Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela – Rejoice
World Circuit Records
LP – DL – CD
Billed as ‘Two Giants of African Music coming together for a special collaboration’ and it’s fair to say that the first posthumous release from Masekela is ‘a union of two free-flowing souls for whom borders, whether physical or stylistic, are things to pass through or ignore completely.’
Right from when you pick up this record it oozes style, the classic graphic on the yellow cover makes you want to listen even if you know nothing about it. The record on the turntable and the needle in the groove puts you straight into Hugh Masekela’s singing in colloquial Zulu and it’s immediately mesmerising and smooth. The trumpet is sublime throughout the record and the matching bass and drums are fluid, and make your whole body move.
There is English singing too as well as the Zulu, also by Hugh, but the singing is not what this record is about, it’s about how two people can tap into each others musical essence and make this sort of sound. I have no idea what to call this, it might be Jazz, it might be Afrobeat, it might even be dance music, I don’t know, it just needs playing and you’ll know yourself where it goes, into your head.
It was recorded way back in 2010 as the two were in the UK at the same time, the recordings have laid for that long until Tony Allen and producer Nick Gold with the blessing of Masekela’s estate finished recording the album in 2019. Unlike some posthumous releases this sparkles with life and resonates with light. This is a wonderful, exploration of two musicians feelings, captured in a moment and at last released to the world.
All words by Adrian Bloxham