Hugh Masekela – The Lasting Impressions of Ooga Booga (1965/1968)

Hugh Masekela – The Lasting Impressions of Ooga Booga
1996 Verve 531 630-2

“The Americanization of Ooga Booga” (1965)

01 – Bajabula Bonke (8:05) (Miriam Makeba)
02 – Ozinorabiro (6:38) (Miriam Makeba)
03 – Unhlanhia (5:22) (Miriam Makeba)
04 – Cantelope Island (5:28) (Herbie Hancock)
05 – U-Owi (5:26) (Hugh Masekela)
06 – Masqueneda (7:43) (Jorge Ben)
07 – Abangoma (4:04) (Miriam Makeba)
08 – Mixolydia (6:59) (Hugh Masekela)

“The Lasting Impression of Hugh Masekela” (1968)

09 – Con Mucho Carino (4:41) (Larry Willis)
10 – Where Are You Going? (7:42) (Hugh Masekela)
11 – Morola (5:05) (Hugh Masekela)
12 – Bo Masekela (4:40) (Caliphus Semenya)
13 – Unohilo (6:49) (Alan Salenga)

Hugh Masekela – Trumpet, Vocals
Larry Willis – Piano
Harold Dotson – Bass
Henry Jenkins – Drums

The human race lost a titan this week with the passing of Hugh Masekela.  I’m short on time, but it’s been about two weeks since the last post, so why not highlight this mid-90’s Verve compilation of two of his 60’s MGM albums (minus one track, “Child of the Earth” ).  Coincidentally I got this from one of my online friends a full 12 years ago, and he has since vanished.  Although people do come and go in the world of online music enthusiasts, nobody at all has heard from him in quite some time and those of us who ‘knew’ him have come to assume the worst.  He is sorely missed.  He had great taste, and a very particular way of talking about the albums he enthusiastically shared with us in long run-on sentences, so I feel compelled to actually post his blurb here about this CD:

This is the early music of Hugh Masekela recorded live at the Village Gate NYC in the winter of 1965, this is a wonderful album that he mix the afrobeat with pure jazz, and Hugh is even singing a lot, and he has the great Larry Willis on Piano, he even play four tracks written by his wife at that time Miriam Makeba, they got married in 1964 and it only last for two years, but they still recorded each others tunes on their albums even these days, so even the marriage broke up, their music relation ship lasted.

When I have more time to blog about the vast legacy that Hugh Masekela left us all, you can be sure I will do so.  Most likely with some tasty vinyl treats.  But for now I’ll just draw attention to the cover of Jorge Ben’s Mas Que Nada (spelled on the CD as “Masquenada” for some reason), which joins the club of about a thousand recordings of that tune from the mid to late 60’s.  There’s nothing particularly special about it but I just felt like pointing out an early Brazilian connection in Masekela’s diasporic, Pan-African body of work (it will appear again, for example in one of my favorite albums of his, Colonial Man), and also because scholars have been triangulating South Africa, Brazil, and the United States for a while now in a variety of comparative studies.

But mostly I just want to quietly dedicate this to my online friend “Q” who served up this platter for us all twelve years ago, may you be at rest wherever you are.

The liner notes by Zan Stewart are worth a read and are as good an introduction to Masekela and his music as any –

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  1. Thank you very much! The phrase “ooga boogah” plus the picture of him barefoot wearing a suit says it all. He was not naive but someone who knew what obstacles he would be facing. As the liner notes say, he was probably the first to play world music.

  2. I agree this iare to great early albums, but the best one for me is certainly “Grrr” from 1965, Listen at:
    Check out my career spanning memorial tribute post to Masekela on subharmonia.blogspot with my favourite tracks on and let me know of your personal favs!

  3. thanks for this brother, appreciated

  4. Loving this album, thanks~

  5. this album blows me away. thank you for the share, much love

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