According to the press release there is a good explanation as to the differences in style and intensity over the two parts of this incredible release, but both are defined by one man and his political outlook. Julian Bahula founded the ‘Malombo Jazz Makers’ in the early 60’s, and ‘Jabula’ were formed as a super group of sorts following his exile to the UK, and each project is the main contributor to each half of the compilation.
There is much more detail on the man, his legacy, and inspiration on the Strut site, which all makes for amazing reading. There are also several editions of the ‘Next Stop Soweto’ compilations that preceded this one which are essential listening. However there is something about this particular record that I am going to struggle to communicate.
Reissues of African music of all forms are two-a-penny. Many are featured on this site, and many don’t make it (after all, if you haven’t got anything nice to say…). After careful consideration and repeated listening this is not only my favourite compilation in the series, or my favourite of the year, but possibly one of the best i’ve ever heard. There’s something about the chronological and stylistic arrangement of the release that causes you to appreciate the ‘rustic’ arrangements which grow and evolve along with Bahula’s ability, in to some of the most reassuringly positive and resonating pieces of music I can remember hearing.