a recent find blew my mind. Especially two tracks from ” Brotherhood Of Breath “, a self-titled LP from 1971, with two great tunes written by alto saxophonist Dudu Pakwana; ‘Mra’ and ‘The Bride’. An album that fuses the influence of African music, jazz-rock, and free improvisation. Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath shares affinities with the ’70s music of Don Cherry and Miles Davis. Rare and unusual Afro Free Jazz by Chris McGregor with the very first version of his band The Brotherhood of Breath.
The Brotherhood of Breath was a big-band, essentially an extension of McGregor’s previous band The Blue Notes, created in the late 1960s by South African pianist/composer Chris McGregor (1936-1990).
The Brotherhood of Breath included many members of the South African expatriate community resident in London, including McGregor himself, Louis Moholo, Harry Miller, Mongezi Feza, Dudu Pukwana, (occasionally) Johnny Dyani; and many of the free jazz musicians who were based in London at the same time: Lol Coxhill, Evan Parker, Paul Rutherford, Harry Beckett, Marc Charig, Alan Skidmore, Mike Osborne, Elton Dean, Nick Evans, and John Surman.
The personnel was fluid, depending on who was available. The music resembles a mixture of the hard-driving blues of Charles Mingus and the wild experimentalism of Sun Ra, but retains a unique feel due to the South African influences and the intelligent arrangements.
The original Brotherhood Of Breath ended in the late 70’s, with the deaths of Mongezi Feza and Harry Miller (whose label, Ogun Records, released some of the Brotherhood’s albums.) McGregor formed a second version of the group in France in the early 80’s. In 1987, a third edition was formed with African and British musicians such as Annie Whitehead. In this incarnation the music was more tightly arranged and controlled, with less free improvisation.
Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood Of Breath
Neon (RCA) Catalog#: NE 2. Released: 1971 UK
Bass – Harry Miller
Clarinet – Ronnie Beer
Cornet – Marc Charig
Drums – Louis Moholo
Flute – Mike Osborne , Mongezi Feza
Percussion – Louis Moholo
Piano – Chris McGregor
Saxophone – Alan Skidmore , Dudu Pukwana , John Surman , Mike Osborne , Ronnie Beer
Trombone – Malcolm Griffiths , Nick Evans
Trumpet – Harry Beckett , Mongezi Feza
Xylophone – Chris McGregor
A2 Davashe’s Dream
A3 The Bride
B2 Night Poem
B3 Union Special
text contains excerpts from source Wiki