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Hugh Masekela: The father of South African jazz

todayDecember 17, 2021

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The late Hugh Ramapolo Masekela is revered in both the African and international jazz scene in equal measure. The decorated son of a health inspector and sculptor Hugh found his inspiration for music after watching the acclaimed 1950 film “The man with a Horn”.

Hugh would later join the Municipal Brass Band and later become a member of the Huddleston Jazz Band, South Africa’s first Orchestra band. The brilliance of the band attracted the attention of American singer Louis Armstrong. A fete which earned Hugh another trumpet as a gift from the singer.

The tumultuous apartheid period in the 1960s led Hugh to flee the country where he got an opportunity to attend the Manhattan School of Music to study classical trumpet from 1960 to 1964

In his best years, Hugh Masekela was a high flier on the international stage and as a result, was nominated three times at the Grammy Awards. The nominations were for “Jabulani” as the Best World Music Album, Sarafina! The Music of Liberation for the Best Musical and the Best Contemporary Pop Performance for the song “Grazing in the Grass”.

Hugh Masekela succumbed to prostate cancer.

source: mamadj

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