For better or worse, Hugh Masekela and his former wife, Miriam Makeba, were for many the international face of the real, joyous South African soul throughout the grim years of apartheid. Their music grew out of tradition and the sounds of the townships, mingled with jazz and western pop. Masekela, a trumpeter, charismatic singer, and master flugelhornist, scored a huge international hit in 1968 with "Grazing in the Grass," its sinuous lines instantly intoxicating. Masekela often flirted with pop and R&B throughout his long career and was among those who pioneered world fusion. In fact, as a member of the famed Jazz Epistles, Masekela was among the first to put bebop together with South African mbaqanga. Although thoroughly steeped in a myriad of international genres as well as jazz, Masekela in recent years has concentrated on deep explorations of South Africa's musical heritage in the context of his own inimitable jazz perspective. Plus, he has been a major voice of unity and reconciliation in his homeland. A larger than life figure and brilliant musician, Masekela will lead a six-piece band into the Dakota, promising music that inevitably lifts and enriches the spirit.
Wednesdays, Thursdays. Starts: Oct. 20. Continues through Oct. 21, 2010