Tete Mbambisa was one of the most gifted pianists and composers of the 1950’s. He has kept the original and unique 1950’s sound alive, and has nurtured many of today’s best young jazz talents. With his inventive piano playing, Tete Mbambisa helped to preserve South Africa’s acoustic jazz tradition during the genre’s decline in the 1970’s and 1980’s. In addition to performing as a soloist, Mbambisa often accompanies vocalist Ncediwe Sylvia Mdunyelwa.
here’s the b-side to ‘Past Time’ released in 1979 as a 45 on The Sun label.
In the middle of the 1976 uprising, Tete Mbambisa took an octet into the studio to record ‘Tete’s Big Sound’. The date of recording sessions were in February 1976 and the LP was reissued by Roots in 1989 as well on CD in 1995**
For three decades the big sound of Tete Mbambisa had not been heard. This is despite general agreement amongst musicians that the 67-year old musician is one of South Africa’s greatest composers and pianists.
Fellow blogger Matt@Matsuli added the following additional info; …in addition to the February 1976 sessions that resulted in the Tete’s Big Sound LP there are a number of unreleased reels that Matsuli Music/As-Shams will be releasing later this year. Stay tuned…
At the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival 2008 Tete hosted a sextet to play his own compositions. Joining Mbambisa on stage were Barney Rachabane (alto saxophonist); Ezra Ngcukana (tenor and soprano saxophone); Feya Faku (trumpet and flugelhorn); Herbie Tsoaeli (contrabass) and Ayanda Sikade (drums). Rachabane is the only member apart from Mbambisa of the 1976 octet who is still alive. Rachabane’s association with Mbambisa goes back to 1964 when they were members of a quintet. Ngcukana was a guest in a recording of The Brothers – a band that was made up of Mbambisa, saxophonist Duke Makasi, bassist Victor Ntoni and Lulu Gontsana. Ngcukana and Mbambisa also played together in Xhosa Nostra. Feya Faku comes out of the Soul Jazzmen school – a band that is a music institution in Port Elizabeth. In the 1970’s, Mbambisa was not only with the Soul Jazzmen, he is featured in the recordings of the group such as Intlupheko. Faku and Mbambisa have played together as sidemen of Winston Mankunku Ngozi and Sylvia Mdunyelwa. The path of the two musicians also crossed recently when they worked on the soundtrack of the movie Sophiatown. Although now based in Johannesburg, Tsoaeli’s musical career began in Cape Town where Mbambisa currently stays with his family. Like Mbambisa, Tsoaeli is known for his lyricism and is bassist of choice for many jazz musicians in South Africa. He is currently based in Johannesburg and is a member of the Zim Ngqawana Quartet.*
*excerpts from a press release for the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival 2008 and thanks to Craig Harris, All Music Guide
** thanks to Chris@ElectricJive for the additional info
On December 4th 2012 @Macazozo and @Ndumiso added the following update
Greetings, you can find Bra Tete’s latest album online:
The African Music Store (Long Street, Cape Town) and High Fidelity (Killarney Mall, Joburg) have copies too.
You can keep up to date on his music via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JISArecords