Chris Mcgregor & The Castle Lager Big Band
Jazz/The African Sound
This 1963 album is considered one of the grails of African Jazz is a document to a short lived combo that broke the mould in more ways than one, not least because they were a mixed race group in the age of apartheid. The Castle Lager Big Band was made up of seventeen musicians including Dudu Pukwana, Mongezi Feza, and Kippie Moeketsi ; leading lights of South African Jazz. The fierce ‘Early Bird’ is a highlight while the ebb and flow of the opener ‘Switch’ slinks and slopes beautifully. ‘Kippie’ is a tender, stripped back, almost sassy moment while ‘Eclipse At Dawn’ swings hard. Released with extensive sleeve notes and some previously unseen photographs by Basil Breakey this almost invisible record on its original press is finally available for a wider audience to enjoy.