R.I.P. Hugh Masekela (1939-2018)

I woke up this morning to the very sad news that South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela had lost the long and courageous battle he had been fighting against cancer and has passed away at the age of 78. Hugh Masakela did a huge amount to establish a uniquely South African jazz tradition and much of his music was a response to the struggle against apartheid. Although some “serious” jazz fans have criticised him for `selling out’ in his forays into pop – for which he simplified his playing style considerably – this approach definitely succeeded in bringing many new people to his music. His was exactly the same approach as Louis Armstrong, actually, and I for one don’t begrudge either his commercial success.

I was fortunate to hear Hugh Masekela live many years ago at Ronnie Scott’s Club. He had a wonderful stage presence, and played a typically eclectic mix of music and it was a wonderful night that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Here’s a clip of him playing and singing that gives an idea of what the man and his music were like and just how much he will be missed.

R.I.P. Hugh Masekela (1939-2018).

2 Responses to “R.I.P. Hugh Masekela (1939-2018)”

  1. Before the Texas Symposium in Cape Town, I took a tour of the city, where Bishop Tutu’s church (cathedral?) was pointed out. It actually contains a jazz club in the cellar: https://www.thecryptjazz.com/

    • telescoper Says:

      Hugh Masekela was given his first trumpet by (Archbishop) Trevor Huddleston in return for promising to stay out of trouble…

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