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Hugh Masekela

HUGH MASEKELA At this juncture, critical pontificating would fall hollow when writing about Hugh Masekela. His 50-plus years of recording and performing are legend while the name is arguably synonymous with African jazz. The South African trumpeter, composer, producer and activist has lent his signature playing to varied performers including Paul Simon’s tour of his groundbreaking album, Graceland. Masekela has mingled and experimented with numerous genres including Afrobeat, world music, pop and R&B, along with traditional African songs and folk music, yet he remains a jazz musician at heart. His activism for human rights, against apartheid and bondage, has been steady in his words. But it’s not all about that, as there’s also much joy and dance in his writing and music — a meeting of cultures, all rooted in Africa. Whether he slings the trumpet, scats or sings, his presentation becomes a world stage, where ancient African beats and American musical forms inhabit the air. His latest recording is Playing @ Work. But enough words. Go see the man perform.

— Samir Shukla

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