Apparently if you copy and paste this on ten comments you will have the best day of your life tomorrow. You will either get kissed or asked out. If you break the chain you will see a dead girl in your room tonight. In the next 53 minutes someone will say I love you or I'm sorry (;-;)
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This guy is so nice , I wish Pandora could play it twice.
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afrokimono
I have great childhood memories of my father playing his albums (remember those things, guys?!).
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I really dig this guy's music. I like his personal style and also love the unique sound that African jazz brings to the table.
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Hey Kj, I had some memorable times at the monument grounds...an d all those good concerts-FRE E ! An Eastern Rambler.
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shirley.good l u c k
I heard this man's music once before and tried my very best to recall his name. I am so very glad that i am once again enjoying his wonderful music.

shirley
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I can remember being introduced to this great man's music while in Vietnam in 1968. Supply sargeant had a music room set up back of building. He used to share his sounds and herb. Memorable nights so long ago.
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I can remember that back in DC, all ethnic groups accepted each other, laid blankets down on the monument grounds and grooved to free concerts.
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This takes my mind to a crazier time, and my spirit to a warmer place.
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Whenever I listen to Hugh Masekela songs especially this one, it puts a smile on my face & warms my heart. Masekela, Davis, Herbie Hancock & Donald Byrd my all time favorites
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iamwessmith
Hugh is also the father of X-Games host Sal Masekela
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xfurbyx1011
Delightful to listen to. Very moving and nostalgic. A respectful man.
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Enchanting virtuoso unique trumpeter composer and arranger with a very special world fusion self formed style. Always moves my soul.
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Richard King Jim King Play Hugh Masekela Hi Life Every Sunday Morning From Eight in Morning Till Two in Afternoon.
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4U4US4LOVE4L I F E - R G M
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Wow, first time hearing this, Definately awsome
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donamechee
Hugh is The Man! Been a fan since his first album, The Americanizat i o n of Ooga Booga. I agree with mikki810 that HIgh LIfe is one of his smoother cuts. Used to listen to it every morning before heading out to work. It was originally available on the Meloday Maker album but you can find it now on the The Boy's Doin' It CD. Uptownship is also a great CD. For the jazz purists, Hugh also cut an all jazz album called The African Connection. Great music but good luck finding that one now.
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This Bio misses perhaps the highpoint of his early life , He was given a 'Golden Trumpet', from none other than Louis Armstrong on on a visit to South Africa as The U.S. Cultural Jazz Ambassador. From that 'Promethean Moment', the die was cast, as to career. Hewas also born April 4th, SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY HUGH!
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mikki810
Hugh Masekela does a song called 'High Life'. If you hear it one time, you'll love it for the rest of your life, it's hard to find though, so good luck.
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His sound appeals to me for its raw , intensive power. Uninhibited or disciplined to restraint. He's Cool Man, with the Capital C
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thatchickwit h t h a i r
Listening to Grazing in the Grass... this guy is a gem.
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louderr7
His political songs were the bomb too. This is one of the most important artists of our time.
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M_reigns
Never forget him opening for Cannon Ball Aderly at the bottom line in 67 with his knee high sheepskin Ughs belting out BONJAh BULEH BONKE!!!. and then chanting and hopping up and down the stage like his thighs were an unlimitted/u n d e m i s h i b l e resource of energy, whailing with the veins of his neck popping blowing and alternately chanting Bonja Bule Bonke!!!... I can still sing every word of it, and have no idea what I'm whailing at the top of my lungs... YOU HAVE TO HEAR IT... it will be well wor
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great stuff..thank s P.
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Been a fan since 1968 with Grazing in the grass.
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I was in Nairobi,Keny a trying to take a nap when I first heard Hugh's trumpet. Brought me out of the depths of sleep...I was mesmerized and it got underneath my skin, I was transformed and transfixed! You must hear Stimela live if you never have...UNfu! @ # i n
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I'm convinced he will change your life. His music is fantastic and I'm hooked on "The Lasting Impressions of Ooga Booga" right now...
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diesode3
Please would you be kind enough to play the entire album 'The Boy's Doin'It?'
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robin.lattin
"The Boy's Doin it"!!!! Haven't heard this is a while. Pandora did good with this straight up Masekela Banger!!!!@! Now, if only they would play Bring Back Nelson Mandela!
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i would like to hear lasting impressions of ooga booga. the name alone crcks me up. eenie weenie chile beeny the spirits are about to speak.
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