Pat Matshikiza / Kippie Moketsi - Tshona! LPWe Are Busy Bodies (Canada)
As a member of the all-star Jazz Epistles in the late 1950s, saxophonist Kippie Moeketsi (also spelled Moketsi during his tenure with the As-Shams record label in the 1970s) was one of the pioneering forces of modern South African jazz. While Jazz Epistles bandmates Hugh Masekela and Abdullah Ibrahim would go on to build their careers in the United States in the 1970s, it was at home in South Africa that Moeketsi would leave his mark on the domestic jazz discography. From the outset of record store owner Rashid Vally's forays into the production of independent jazz in the early 1970s, Kippie Moeketsi played a key role, notably as a featured sideman on Abdullah Ibrahim's Dollar Brand Plus 3 in 1973. While Moeketsi had a reputation as a great interpreter of standards with a firm grasp of jazz as an American idiom, he notably steps into deep South African jazz territory with a pair of his own compositions on the album Tshona! (released on Vally's nascent As-Shams/The Sun label in 1975). With equal participation from pianist Pat Matshikiza (also a well established South African jazz figure at the time), Tshona! emerges as one of the great South African jazz collaborations of the 1970s and is revered as a canonical recording from this era. Moeketsi and Matshikiza were flanked by the Soweto's hottest rhythm section by way of drummer Sipho Mabuse and bassist Alec Khaoli of Harari and featured on tenor sax was none other than Basil Coetzee, who's contribution to Abdullah Ibrahim's breakout hit record Mannenbeg - 'Is Where It's Happening' the year prior had earned him the esteemed appellation Basil "Mannenberg" Coetzee. With the album cover bearing a playful illustration of a pair of township thugs by artist Mafa Ngwenya, Tshona! is the ultimate jazz document of its time and place - modern, urban, original, authentic and unmistakably South Africa. Moeketsi and Matshikiza would continue to record together for As-Shams/The Sun with Moeketsi featured on Pat Mathsikiza's Sikiza Matshikiza album in 1976. Matshikiza returned the favour in 1977, appearing on Moeketsi's Blue Stompin' album, which featured the Hal Singer Quartet on the title track.