Chris McGregor and the brotherhood of breath: my life with a South African Jazz Pioneer / by Maxine McGregor.
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In a grand tour de force, Maxine McGregor sweeps the reader through the life of Chris McGregor (1936-90) and the jazz groups he had put together, and many tortuous yet exhilarating music journeys. The book addresses Chris in the context of the social coherence of African sound and culture, amid the release and logic of free jazz, and through the engagements of a quarter century in the European jazz theatre. With the Blue Notes first and later the Brotherhood of Breath and various formations in between, Chris and his band of brothers and the occasional sister too, showed Europe the music of one "breath", the breath of humanity, for which there was no place in apartheid South Africa. In the early 1960s, Chris and his sleep-starved Blue Note brothers - Mongezi Feza, Nik Moyake, Johnny Dyani, Louis Moholo, Dudu Pukwana - wished with their music to show apartheid South Africa the beauty of the human spirit transcending difference. This project withered in the mire of apartheid laws militating against the move and pause of black South Africans, and so they chose exile. Maxine McGregor takes the reader on a rollercoaster, riding the physical hardship suffered and the philosophical transcendence achieved by Chris and his groups while producing a catalogue of jazz albums.
Take the ride from the Vortex on Long Street, Cape Town to the clubs of Europe, from the 1950s to the 1990s, and find a sociology and politics of art and music, of Chris striving together with kindred spirits to make the world a better place.
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