We are deeply saddened by the passing of legendary South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, who died on January 23 after a long battle with cancer. A beloved artist and voice for social justice, Hugh graced the stage at Royce Hall on numerous occasions, most recently on his 2012 Jabulani tour. Our upcoming performance by Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya in Tribute to the Jazz Epistles will celebrate Hugh’s pioneering spirit, generosity and musical genius. Hugh will be greatly missed and our sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends and fans around the world. You may read the Masekela Family Statement.
Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya with Freddie Hendrix in the trumpet chair will present a concert program in tribute to South Africa’s first recorded jazz group The Jazz Epistles. The Jazz Epistles were South Africa’s first black jazz band and important contributors to modern jazz. Inspired by Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, the band came into existence after the Dollar Brand Trio from Cape Town combined talents with alto saxophone king Kippie Moeketsi from Johannesburg and his two protégés, trumpeter Hugh Masekela and trombonist Jonas Gwangwa. Dollar Brand would later be known as Abdullah Ibrahim and his Trio included Johnny Gertze on bass, and Early Mabuza or Makaya Ntshoko on drums.
New arrangements of The Jazz Epistles original compositions from their 1959 recording, Jazz Epistle, Verse 1, including “Blues for Huey,” “Scullery Department,” “Carols Drive,” “Vary – oo – Vum,” “Dollars Moods,” “Gafsa,” and “Uku Janga Phambili,” will be woven into a beautiful concert program with Abdullah Ibrahim’s classic catalogue.
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Funds provided by the Royce Gala Endowment.