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date: 20 April 2021

Masekela, Hugh (Ramopolo)locked

  • Louise Meintjes



(b Witbank, South Africa, April 4, 1939; d Johannesburg, Jan 23, 2018). Jazz trumpeter, flugelhorn player, singer, composer, and spokesperson for the anti-apartheid movement. His style is characterized by an extensive use of melodies exploiting the upper registers of his instruments, ‘half-valve’ effects, and repeated figures; his music brings together elements of jazz, rhythm and blues, South African jive, Afropop, and the township styles of the late 20th century.

At the age of 14 he played in the Father Huddleston Jazz Band, and in 1959 he co-founded the Jazz Epistles with the trombonist Jonas Gwangwa, the clarinettist and saxophonist Kippie Moeketsi, and the pianist Dollar Brand. Masekela first travelled overseas in a touring production of the musical King Kong; he emigrated to the USA in 1961, where he remained in exile for three decades. During the 1960s he played a form of African cool jazz and his career flourished; ...

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The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz